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Folck's Mill

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FOLCKS MILL - by John McGrain

This mill, which once stood on Elk Lick Run at the National Road (U. S. 40) northeast of Cumberland, was originally called Pleasant Mill and was owned by Thomas Beall of Ninian, who passed it on to his heirs in 1819. Jacob Hoblitzel acquired the place and he was mentioned as operating the mill about 1823 in the History of Allegany County, p.140. Hoblitzel died in 1830, and in the Cumberland Civilian of April 9, 1833, B. S. Pigman, acting as Trustee, advertised the property of the late Jacob Hoblitzel, including a brick merchant mill, a millrace, and a mill dam on Evitts Creek on the tracts Turkey Flight, Republican, and Good Cheer. The mill was near Cumberland on the road leading to Hagerstown, said Pigman. The new buyer proved to be John Folck (Deeds R:165). The mill next went to John Folck, Jr. John Folck, giving his address as Pleasant Mills near Cumberland, wrote a letter on orchard management to the editor of the American Farmer, 12 (May 1857): 337.

A small battle took place here on August 1, 1864, when General Kelly and some Cumberland citizens stood off 2,000 approaching Confederates, History of Allegany County, p. 120, 388. A photo in the Allegany County Historical Society shows the pockmarks of the skirmish in the mill facade; the photographer was Mary Ivolue Spear (Mrs. Walter J. Muncaster).        

J. D. Rohrer was hired miller or tenant operator when he was mentioned at Pleasant Mills in the American Miller, 4 (September 1876): 78. L. D. Rohrer was tenant operator when the 1880 census of manufactures valued the mill at $7000 and listed 3 employees, 3 run of stones, 140 bu/diem maximum capacity. Two overshot wheels 6 ft broad used a 12-foot fall on Evitts Creek to develop 30 hp at 13 rpm. Output was 5000 bbl flour, 300 bbl rye, 167 tons meal, and 202 tons feed ($45,000). The sawmill with its one circular saw driven by a 10 hp overshot wheel 6 ft broad was idle 10 months of the year and cut 20,000 ft ($4000) per season.

The Cumberland Daily News of March 18, 1882, reported that Mrs. Annie Philips, "while visiting Beall's Mills on the Baltimore Pike with her father ... had her dress caught in the cog wheels. Fortunately, the gearing broke and she was saved from a horrible fate. The print of the cog wheels was left on her person, but she was not seriously injured."

D. B. Hoblitzel was listed as miller here in 1882 by History of Western Maryland, p. 1432. John Folck sold the mill to Charles A. and William O. Wolfe in 1894. After acquiring title, the Wolfe brothers only ran it briefly. (The Wolfe family were listed in the City of Cumberland and Allegany County, 1895-96 directory.)

Constructed possibly in the early 19th century, the mill was about 2 miles NE of Cumberland. Shown as Wolfe's Mill on the 1953 topographic map, it was later impacted by widening U.S. 40, but a foundation survived per a study by the Maryland Historical Trust. The site, known as Naves Cross Road, opposite the Shrine Country Club is marked by a State historical roadside marker commemorating the battle. It had been a 2-1/2-story building of hand-fired brick on a one-story stone foundation. Its historic Site Number is AL-III-C-040.


John McGrain

The text was provided by John McGrain. The recent photograph of the remains of the mill was taken by Al Feldstein.

Allegany County (Md.), History. Civil War, 1861-1865; Cumberland (Md.), History, Civil War, 1861-1865.

Cumberland (Md.), 1864

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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