11. A Mill

From The Eastern Shore of Virginia 1603-1964by Nora Miller Turman The Eastern Shore News, 1964; pages 46-47.

While the settlement at Old Plantation Creek was developing as a business and church center, Obedience Robins was expanding his cattle and tobacco raising activities on the south side of the mouth of Cherrystone creek, formerly Accomack River. In 1642, he and an associate, John Wilkins, employed an itinerant millwright to erect a windmill. Considering the cost, this must have been used for grinding grain on certain days and for sawing lumber the rest of the time. Mills which used wind for power had been found in the Virginia colony from 1619. A small towerof brick and wood held the wheels and belts which operated the grinding stones or saws while the large circular frame equipped with canvas stips harnessed the wind to turn the wheels. The windmill built in 1642 cost 220 pounds and 20 barrels of corn. Robins and Wilkins also furnished all the iron needed in its construction.

The owner of a mill was permitted to charge one sixth by weight of the grain brought to his mill as a fee for grinding. Indian corn and wheat were the principal grain crops at this time.

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