BRANCHES OF THE BROADKILL AND THEIR MILLS
The Coolspring Branch begins two to thee hundred feet up the Broadkill River at it's junction with the Delaware Bay . On this branch was the “Red Mill” , a grist mill owned by Samuel Paynter around 1750. Grist is grain, and a grist mill grinds it into meal or flour. Farther “up” the branch or creek as they were often called, was a Carding Mill and a 'tannery' which located it's tanning or soaking vats on the banks. Carding is a textile process that disentangles, cleans and intermixes fibers and produces a continuous web, thread or sliver for additional processing. Tanning was the process of producing leather from animal hides. A tennyard was one of the early businesses of America and had its own odors. Both of these mills were property of Hermanius Wiltbanck at one time.
BEAVER DAM BRANCH
Beaver Dam Branch or Creek if you wish, is the creek off the Broadkill just a bit west of the Delaware roaut one Broadkill River Highway Bridge, what was once known as 'Drawbridge' which was a village with it's own post office. Mill Creek, aka today as “ Old Mill Creek “ is a branch of this creek and was known to have several early owners. The predominant owner's were the Holland family and the stream was then known as Holland Mill Pond Stream and/or Hollands Old Mill Stream. At the junction of Beaver Dam Creek and the Broadkill River there was a ship building yard owned and operated by Babtist Lay near the small village of “Drawbridge'. This 'boat yard is said to be the first along the Broadkiln. Westward was Holland Mill Pond and there James Hunter and Major William Perry erected a dam and build a timber saw mill.
ROUND POLE BRANCH
Where did that name come from? John Conwell once owned the land bordering Round Pole Branch where there was a timber saw mill owned by Ben Benson, David Hazzard and Sam Wright around 1701 and furnished building materials at an early time. Perhaps the first supplier. Up stream of this saw mill was located a iron furnace that was owned by Robert Shankland which furnished the iron used in the ship building trade of the Broadkill River.
Traveling east out of down town Milton on Front Street, beyond the town sewer works you will note the waters of Round Pole Creek or Branch, whatever you wish, on each side of the road, sometimes going under and sometims going over the road., depending on the tide and rainfall.
LONG BRIDGE BRANCH
Three of four miles east ward, on Cave Neck Road, is Long Bridge Branch. In 1733, the Osbourne Brothers, Henry and Thomas, reserved eight acres for a mill and John Meir erected a grist mill here hat was destroyed by fire in 1825. Later on Gideon Waples build a causway and dam 'downstream' where there was a 'bark mill' and a timber saw mill owned by Governor Dr. Joseph Maull in 1815.
A bark mill was used to grinding the roots, branches, bark or other timber trash of a special species tree into a powder called tanbark, for the tanning industry process. There was a pond above the mill named Saw Mill Pond until early 1900.
Upstream of Maulls was the joseph tour Mill in 1809 later owned by Ben McIlvain which supplied water to the mills and in early 1900 to a electrict generator that gave lights to the town of Milton. Upstream of Tours Pond and dam , in 1807, was a saw mill of Zodoc James and later Aaron Marshall in 1838 which was destroyed by fire.
Pemberton Branch is on the far north fork of Broadkill, west of the town of Milton, on which in 1809 Isaac Clowes had a grist mill at Lavinia Crossing. There is evidence of this crossing to be seen from the current Levinia Street. The land around Pemberton Creek was part of a grant to Captain Henry Pemberton, became lands of Thomas Carlisle in 1717. A powder mill was planned by John Clowes but never erected, somewhere in here there was a cotton mill, and the Pemberton mills were sold 1809 to Arthur Melby. The cotton mill as abandond in 1864 and the grist mill sold to J. G. Betts.
In Milton was Fergus Bridge Dam over the Broadkill where a grist mill was built later known as Wagamon's Mill, three others, Waples Mill on Prime Hook Creek, Reynolds Mill , 1809 owned by Nathan Reed, William McIlvain. Rodrick and silas Reynolds and James Ponder. Then on the south side of Prime Hook Creek was a mill owned by Ingram Brothers , later sold to Arthur Milby at a sheriff sale.
The source of this information was gathered from the “Chamber Cliper” , printed in Milton in 1988, article by William Wagmon , Milton historian and Wanda Clendaniel King, reported.