Mills in Chase County
Since it's organization in 1938, the Chase County Historical Society has been collecting information about early life in Chase County, Nebraska, and publishing their findings in a series of Histories which can be purchased directly from the Society, or viewed at the Imperial Public Library which has copies in its collections in Imperial, Nebraska. The following is information gathered about mills which operated in Chase County which they have published in their Histories. The information is not always full of facts or attributed to definite sources, but is based on information told by early settlers or their families. I am grateful for all the research and hard work the members of the Society have done for researchers today and in years to come.
|Bussell Mill||Champion Mill||Wauneta Mill|
The Hamilton Herald, the newspaper published in Champion, Nebraska when the town was named Hamilton, stated in it's December 30, 1886 edition, stated that "Messers Bussell & Sons will have their mill in operation in a short time." Edward Bussell, Sr., was a miller all of his life. He was born at Somerset, England on March 27, 1820, and was married in 1842. He came to America in 1871 and then to Chase County in 1886 from Hall County, Nebraska. He and his eldest son, Henry, constructed the 24' x 36' mill on Sec. 18-6-40. The mill had a basement and two wood floors above it. The mill wheel weighed four tons and was sold during World War II for iron. Neighbors patronizing the mill left part of their grain as payment for the grinding of their grain. The flour was known simply as Bussell Mill Flour.
A school house near by was known as the Bussell Mill School. The late Charles Towell was one of the early teachers. The grinding stones from the mill are kept by his surviving family members. (Information on the Bussell Mill provided to the Historical Society by Bussell family members.)
Wauneta, Nebraska's first flour mill was built in 1887 by Mr. Blair and D. B. Polly. It was located on the east side of the falls. Nelson Burham and sons, Frank, James and John and son-in-law Frank Lorance were the carpenters for the mill.
The mill was ready for business in the fall of 1887. Power to operate the mill was furnished by a turbine water wheel. A diversion dam was built above the falls which turned sufficient water into the wheel house to operate the turbine wheel. This dam did not in any way effect the grandeur of the falls.
The building housing the machinery was about 32' x 40' in size. The mill was completely destroyed by fire in 1905 and was rebuilt and ready for operation in 1907. George Theobald, Gordon and H. E. Athey were the owners of the mill at this time, having purchased the site from Polly and Blair. (Information provided to the Historical Society by the Wauneta Breeze.)
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