A piece of history sits at the bottom of Symmes Creek
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 29, 2007
Down a partially hidden bumpy road leading to a meadow beside Symmes Creekin Union Township, the remainder of an old flour mill sits at the bottom of the creek.
The mill is now visible since the water level is so low from the dry conditions.
When she was growing up on a farm on Symmes Creek, Carrie Eldridge would swim in the creek over the old mill.
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“This was always called the mill place,” she said. “There’s Bethel Town House and Bethel School (here). That is a solid rock bottom and I have walked it. It’s over a mile and in my younger days, I didn’t mind getting wet.”
The old mill on Symmes Creek could be the remains of the P.C. Brammer Symmes Creek Flour Mill, a bustling enterprise shortly after the Civil War in the early settlement of Chesapeake.
In flour mill or gristmill designs, classical mill designs are usually water powered, according to Wikipedia.
A sluice gate was used to open a channel to start the water flowing and a water wheel turning. In most flour mills, the water wheel was mounted vertically.
“This is the lowest I’ve ever seen the creek,” Eldridge said.
According to “A Brammer Family Geneal-ogy” compiled by W. Keith Fisher, Jacob Forest Brammer (1852-1936) operated a mill at Bethel Chapel in Lawrence County.
In 1883, Jacob moved his family to Pleasants County, W.Va., where he operated Sylvan Mills and later left the milling business for farming and he was elected president of the Pleasants County Court in 1909.
Jacob was the son of Roland Brammer (1809-1882) and Catherine McCorkle and married Clara Elizabeth Lake in 1871 who was raised on an adjoining farm about three miles up Symmes Creek.
According to Fisher’s records, Roland was a landowner and farmer in Union Township and a well-known man in the community. He was a strong member of the Whig party, later becoming a Republican and a member of the United Brethren Church.
Wayne B. Ingles compiled a history, “Symmes Creek” and reported, “Roland Brammer caught in his mill-pond in Symmes Creek, the last otter.”
In “Brammer Branches, 1-25, Newsletters for Descendants of Brammer Pioneers of Colonial Virginia,” in 1820, Edmund Brammer purchased land in Lawrence County about 1817 and in 1820, he became the assignee of a land patent for 165.97 acres about six miles up Symmes Creek later known as the Sites Place.
The old mill on Symmes Creek was possibly one operated by a Brammer who owned land in that area.