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Pride of the Valley

Sifting through the History of the Mount Healthy Mill

Jediah Hill (1793-1859) was a farmer and businessman who, around 1820, built a sawmill on the bank of the West Fork of Mill Creek near Mount Pleasant, a village situated about halfway between Cincinnati and Hamilton, Ohio. A few years later, Henry Rogers (1806-1896), soon to become Jediah's son-in-law, joined him in the business. In1838, Jediah, Henry, and their wives traveled from Mount Pleasant to New York City to visit relatives and observe other mills, as they planned to expand their then-thriving sawmill to include flour milling. Henry kept a daily journal on the eastbound portion of the trip in which he recorded "all interesting subjects and things that come under my observation." Some 150 years after that trip, Henry's great-great-great-granddaughter, Tracy Lawson, developed an interest in the journal that led her to research the people, places, and things mentioned therein, and that ultimately resulted in the book Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More, which was published in 2012. Unanswered questions remained after the book was published. What happened after the family returned home? Did Jediah and Henry add flour milling to their enterprise, and if so, when? How had they, and the subsequent owners of the mill, had to update both the structure of the mill and their business models to succeed as the local and national economy changed? The available family lore and readily available printed records held only part of the story. As Tracy delved deeper in search of answers, surprising and tantalizing information began to appear and to inspire. As the research progressed, Tracy and historic millwright Steve Hagaman met and joined forces. Together, they pieced together a much more robust physical and social history of the mill, infused with unexpected twists and remaining uncertainties. Pride of the Valley is enhanced by Tracy's notes, which she hopes will provide a humanizing touch to the work and encourage others to take on similar research projects relating to their own families.

Reviews

A very interesting look at not just southern Ohio but specifically that area around Greater Cincinnati. If focuses in on what was once Mount Pleasant and is now the Mount Healthy area. The authors have banded together to dig pretty far back to when some of the first settlers moved into the area from the eastern United States. They really look closely the Mt Healthy Mill and specifically Jediah Hill the builder of the mill and then even look at his descendants. It all started as a mill to process lumber but as needs changed so did the mill. As a side note Hill and several others used their talents to build reaper to mechanically cut a field of barley in 1825! But his focus was on the mill which moved from processing lumber to milling grain and producing flour.


How all of this happened and what happened down through the generations is very well told by the authors. They have many additions to the story as they discuss the growth of the Mill Creek Valley area and also look into where that part of Ohio stood during and even prior to the Civil War. Many great pictures, sketches and numerous background stories about not only the area but those who have inhabited it. A very good read with much depth!

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