Milling Memories

Inside the Chapman - Beverley Mill (circa 1990)

Inside the Chapman – Beverley Mill (circa 1990)

This entry was contributed by Mr. Henry Rust at the time that he adopted a one of the Chapman – Beverley Mill’s stones.

My family purchased to a farm just southeast of The Plains in 1877. My great great grandmother, Mary E. Lee Fleming, then of Alexandria, had purchased “Green Mont” for her eldest son, Richard Bland Lee Fleming, my great grandfather. He married Harriot Jane Downman, of Warrenton, in 1882 and they set about building their farm and raising seven children.

The Flemings had their grain milled at Thoroughfare Gap. I have several farm ledgers that span from 1900 through the late 1930’s. I have found entries relating to the hauling of the grain but found no entry relating to the milling itself. I always assumed this was because the milling was probably undertaken for a share of the flour produced. I believe this was fairly common in the day.

Fortunately, the fourth Fleming child, Clarissa Walton Fleming, shared my interest in preserving these stories. She researched and wrote extensively.
In 1958, Clarissa published a record of the Downman family. In this history, she records, in her own words, a day in the life at “Green Mont”; from which I offer this short excerpt.

“The storeroom in “Green Mont” was out of bounds for the Fleming children, but when we would cross the threshold, we were always met by the delicious smell of ham, pickles, cookies (or jumbles, we called them) or some other delicious fragrance. In this room there was always a barrel of flour, several bushels of meal, and a barrel of sugar. Once a year enough wheat was sent from the farm to Beverley’s Mill to be made into ten barrels of flour. This flour was kept in the barn and brought to the house as needed. The trip to the mill was an occasion. Mr Ball, our tenant farmer, would use the bells on the harness of the four horse team. In memory, the music of those bells is clear and sweet.”

It is in the name of all the Flemings, but particularly my great grandfather, Richard Bland Lee Fleming, and his bride, Harriot Jane Downman Fleming, that we adopted our stone at the Mill.


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