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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Richmond in Chesterfield County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Cary’s Mill Overlook

circa 1750

 

—Falling Creek Ironworks Park —

 
Cary’s Mill Overlook Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 25, 2017
1. Cary’s Mill Overlook Marker
Inscription. Archibald Cary established an iron forge on the south bank of Falling Creek in 1750. The Chesterfield forge, as it was known, converted pig iron into bar iron. Initially unprofitable and shut down, the forge would be restarted and become instrumental in producing materials for the Continental troops during the American Revolution.

Ampthill Mill

Remains along the north bank of Falling Creek appear to be those of William Byrd's 17th-century grist mill, taken over by Henry Cary and then by Archibald Cary. The mill is possibly one of the few 17th-century buildings surviving in Virginia. It was named for the 18th-century Cary plantation Ampthill, which adjoined the 69-acre mill tract to the north. Ampthill Mill was typical of the larger “merchant” mills in the area at the time. It had access to ports that could ship flour to Europe, the West Indies and South America and contributed to the Cary family's economic and political power.

The mill was purchased by John Watkins in the 1850s and continued to operate until about 1905. It was converted from a grist mill to processing mica for paint.

Early Mill History

The 1760s and 1770s saw commercial grist mills, called merchant mills, appear on a broad scale. Mills were located to take advantage of important
Falling Creek Ironworks Park Kiosk image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
2. Falling Creek Ironworks Park Kiosk
water and timber resources. Mills produced flour and lumber important for building construction, food and trade. Milling was economically important to Chesterfield County and critical in the development of the settlement of the local area, state and nation. Falling Creek was the ideal site for milling due to abundant timber, water and access to major transportation routes.

Grist mills were essential to Chesterfields plantation economy and supported an export industry. Decline of tobacco prices led to the rise of wheat as a cash crop. Wealthy planters operated mills to serve their needs and their neighbors. Commercial mills ground up grain for sale in city or foreign markets.

These mills served the region until the early 20th century, losing ground to larger commercial mills. They ground wheat, corn and other grains for human consumption and animal feed.

(captions)

Cary’s Mill ruins
Bubbly forge slag
 
Erected 2016 by Falling Creek Ironworks Foundation, Chesterfield Heritage Alliance.
 
Location. 37° 26.283′ N, 77° 26.277′ W. Marker is near Richmond, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) and Marina Drive, on the right
Falling Creek Ironworks Park image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
3. Falling Creek Ironworks Park
when traveling north. Touch for map. Located in Falling Creek Ironworks Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6407 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Richmond VA 23237, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Iron Furnace Overlook (here, next to this marker); Natural History (here, next to this marker); Cultural History (a few steps from this marker); Historic Village of Bensley (a few steps from this marker); Historic Route 1 (a few steps from this marker); Falling Creek Stone Bridge (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Natural History (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Historic Village of Bensley (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
 
Also see . . .  Falling Creek Ironworks Foundation. (Submitted on January 26, 2017.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWar, US Revolutionary
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 26, 2017. This page originally submitted on January 26, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 212 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 26, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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