Fulling Mill near Kennells Mills, PA

The undated photo below shows the old Fulling/Woolen mill that was located along the Palo Alto Road in Southampton Township, Somerset County, PA, near the intersection with Comps Road. It is reproduced from page 77 of Roger and Mona Huffman's 2007 book "A Look At Southampton Township Pennsylvania", Volume II, with Mona's permission. Their caption reads "Fulling Mill in Gladdens, where they made the rugs and blankets in the 1800s. In the picture left - right is: Clue and Genava Troutman, Ruth, Harvey, and Merle Bittner, and in front of them is Lester Bittner (baby).". Fulling mills are where the expression "hanging on tenterhooks" comes from; the wool cloth is hung on a frame by tenterhooks.

Old fulling mill near Kennels Mills, PA

In regards to to the Fulling mill and Kennell's mill, page 158 of the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties Pennsylvania", states "Kennell's gristmill, four miles northeast of Wellersburg, was built by George Leydig, about 1818. It was rebuilt in 1853, by Jonathan Kennel, who still owns it. The old gristmill on the Dennis Comp farm, was converted into a woolenmill in 1873, and is the only one in the township.". According to Don Rininger, ancestry.com indicates that Martin Tauber came from Cumberland, Maryland and rented the mill from Dennis Comp of Fayette County, and operated the mill from 1873-1894. Mona's book indicates that Solomon Comp's father was John, and the family were early settlers who came from Berks County. This ties in well with information from Volume 3, pages 739 & 740 of the "Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County Pennsylvania", which indicates that Solomon Comp's father was John Comp who came to Somerset County from Berks County, and Solomon had a son Dennis who had a farm in Somerset County, and moved to Fayette County in 1874.

Page 683 of the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania" states "The Kennell gristmill was built by George Leydig about 1818, and rebuilt in 1853, by Jonathan Kennell. This is where the Gladdens postoffice is. An old gristmill on the Comp farm, a short distance below the Kennell mill, was converted into a woolen factory in 1873. This was operated by M.L. Tauber until about 1894. when he removed from the township. Since that time it has not been operated.". Page 9 of the 1841 Walter R. Johnson coal and oil exploration report mentions the dam for the Comp’s mill. The passage reads “Thus, in passing through the gap in the Little Allegheny mountain, which affords a passage to the waters of Gladden’s run, I was enabled to observe at Compt’s old mill-dam, an inclination…”. Click here to see a 3765KB PDF copy of the 1841 report. The April 18, 1877 issue of the “Somerset Herald” states “Mr. M.L. Tauber, of Cumberland, Md., has rented the fulling mill owned by Dennis Comp, of Fayette Co.”

The map below is from the 1876 Beers atlas of Somerset county. It shows the general location of the fulling mill (e.g. woolen mill), but I am not sure exactly which building on the map was the fulling mill. It also shows a nearby "S Mill" on the other side of the creek, and shows the location of Kennell's mill. The road and stream paths seem to be drawn in a very approximate fashion When I make this statement, I am talking about the old road path, knowing that the current (2009) path of the Palo Alto road has been straightened significantly near the Comps Road intersection. Click here to see a bridge abutment from the old road.

Mike McKenzie reports that the Fulling Mill location shown on the map (presumably to the left of the words "Fulling Mill") is not level like the ground in the photo above. Volume I (2005) of the Huffman book reported a building on the other side of the road (the "S Mill on the 1876 map) as being the fulling mill; click here to see the building on the other side of the road from the fulling mill location on the map. I think the fulling mill photo above relates to the 1873-1894 Tauber operation, and the building in Volume I served as a woolenmill circa 1839. Whether they are one and the same building is unknown, but they may be because the ground in front of the S. Mill/tavern is level like the photo in Volume II of Mona's book. In a 2013 phone call, Mona indicated that Mary and Ward Kennel worked at the mill.

Map showing the mill site at Kennels Mills, PA

L. Dietle
September 2009, revised October 2013

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