The first Great Valley Mill was constructed on the west side of North Valley Road between 1701, when Thomas Jerman purchased the land, and 1710 when the mill is named in the first Tredyffrin road deed. Thomas Jerman bequeathed the mill to his daughter, Mary Walker. Her husband, Enoch Walker, was the miller. The mill was sold to John Rowland in two parts in 1755 and 1762. Great Valley Mill stayed in the Rowland family until 1856. The 1798 Glass tax records the Grist Mill as being a stone building 30’ by 18’.
In 1759 John Rowland purchased land on the east side of North Valley Road but it was not until the 19th century that a second mill was constructed on that side of the road, where the present mill is situated.
A saw mill, as an addition to the grist mill, was built around 1781. The exact location of the saw mill is unknown but the tail race of the saw mill was on the east side of the road.
In 1837 Thomas Rowland died. The property was sold in 1856 to David Llewellyn after the death of Thomas’ widow. The advertisement for sale was as follows:
Mill property and farm in the Great Valley, at public sale, - in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, belonging to the estate of Thomas Rowland dec’d. Sale on Thursday, Nov. 15, 1855. This is one of the most valuable limestone farms in the county, in a high state of improvement. It contains 86 acres, 14 of which are wood; the residue arable land, well watered, with extensive limestone beds. The Great Valley Creek passes through the property. It is a large and permanent stream, and has a water power 18 feet head and fall. The farm is half a mile from the Chester Valley Railroad, 20 miles from Philadelphia, and 10 miles from West Chester in a very public situation. Adjoins land of Dr. Rickabaugh, Abner Cornog, David Wilson, George Clemens and others; convenient to stores, schools and places of worship.
The improvements consists of 2 large stone dwelling houses, two large stone barns, one a double-decker, carriage house, smoke house, spring house, corn cribs etc. Also, a substantial grist and merchant mill, with 2 run of burrs, one of the oldest and best stands for country work in the county. It is worthy of the attention of capitalists. The situation is healthy and intelligent. There is a apple orchard and other fruit trees on the premises. The property will be divided into 2 parts so as to have a spring and buildings on each tract, or it will be sold altogether, to suit purchasers.
David Llewellyn did not own the mill for long, selling it to Joseph Jeanes in 1857. Jeanes made improvements to the mill, building the present day 3-story mill building and installing a turbine wheel. Kennedy’s map of 1860 shows mills on both sides of North Valley Road. The new mill is the only one shown on Witmer’s 1873 atlas. The mill continued in operation until 1952. Great Valley Mill was the first and last working mill in Tredyffrin. For additional details on the mill see Franklin Burn’s article The Great Valley Mill, and the National Historical Register announcement.
A detailed timeline for the Mill(s)
- 1701 Thomas Jerman purchased 300 acres
- 1710 Mill mentioned in road docket
- 1740 Thomas Jerman died, bequest to his daughter, Mary Walker (wife of Enoch)
- 1740 – 1754 Enoch Walker, miller (Newspaper article)
- 1754 Jerman Walker – grist mill (deed I-196)
- 1755 Jerman Walker to John Rowland– ½ mill (deed W2-508)
- 1756 Jarman Walker leased mill to John Rowland (Franklin Burn’s article)
- 1759 Francis Alison to John Rowland (east side of North Valley Road), 62 acres (deed W2-478)
- 1760 Enoch Walker– ½ mill; John Rowland – ½ mill (tax)
- 1762 Jerman Walker to John Rowland– ½ mill (W2-505)
- 1762 – 1782 Jerman Walker, miller (Newspaper article)
- 1765 John Rowland – grist mill (tax records)
- 1767 John Rowland – grist mill, £30 valuation (tax records)
- 1777 British despoilation see John Rowland’s Reparation Claim
- 1778 John Rowland – mill on 40 acres; plundered (State Tax)
- 1779 John Rowland purchases 1 acre on east side of North Valley Road; mentions second Great Valley Mill (deed W2-506)?
- 1779 Grist Mill John Rowland (Tax records)
- 1781 John Rowland: Grist & Saw Mill, £150 & £80; (Tax: 2.5% for raising additional supplies etc.)
- 1782 – 1818 Thomas Rowland, miller (Newspaper article)
- 1783 John Rowland: 1 Grist Mill, 1 Saw Mill, £150 & £120; (Tax: 2.75%)
- 1785 John Rowland: 1 Grist Mill, 1 Saw Mill; (State Tax)
- 1787 John Rowland: 1 Grist Mill, 1 Saw Mill; (Tax records)
- 1788 John Rowland: Grist & Saw Mill, (Tax records)
- 1789 John Roland: 1 Grist, 1 Saw Mill; (State Tax)
1789 John Roland to Thomas Rowland
- 1791 John Rowland: 1 Grist Mill, 1 Saw Mill; (Tax)
- 1793 John to Thomas Rowland. Land both sides of N. Valley Road. Saw mill race east side of N. Valley Road mentioned in deed Q2-470
- 1793 John Rowland dies
- 1795 Thomas Rowland: Grist & Saw Mills, on 30a; (Tax)
- 1796 Thomas Rowland: Grist & Saw Mills, $1100; (Tax)
- 1797 Grist & saw mill – Thomas Rowlands, miller (county tax)
- 1798 Grist & saw mill – Thomas Rowlands (county tax)
Thomas Rowland owned a stone grist mill 30’ x 18’ and a saw mill on 29 acres adjacent to William Rowland. (Glass tax). Also frame barn 27’ x 25’ and stone spring house 10’ x 10’.
- 1799 Grist & saw mill – Thomas Rowlands (county tax)
- 1800 Grist & saw mill – Thomas Rowland (county tax)
- 1801 Grist & saw mill – Thomas Rowland (county tax)
- 1802 Grist & saw mill – ? Rowland (county tax) - poor copy
- 1805 Grist & saw mill – Thomas Rowland (county tax)
- 1810 Grist mill – Thomas Rowland (county tax)
- 1820 Thomas Rowland, 68 acres, grist mill (county tax)
- 1821 Thomas Rowland miller (Pennsylvania Septennial Census)
- 1825 Grist mill – Thomas Rowland (county tax)
- 1828 Thomas Rowland miller (Pennsylvania Septennial Census)
- 1830 Thomas Rowland: Mills (County Tax)
- 1835 Thomas Rowland miller (Pennsylvania Septennial Census)
- 1837 Thomas Rowland died (will)
- 1838 Thomas Rowland estate: Mill (County Tax)
- 1839 Benjamin Rowland Mill on 68 acres and 17.5 acres (tax)
- 1847 Rowland’s Grist Mill (map) – west side of N. Valley Road only.
- 1855 Adjorned Sale of Mill property, Village Record 10/27/1855
- 1856 Mill sold after death of Rowland’s widow (Herb Fry)
- 1856 Rowland’s Mill property containing 92 acres of land, in Tredyffrin Township, sold at public auction for $11,385 to David Llewellyn, of Haverford, Delaware County. [Village Record 1/26/1856];
Rowland’s Mill on Kennedy’s 1856 map of Chester County.
- 1857 David Llewellyn to Joseph Jeanes, $11,600 (deed G6-162)
- 1859 Erected 4 story mill
- 1860 Charles McCoy to Joseph Jeanes (newspaper article)
- 1860 Mills both sides North Valley Road (Kennedy’s 1860 Map of Chester County)
- 1870 William Steel capital invested $1000, 1 employee, materials: wheat, oats, corn (difficult to read) Manufacturing Census
- 1871 William Steel retired, replaced by Simeon Matlack newspaper article (S. 4/1/1871)
- 1873 Joseph Jeanes’Grist Mill (Witmer’s Atlas) – east side of N. Valley Road. Plaster mill west side.
- 1880 Joseph Jeanes - capital invested $7000; 2/3 custom, 1/3 for market; overshot wheel 15 hp; (Manufacturing Census)
- 1883 Joseph Jeanes (Breou)
- 1887 Joseph Jeanes sold mill (Herb Fry)
- 1889 William R. Woodward, miller (newspaper article)
- 1889 – 1913 Miller David Whitworth (Herb Fry)
- 1897 Joseph Jeans, Grist Mill (Mueller’s atlas)
- 1901 Jeanes’ Mill on 36 acres (sale ad)
- 1913 David Witworth to Richard Houghton (Burns)
- 1913 – 1947 Owner Richard Houghton (Herb Fry)
- 1914 – 22 Miller Howard Gemmerell or Summerall (Herb Fry)
- 1922 – 39 Miller William Lowndes (Herb Fry)
- 1950 Owned by Mrs. Richard Haughton, leased by General Baking company (newspaper article)
- 1950 Run by John Williamson & Horace Whitworth (Herb Fry)
- 1952 Mill closed
- 1972 – 1995 Owner W. Thomas Kelly (Herb Fry)
- Millers listed in Upper Main Line News article: Thomas Jerman (1702? – 1740); Enoch Walker (1740 – 1754); Jerman Walker (1762 – 1782); Thomas Rowland (1782 – 1818); Joseph Jeanes (1859 - ?); William R. Woodward (? – 1889); David Whitworth (1889 – 1913); Howard Summerell (1914 – 1922); William Lowndes (1922 – 1939).