Old Newspaper Article Raises New Questions

mill and locomotive engine smHere at TTMAC, we’re always looking for new pieces of information about the history of the Chapman – Beverley Mill.  Sometimes documents we uncover help answer long-standing debates about the Mill’s history and other times they simply lead to more questions.  Recently, we stumbled across the following article originally published in the Alexandria Gazette in 1851:

Alexandria Gazette 15 Aug 1851
MILL FOR RENT – The Subscriber offers for rent for the next season, “THE NEW MILL at this place. It has two pair of Burrs, and a pair of Corn Stones a first rate Smutt Machine. It is situated within 50 feet of the Railroad. The steam is the largest and most lasting in the region. Possession will be given after the 1st of August 1851. It borders upon a fine wheat growing region, and from its proximity to the Depot, it will command it to the Blue Ridge. The Road it is supposed will be finished to this place by the 1st of May. Persons wishing such property will communicate either by person or by letter to this place (post-paid) to me.
John Chapman
Thoroughfare, Va.

What catches our attention about this piece is the reference to the ‘New Mill.’  By 1851 has Chapman actually built a new mill near Broad Run?  Or has he simply renovated one of the existing mills?  And why is he renting this Mill?  Perhaps to help recoup the $2,000 he paid the Manassas Gap Railroad to bring the rail alongside the Mill?

More research is definitely needed!



2 responses to “Old Newspaper Article Raises New Questions

  1. Why would he have to pay the RR to put their tracks near the mill? Was there an alternative?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Originally, the tracks were slated to be a little further south of the Mill. Chapman paid to have the tracks laid just feet from the back of the Mill. Eventually a platform / office was built off the back of the Mill to make loading goods onto and off of trains quick and easy. It was a major financial boon for the Chapmans. Of course, it also meant the Mill made an even more convenient place for the Confederates to process and store meat during the Civil War which ultimately led to the destruction of the Mill and the downfall of the Chapman family.


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