The Millstone Quarries of Powell County, Kentucky

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About the Book

In the early nineteenth century, mills were ubiquitous, making possible dozens of indispensable items—from the bread served at every meal to the boards used to construct houses and other buildings. Because millstones went through so much daily wear and tear, only certain types of rock formations were suitable for millstone quarries, though they were often difficult to locate and access.
This book provides an archaeological and historical study of six millstone quarries in Powell County, Kentucky. While the best-known conglomerate millstone quarries were in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Powell County was an important millstone producer for Kentucky, and the quarries there are well-preserved and documented. It features dozens of photographs and tables, two maps, and seven appendices.

About the Author(s)

Charles D. Hockensmith worked as a staff archaeologist with the Kentucky Heritage Council for 27 years before retiring in July 2008. He has published extensively on several historic industries with special emphasis on millstone quarries, bricks manufacturing, and lime kilns.

Bibliographic Details

Charles D. Hockensmith
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 107 photos, 2 maps, tables, glossary, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3859-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5357-3
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix

Foreword by Nancy O’Malley      1

Preface      3

Introduction      7

1. AN ARCHIVAL OVERVIEW OF THE KENTUCKY MILLSTONE QUARRYING INDUSTRY      11

Franklin County      11

Letcher County      12

Logan County      13

Madison County      13

Marshall County      14

McCreary County      14

Powell County      14

Rockcastle County      15

Whitley County      17

Woodford County      17

General Comments      18

2. THE ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING OF THE QUARRIES      19

Geology      19

Soils      20

Flora      20

3. DOCUMENTING THE QUARRIES: FIELD METHODS, FIELD LIMITATIONS, AND ARCHIVAL RESEARCH      22

Field Methods      22

Field Limitations      23

Archival Research      24

4. AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE POWELL COUNTY QUARRIES      26

5. FAMILIES ASSOCIATED WITH THE POWELL COUNTY QUARRIES      30

Adams Family      30

Berry Family      33

Daniel Family      35

DeWitt Family      36

Golf Family      37

Hanks Family      38

Hedger Family      38

Johnson Family      38

Nelson Family      39

Pigg Family      39

Risk Family      40

Ross Family      41

Smith Family      41

Spry Family      41

Stewart Family      42

Summers Family      42

Treadway Family      43

Ware Family      45

West Family      45

Stone Cutters      45

6. ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS AT THE POWELL COUNTY QUARRIES      47

McGuire Quarry      47

Baker Quarry      63

Toler Quarry      76

Ware Quarry      84

Ewen Quarry      98

Pilot Knob Quarry      104

7. COMPARISONS AMONG THE POWELL COUNTY QUARRIES      112

Millstones      112

Leveling Crosses      115

Cutting Eyes      117

Drill Holes on Millstones      118

Drilled Boulders      119

Shaping Debris      120

Quarry Excavations      122

Artifacts      123

Tool Marks on Boulders and Millstones      127

Reasons for Millstone Rejection      132

8. COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE POWELL COUNTY QUARRIES

AND OTHER QUARRIES      134

Leveling Crosses      134

Reasons for Millstone Rejection      135

Quarry Excavations      136

Tools      136

9. MANUFACTURING SEQUENCES FOR MILLSTONES      138

Techniques in Europe      138

Techniques in the United States      139

10. TRANSPORTATION METHODS AND ROUTES FOR POWELL COUNTY

MILLSTONES      148

Road Transport      148

River Transport      149

11. MARKETS FOR POWELL COUNTY MILLSTONES      150

12. THE COMPETITION: IMPORTED MILLSTONES IN KENTUCKY      152

13. KENTUCKY MILLSTONE VALUES      157

14. CONCLUSIONS      159

Glossary      163

Appendices

A: Form for Documenting Millstones      167

B: Form for Documenting Boulders and Drill Holes      170

C: 1804 Lawsuit in Fayette County, Higbee v. Hanks      172

D: 1810 Lawsuit in Clark County, Wilkerson v. Adams      173

E: 1823 Lawsuit in Clark County, Johnson v. Adams      175

F: 1826 Lawsuit in Clark County, Summers v. Adams      177

G: Millstones Potentially Associated with the Powell County Quarries      178

Bibliography      181

Index      197

Book Reviews & Awards

“this book would be a welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in industrial archaeology and the millstone trade or the history of Powell County, Kentucky”—Old Mill News; “Hockensmith has done a great service to those who study millstones and quarrying…an important case study…a grand survey…indispensable”—Historical Archaeology.