Indian Mills
Indian Mills

This town is located in Shamong Township; according to historian EM Woodward it is located nearly in the center of the township, on the Bread and Cheese Run. It was, in the 1880s at least, in a farming district. At the time Woodward was writing in 1882, it contained two stores, two churches (a Methodist and a Baptist), a saw mill, a grist mill, post office, hotel, and several dwellings. The following residents are mentioned by name in his history:

The post office was established in 1877, with Edmond Thompson as postmaster. The following year he was succeeded by Thomas Stiles, who served three years. According to Woodward, the grist mill was erected about 1835 by Ebenezer Ingle, who operated it for a few years until selling it to Sooy Thompson. Sooy ran it until about 1880, when George Taylor purchased the property.

What was apparently a well known place in the 1880s, the "Piper's Inn", was located about two miles north of Indian Mills. It was opened during the beginning of the 19th century, on the Atsion road. Piper was the original host of that inn; after him it passed through many hands until by 1883 it was run by a M. Dillit. He removed the old building and erected a larger, more comfortable inn in it's place, calling it "Dillit's Hotel".

Benjamin Small also ran a hotel nearby, two and half miles northeast of Indian Mills, erected in 1830. In 1877 he sold the business to Thomas Crane, who ran it for two years and in 1879, after which he rented it to Dora Small who continued to run the business there for at least five years or more. According to her son, Carrie Mingin (later Carrie Stewart) was born in Small's Hotel. He stated to me that it was at the corner of Jackson Rt and Mt Holly Rd. He also told me about a woman named Indian Anna who sold baskets across the street from the hotel, and she claimed to be the last of the Brotherton Indians.

The town of Indian Mills is part of what was once a 3,284 acre tract of land known as the Brotherton tract, later as Edgepillock. It was one of missionary John Brainard's missionary fields, where he preached for several years to the Indians inhabiting the land, a branch of the Delawares. From the earliest days of white settlement in the area, it seems that the Indians and whites got along fairly well until about 1756, when there was evidently a dispute of some kind. The legislature appointed a commission to treat with the Indians, and in 1757 passed an Act dealing with some of the Indians grievances. The following year at Crosswicks a fixed price was agreed on by both parties that would be payed to the Indians for their lands that were now occupied by whites. A part of this price included land whereon the remaining Indians could settle.

As early as 1830, a Methodist class was organized in Indian Mills. After holding services wherever and whenever they could at the school house for about five years, a church building was erected in 1835. It was a rudely constructed small frame house. For about fifty years, services were held in that building until it became so dilapidated that a new building was needed, and so in 1879 a new one was built. It was 32 feet by fifty feet, and cost the people 900$. The land for the church was donated by Godfrey Hancock and Sooy Thompson. In 1883, the stewards were:

The trustees were: The pastor was Rev. H. J. Hermanian; previous pastors included John Miners and a Rev. Dobbins.

Baptist services were first held in the district school house as well, by Rev. Elijah Brant, for a number of years. In 1876, a plot of land was donated to the church by Emery Engler, and the church was built that same year. It was 28 by 45 feet, and cost 300 dollars to build. Regular preaching in the church ceased in 1881.

One of the earliest settlers at Indian Mills was the Small family. Another early settler was John Brown, who came to Indian Mills about 1800. He purchased a large tract and engaged in farming for many years. He had many children---

For more info on this area, also check out the Brotherton page, which includes info on the land encompassed by the Indian Reservation that the village of Indian Mills stands on.

NOTES: Asa Weeks: I found an Asa Weeks on the 1880 Census in Shamong township, quite possibly the same man as mentioned above: He was a 49 year old farmer, and lived in Shamong with his wife, Dorothy, age 36. Living with them at the time were two children, Howard W. (10) and Amanda(1), as well as a cousin, Curtis W. Weeks, 22. They also had an 18 year old servant girl named Ida Powell.
This page was last updated on Feb 15th 2003