Visit Craig County and Tingler’s Mill

August 16, 2016

TinglersMill16

Tingler’s Mill has a long and varied history. As a present-day decorative fixture of Paint Bank, its presence makes a grand statement about revitalization and historic preservation. In the past, however, it was an important element of everyday life in the town of Paint Bank, Virginia, serving area farmers and residents as a source of grain and flour by grinding corn and wheat.

The grist mill sits on Potts Creek, on property originally owned by Revolutionary War hero Colonel William Preston. Preston was given the land grants in 1780 for his service in the war. Through Preston’s children the property eventually passed to John H. Peyton, Preston’s granddaughter’s husband, in 1816.

While the unincorporated town was officially formed in 1851, the mill building itself was not built until 1863. Henry Tingler began a small water-powered operation to process corn, wheat and oats for local farmers. During the civil war Tingler was drafted into service by the Confederacy, but managed to return home by proclaiming that his services as a miller were more valuable than his services as a soldier. A Union sympathizer, after his return home he not only supplied food to the people in the area, but also gun powder to the fighting forces.

Tingler’s daughter, Molly, married W. H. (Harve) Humphreys, who lived in a house near the present-day general store and worked the mill with Tingler. According to Humphreys’s grandson, Watson Smith of New Castle, Humphreys wanted to keep the business in the family, and expand it to include making flour. Tingler could not read or write, so Humphreys provided the driving force behind the renovation. In 1897, Humphreys borrowed $10,000 and reworked the mechanics of the mill, tearing down the original building and starting over. The small grist mill became a manufacturing mill capable of large scale flour production. The building which stands today most likely is that second building, erected over the old foundation in 1897.

Humphreys bequeathed the mill to his son, Johnny Henry Humphreys, who operated the mill until 1952, when he sold it to Roy S. and Coral May Morse. Roy Morse sold the mill to David E. and Marcia Harrison a little over a decade later, in 1967. By this time, local residents say, government regulations on the mill had become so strict that operating it was no longer cost-effective.

From 1897 until 1971 the mill was known as “Humphreys Mill”. In 1971, when the Harrisons sold the mill to A.J. and Dorothy W. Tingler, the mill became known as “Tingler’s Mill”. The Tinglers kept the mill in the family until 1993, when it was sold to Jonathan F. Fitzgerald with the stipulation that the mill continue to be called “Tingler’s Mill.” Fitzgerald sold the property to the Mulheren family, the present owners.

In 2004, the mill pond was revitalized and is now stocked with trout, which you can feed. Recently the entire exterior of the mill was restored, a new race was constructed and the big wheel is once again turning. Restoration of the inside of the building is on-going as the present owners continue to bring the mill back to its former beauty and function. In the future, they hope to add tours to view the machinery and to be able to have demonstrations of the complete milling process, from kernel to flour. Presently, you may tour the first floor. Currently, there are local crafters selling their wares and holding demonstrations in the mill every weekend from early spring until late fall.

CONTENT SOURCE: tinglersmill.com

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