The western Algonquin called it the ‘Mooskingom,’ and to the Narragansett tribe it was the ‘Mooshingung’ —“water clear as an elk’s eye.” The Muskingum River, which empties into the mighty Ohio River from the furthest point in Columbiana County, is at 112 miles long the longest river lying wholly within Ohio. And the last remaining mill on the Muskingum River is the Stockport Mill in the town of the same name.
In 1839, G.W. Sanburn laid out Stockport next to Windsor Village. Later on, Stockport and Windsor Village merged to be called the Village of Stockport, named after a town in England by Postmaster Samuel Beswick. Stockport became one of the most important shipping and trading points on the Muskingum River between Zanesville and Marietta.
The first mill at this site was built in 1842 and operated only a few years before it burned. A second mill was built in 1849 and operated for 54 years until it too caught fire and burned to the ground, around 2 a.m. on July 1, 1903. In 1906, the Dover Brothers began construction of the current mill. A local boy, Fred James, stated that it was built “plenty sturdy,” which was proved true enough when the 1913 flood took out many other mills on the Muskingum but left the Stockport Mill standing.
The mill was powered by two 40-inch Leffel turbines used for grinding. In 1908, the mill began fulfilling a contract to supply the village with electricity for street lights. On April 6, 1928, the Suburban Power Company was given the light contract and hydroelectric operation in the mill was shut down.
The Stockport Mill produced Gold Bond Pastry Flour, Pride of the Valley (bread) Flour, and it also ground feed for livestock. The Stockport Milling Company shipped its products by steam packet boat and over the Ohio & Little Kanawha Railroad before the era of all-weather roads. The mill also functioned as a community hub where local farmers obtained supplies and shared news.
In 1942, Fred James and Ray Devitt purchased the mill from the Dover heirs for $4,000. They then sold it to the Farm Bureau and it was operated as the Landmark Mill with Dow Kasler as the manager. The mill operation ceased in 1997 and today the refurbished building houses a bed & breakfast.
Christopher Gist’s Journals with Historical, Geographical and Ethnological…by Christopher Gist, ed. William McCullough Darlington, 1893, J.R. Weldin & co.
Ohio historic marker: http://www.pbase.com/gshamilton/image/31450643