by Jonathan M. Hoppock
Democrat-Advertiser, 13 September 1906
Located about one mile southwest of Locktown, on the east bank of the Wickecheoche Creek, stands this well-known old-time mill.1 It is nicely located and the creek makes an attractive view as it foams and dashes down the gorge to the mill. It has been known for years past as “The Elisha Rittenhouse Mill,” but is at present owned by Mrs. Mathias Pegg.
The exact date of its erection is not known, but Opdyke’s History (from which some of these facts have been taken) fixes it at more than one hundred years ago.2
Probably other mills were standing near the place previous to the erection of the one here shown, as according to the authority above quoted, “Thomas Opdyke bought the dower of the wife of Benjamin Tyson in a mill and meadow land, near this place, at Sheriff’s sale in 1790.3
The old mill is still in running order, and could still be used for grinding purposes, but as old-time methods have given way to the new, it is at present standing idle. This and the old Sergeant mill standing about one mile farther south, are the only two of the many grist, saw, oil and fulling mills left standing, the wheels of which were once rotated by the rapidly flowing waters of the ugly named Wichkecheoche.4 Since the first settlement of this part of the country, four grist, six saw, one oil and one fulling mill have been erected along the banks of the above named stream, and its branches.5 The old Sergeant mills—with a saw, clover and fulling mill—were operated by a rivulet known as Cold Brook, which flows into the main stream at Sergeant’s mills.
[Note: This was the last article published under Mr. Hoppock’s name. He died on October 29, 1906.]
- It still stands, although it was converted to a residence many years ago, and now looks nothing like it did in the photograph. ↩
- The first mill on the property was probably built by the Rittenhouse family in the 1730s, making it as old as the Opdycke Mill at Headquarters. ↩
- Hoppock is referring to the mill at Headquarters, although I’m not sure he realizes that. Some might not consider Headquarters all that “near” to the Rittenhouse Mill, which is located on Old Mill Road. ↩
- These were not the only mills left on the Wickecheoke, since the mill at Prallsville was still in operation. And to list the only grist mills standing and not include the Headquarters Mill is a surprising ommission. ↩
- Try as I might, I cannot list four gristmills on the Wickecheoke. The ones I know of are Sergeant’s, the Rittenhouse mill, and the one at Prallsville. There were other grist mills in the township, but they were on other streams. As for the six sawmills on the Wickecheoke, they were the Aller mill at Croton, the Werts mill further south, the Rittenhouse mill, the Sergeant’s mill, a mill run by the Weir brothers on Lower Creek Road, and finally, a mill north of the township line in Raritan run by Jacob Gray. The oil mill that Hoppock mentions was at Prallsville, and the fulling mill was run by Green Sergeant. Here’s the link for my article on Delaware Twp. sawmills. ↩