A Snapshot of Mill Workers and Wages in 1880

100_7425An excerpt from Beverley (Chapman’s) Mill, Thoroughfare Gap, Virginia by Frances Lillian Jones.  Here Mrs. Jones notes employees and wages at the Chapman – Beverley Mill in the 1880’s.

“According to William Beverley’s diary, as many as seven 14-ton boxcars at a time were waiting on the mill siding to be loaded. Among the employees were four grinders, three packers, one miller, and a manager. The mill’s manager during the Beverley ownership was Hugh White, a wheelwright who also acted as the mill’s traveling agent. According to the 1880 Industrial Census, the average day’s wages for a skilled mechanic at the mill were $1.30, and for a laborer the rate was $.50 per day. Beverley Mill paid a total of $800.00 in wages in the year ending May 1880, operating 12 hours per day from May to November and 8 hours per day from November to May. The value of the limestone processed was estimated at $12,000 and the value of the finished product estimated at $15,800. The mill was then operating one overshot wheel, measuring 6 feet in breadth. The water tumbled over a 24-foot-high waterfall. The wheel, which made 10 revolutions per minute, generated the equivalent of 27 horsepower.”


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