Confirming Wellersburg Grist Mill Tradition

Uhl Mill page.

The map fragment below is from the 1818 Melish-Whiteside map of Somerset County, PA. It shows two mills in the area that would eventually become the Wellersburg area. This web page is about the "Ule" (Uhl) mill; click here to see our web page about the Hay's mill. Click here to see a 1906 article on the Uhl family that had the mill.

1818 map showing two mills in the area of Somerset County, PA that eventually became Wellersburg

The map below is from the 1876 Beers Atlas of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It shows the location of a Uhl mill that corresponds to the Uhl mill on the 1818 map. It is across from where Witt Hill Road intersects Route 160. There is (2009) a stone building there that is presently used as a garage. According to local tradition, that building was an old mill. Click here to see an 1875 map that shows the mill was still known as the Ule mill in 1875.

1876 map from Beers' Atlas of Somerset County, PA

The photo below is reproduced from volume one of the 2005 book "A Look At Southampton Township Pennsylvania The Way It Used To Be!", with permission of the author. It shows the stone building that, according to the book, was a grist mill that was owned and operated in the late 1800's and early 1900's by Phillip Getz. This building is located approximately where the Uhl mill is shown on the 1818 and 1876 maps, and is clearly the mill building. Click here to see a detailed photo survey of the building, including photos of a cement portion of the mill race.

stone wall in Wellersburg

The 1901 topo map below (provided by Mike McKenzie) shows the mill race. Click here to see a recent Google aerial photo of the mill. In the Google photo, notice the grassy area to the southeast of the mill, which appears to be a washed out area that was caused by runoff of the mill water. Click here to see a 1915 map that also shows the location of the mill.

mill race on 1901 topo map

The next image is a 1939 USDA aerial photo of the mill area (provided by Mike McKenzie) that shows the mill, the mill race, and the location of the mill pond. Mike interviewed Wellersburg resident Richard Witt in August 2009. Richard said the race began behind his house, and there was a "dam" back there that he remembers, and the mill race went through his back yard. Richard said that when he built his house they filled the dam in with the dirt from the excavation. Richard indicated that the race followed the stream and also the road, and indicated that the race washed out in the area where the stream is close to the road (see heavily eroded area where the race crosses the road). The stream itself has moved over the years.

Before the interview, based the 1939 photo alone, we thought that the race simply cut off from the stream near where it crosses the road. Then Mike explored that area and realized that the heavily eroded area would have been below the level of the mill, and couldn't have been part of the actual race because water doesn't flow uphill. That elevation discovery led to Mike's interview with Richard Witt. From that interview, it was determined that the race was elevated above the stream near where the race crossed the road. Mike reports that Richard’s explanation makes sense, because it puts the elevation of the race up high enough for the water to be able to flow downhill to the mill.

Also shown on the 1939 image below is the general location of a second Wellersburg-area mill site that corresponds to the location of the Hay's mill on the 1818 Whiteside map. It is located on Richard Witt's property, and Richard reported it to Mike McKenzie in 2009. Click here to see a detailed web page about the second mill.

mill races on 1939 aerial photo

The undated map below was provided by Mike McKenzie. It shows the mill at the end of Witt Hill road to be named "C.E. Engle's Mill". The title of the map is “Map showing mines of Peter Michaels & Noah Witt on North Branch of Jennings Run Allegany Co., MD.”. Mike McKenzie reports that Noah Witt is the individual who owned the Brinham house in Wellersburg after Mr. Brinham. Click Here to see the entire map.

Engle's Mill blueprint

The Reitz & Brothers Wellersburg Mills flour sack stencil that is shown below was found in the above-pictured stone building. In the Southampton township section of the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties Pennsylvania", on page 578, the following is written about this mill: “Jacob Uhl erected the second gristmill in the township, about 1810, on land now owned by Eli Shaffer. This mill is now run by Hertman Reitz.". In the Southampton township section of the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania", on page 683, , the following is written about this mill: "Jacob Uhl built the second gristmill in the township in 1810. In later years this has been known as the Reitz mill.". These two passages tell us that the mill was run by a Reitz in at least the circa 1884 to 1906 timeframe. The stencil tells us that if the history books are right, then the stone building pictured above is the same mill that was shown on the 1818 map.

Reitz & Brothers Wellersburg Mills flour sack stencil

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