History of the Meadows Mill Company

NORTH WILKESBORO, NORTH CAROLINA


| October/November 1994



6236 State Line Road Springfield, Tennessee 37172

Over the last few years I have had six or seven Meadows Grist Mills. The sifter is usually missing on these mills and I make a new one for them. I have used a two cylinder LUC John Deere unit to pull these mills. This makes a smooth running unit with a clutch, that only has to run at fast idle to pull the mill. I have noticed the differences in Meadows Mill and the similarities in some Meadows and Williams Mills. The Meadows Company is still manufacturing grist mills, hammer mills and saw mills and was very helpful in providing information on the company.

Meadows had its beginning around 1900 at Pores Knob in Wilkes County about eight miles south of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. There, a mechanically inclined Baptist minister, Rev. William Calloway Meadows, designed and built a burr mill with stones mounted in vertical position as opposed to the conventional flat or horizontal type generally used up until that time. In his shop on Moravian Creek, Rev. Meadows began manufacturing these mills around 1902 and obtained a patent on his design in 1907.

In 1908, a group of North Wilkesboro men bought the Meadows interest, erected a factory in North Wilkesboro and continued manufacturing the stone burr mills on an enlarged scale, reaching peak production during the World War I period. About 1915, the International Harvester Company added Meadows stone burr mills to its line of farm equipment. With declining demand, the mills were dropped from the line in the mid-1920s.

The year 1924 marked a milestone in the business, when the W. C. Meadows Mill Company absorbed the New Williams Mill Company, which had started manufacturing mills in 1912, and the W. J. Palmer Company, manufacturer of saw mills. The new corporate name became Meadows Mill Company. Interest of the former owners had been purchased by Richard G. Finley, Edward G. Finley and C. L. Stockwell, who organized and incorporated the new organization. Operations were centralized and moved into the building which had been built by the New Williams Mill Company in 1918. For a short period, saw mills continued to be built in the W. J.Palmer Plant, located to the rear of the New Williams building.

The saw mill line consisted of two sizes, called No. 1 and the No. 2, of portable circular mills. Both sizes were constructed with wood frames of southern yellow pine and fitted with a 'Heacock King Feed,' a variable belt feed works which gave the operator a wide range of sawing speeds. The iron parts were cast by a local foundry from patterns made by company craftsmen, and bearings were made of plain babbitt. Due to demand by small operators, the No. 1 'Standard Model' as it is now called, is still being produced on a limited basis, with wood frame and a few changes from the original model.