COME BE THE CHANGE!
Laurel Mill, formerly owned by William and Margaret Holmes followed by Ann and Bobby House, sits on seven acres in Franklin County on Laurel Mill Rd, on the north side of Laurel Mill-Centerville Road at the intersection with Jones Chapel Road. Colonel Jordan Jones purchased Laurel Mill soon after the Civil War ended. No records remain of when the grist mill was constructed (circa mid-1800's), but at the time of his purchase it was already known as “old Laurel Mill.”
Jones realized the potential of the mill for more than just grinding grain and soon installed a water-powered cotton gin. After its success, he built a spinning plant and began producing yarn and cloth from the raw cotton that was harvested in the area. Jones sold the yarn to mills in the north who were eager for materials and willing to pay high prices for the
commodity. Eventually Jones added a water-powered saw mill and planer. In all, he produced
corn meal, flour, cotton yarn, and lumber.
Though the gristmill operated well into the twentieth century, an early downfall of the spinning plant was its distance from rail and water transportation. Jones’s spinning business could no longer compete with mills located closer to railroads and navigable rivers. Jones’s other ventures — the cotton gin, grist mill, and saw mill—persisted, though the saw mill was eventually destroyed by fire. The last person to operate the mill was J. E. Perry, Jr., under the ownership of F. H. Allen in the 1960s. After he sold the property, the cotton mill building on the west side of the creek was torn down. The two-and-one-half-story, gable-roofed grist mill, however, remains in good condition.
The structure was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1975.
Credit: Architectural Survey of Franklin County by Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc., Tarboro, NC
Although Laurel Mill is not open to the public, the House family graciously allowed the NE Franklin Revitalization Group to offer an open house for the public to enjoy on November 20, 2021. That day, an old tradition of using mill-ground corn was used to make homemade cornbread which was sampled as everyone toured the mill. The mill was operating which set the scene for picture taking.
DONATIONS for the non-profit NE Franklin Revitalization Group and for the upkeep of the mill were accepted.