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Watermills of Camden County - By William Farr - Chapter V


VALENTINE’S SAWMILL (Mifflin’s, Smallwood’s)
Richard Valentine’s Saw Mill was assessed by the county on 21 September 1721 and 8 November 1722 (Gloucester County Freeholders’s Minutes, pp. 30, 32) The location of the mill is uncertain.

On 10 April 1764 Samuel Mifflin’s Executors sold to Richard Smallwood 400 acres and a sawmill (Woodbury, I-397), reciting that it included part of 1,160 acres which Joseph Engle conveyed to Richard Valentine 28 February 1720. Mifflin had several mills (see his 1762 will [804 H]).

In December of 1735 one Joshua Grainger of Philadelphia advertised for sale “A new Saw-Mill...situate up Timber Creek, 10 or 11 miles from Gloucester; together with 1,160 acres of land....” (NJA, XXI, p. 439). The Mifflin to Smallwood deed recites that Richard Valentine bought 1,160 acres from Joseph Engle [sic] in 1720; mortgaged them to the Gloucester County Loan Commissioners, who took them over; and sold them to Thomas Atmore in 1736. The Joseph Engle to Valentine and Commissioners to Atmore deeds have not been found, nor has the record of the mortgage. [The author believes the reference is properly attributable to John Engle.] This recital was repeated in John Bisham’s 1785 resurvey (OSG, U-70), as well as in deed, William Perce to Thomas Taber, 6 December 1787 (Woodbury, GG-8). It seems likely that these are the same tracts, and that Grainger acted as an agent for the Commissioners in the sale to Atmore.

The Gloucester Township ratables show Richard Smallwood’s sawmill being assessed for the following years: 1773-1774, 1778, 1780-1783, 1786, 1789-1790, 1792-1796. It was assessed to his son Joseph in 1802.
The 400-acre tract was in Gloucester Township and ran east from and at right angles to the South Branch of Timber Creek, although in 1764 Richard Cheesman’s land and sawmill intervened between the tract and the creek (see the Mifflin to Smallwood deed mentioned in PROSSER’S SAWMILL). The tract was traversed by both Toms Dam Branch and Smallwoods Branch (Stone Bridge), and was eventually split about in half by Garwood Road. Adjacent on the north was a tract of about 350 acres extending east from the creek then owned by Peter Cheesman (CHEESMAN’S (PETER) GRISTMILL).

Where was the Mifflin-Smallwood sawmill located? It could presumably have been on Toms Dam Branch or on Smallwoods Branch. There are two existing ponds on the former, either of which might be the millpond. One is on the east side of the County House-New Brooklyn Road crossing of the branch, shown on the 1935 Franklin Map of Camden and Vicinity as Mealy Lake. The other is just east of where Peter Cheesmans Road crosses. Both were visible from the respective roads in October, 1998.

Richard Smallwood died in 1806, and his will (2612 H) gave the 400 acres [and presumably his sawmill, if it still existed] to his son, Joseph C. [J.C.] Smallwood. Joseph died in 1823, and his will directed a sale of all his property (3475 H). Accordingly, his surviving executor, son Joseph I. Smallwood, eventually sold the tract to his brother, William D. Smallwood (13 April 1837 [Woodbury, R3-281]), but on the same date William conveyed the portion south of the Garwood Road back to his brother, Joseph I. Smallwood.

Neither Richard Smallwood’s 1806 will, nor either of the 1837 deeds mentioned a sawmill. It may be that the land was cleared and the mill was not needed. In addition, CHEESMANS (PETER) SAWMILL and PROSSERS SAWMILL were nearby, and may have provided sawing services needed by area residents.
It also may be that VALENTINES SAWMILL was the same one that Mifflin sold to Smallwood.







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