97 – A Grist Mill

Chester County is blessed with many creeks that flow through the county and empty into the Delaware River.

These creeks had lots of ideal sites for mills.

History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania

The mill was located at the east side of the land Joseph patented in 1701, along Ridley Creek.

The grist mill ground corn and wheat. The waterwheel turned the top stone; the lower stone was stationary. The grain was fed into the center and was carried to the outside as it was crushed between the stones.

The stones were about four feet in diameter, having grooves cut from the center to the outside.

The mill was a meeting place and a source of news, making the miller an important person. Often, the route of new roads would include access to a mill.

Here’s the site of the mill today.

In 1704, Thomas Jones was called to court for unlawfully taking some corn from Joseph’s mill.

Court – Thomas Jones has taken corn from Jervis mill – January 1704

In 1705, Joseph sold the mill. Jasper Yeates had an interest in the mill, for on August 28, 1705, Jasper Yeates and Joseph Jarvis conveyed a deed to Joseph’s neighbors Richard and John Crosby for “a mill and sixty-three acres of land.”

Court – Joseph Jervis sells mill to Crosbys – August 1705

Nibbles Extra Credit

Joseph’s mill on Ridley Creek went on to a long and storied history. Subsequent owners added a sawmill, paper mill, fulling mill, etc.

It’s said that the paper milled there was used to draft the US Constitution, and lumber sawed on site was used in the construction of Independence Hall.

In 1871, the site was sold to the city of Media, and since have been the Media, Pennsylvania water works.


  • Mill information – Middletown Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania – Henry S. Pearson – 1986 – Delaware County Historical Society, Chester, PA
  • Mill information – History of Delaware County Pennsylvania – Charles Ashmead – 1884 – Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA
  • Mill information – A History of the Mills Along the Ridley Creek Delaware County, Pennsylvania – Edward Thomas Pittock, Jr – 1951 – Delaware County Historical Society, Chester, PA
  • Historically Speaking article – I. Frank Lees – Media paper – September 8, 1993
  • Court – Thomas Jones – Chester County Court of Common Pleas – January 1, 1704
  • Photos – Mark Jarvis – July 2017

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