Ziegler Mill Ledger

   Ziegler P. O., Meigs County, Tennnessee






by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

~ transcribed and typed for this website, Tennessee Ties, only ~

~ photographed 18 Feb. 2011 by Stephen Ratledge, my husband ~


[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind, attach any pages to family trees, or print in publications. See copyright notice below. Many thanks to Cousin Mildred Maupin for lending this ledger for transcription! The old ledger was given to her by the last member of the Ziegler family to use it. Jacob Ziegler's wife Annabelle is Mildred's great-great-great-aunt. Thanks also to Cousin Denise Keltch for help with gathering data and, as always, to my husband Stephen Ratledge for his photography!]


~ I N T R O D U C T I O N ~

The TN Department of State website lists Ziegler's Post Office as established in 1887, in McMinn County, TN and closed in 1903. This post office was located at Ziegler's Mill and general store and thus so named. For an informative article about the old Ziegler Mill and the Ziegler family, read "Grist Mill a Reminder of Our Past" written by Johnny Hutsell-Royster, published and copyrighted in The Daily Post-Athenian, 26 Feb. 2004. According to that article, the earlier Ziegler Mill was located in McMinn County near Buttram's Chapel Methodist Church and owned and operated by Jacob Ziegler. He and his wife Annabelle are listed in the second district on the 1900 McMinn County, TN census. Neighbors in that vicinity include the following: Thomas R. William and Susan Clayton, James H. and Martha Kennedy, Alvis and Annie Foster, Martha Edgeman and children, Mathew and Annie Thompson, Robert "Bob" and Elizabeth "Betty" Goins, Lee and Annie Sliger, John and Ida Burton, Brown and Barbara C. Givens, George and Susie Sliger, Martha J. Sliger, William and Erma Martin, and Andrew and Louisa J. Kyker.

Even as early as the 1860 McMinn County, TN census, Jacob's occupation was recorded as miller and born in Tyrone, Ireland; Annabelle worked as a "mantua maker," sewing women's capes. By the 1910 McMinn County, TN census, they are aged 75 and 69 respectively, and his occupation is "farmer." Just after Jacob in the 1910 census is William Calvert whose occupation is listed as "miller" of a gristmill; therefore, it is likely that he is operating the old Ziegler Mill by then. Neighbors enumerated in the vicinity included the following: William L. and Mary Wallis, Jr., William L. and Mary F. Sliger, William and Martha Calvert, Franklin R. and Carry Francisco, Thomas W. and Mary Hacker, Leander G. Thompson, Noah and Peggy Robinson, Hiram Robinson, Campbell A. and Lillie Goins, Simon and Mary B. Boggess, Martha (McKeehan) Boggess, Stephen A. and Catherine Goins, and John F. and Hattie A. Simpson. Jacob Ziegler was born 15 April 1834, died 6 May 1917, in McMinn County, TN, and was interred at Buttram's Chapel Cemetery. His wife Annabelle (Gibboney) Ziegler survived him, died on 14 December 1918, at age 79, and was buried in Buttram's Chapel Cemetery also.

Jacob A. Zeigler, son of Jacob and Annabelle, purchased the old Gettys Mill from the Gentry family in the 1920s according to aforementioned DPA article. This Ziegler's Mill, pictured above, is located in a copse of trees at the junction of Highway 305 and North No Pone Road near Jordan Road in Meigs County, TN. There on Little Sewee Creek, it remained in operation by the Ziegler family until 1966 per the DPA article. Few people now remember the old mill actually running. Fortuantely, Ron Thompson, a gospel singer, local resident and historian, vividly recalls the building quaking when the grinding process began. Ron wrote,

"I don't remember who ran it for us; but when they set it into motion, I can remember the whole building shook. It would have been about 1950-53 when I saw it run. The building is still there. The trestle and flume were removed years ago. There was an overhead flume which ran about 1/4 mile east of the mill site to the place where the dam existed. I think it was a wooden trough that was raised about ten or more feet above ground. It ran along Little Sewee Creek Road to a point about 1/4 mile south of the old Clearwater Road and took diagonally across the field in a southwest direction and crossed Clearwater Road. It was an overshot wheel, and water dropped from the top downward when the trough was opened. It obtained power from the drop of the water because there wasn't enough power in the regular flow of the creek.

The site of the dam is located on Sewee Creek Road. Driving from Athens on 305, you pass over the new concrete bridge on Little Sewee Creek; drive past the mill site, and then turn right off 305 about 1/4 mile north of the bridge onto the remaining section of Old Clearwater Road. Take the one-lane dirt road to the right toward Sewee Church of God. On the right south of the creek just before you reach the woods, you can see concrete pads still remaining from where the flume spanned the creek. About 1/4 mile west of there at the Meigs-McMinn County line, there is a cut to the left of the road where the pavement begins for McMinn County. To the right below the road, is the site of the dam. They got power by keeping the water level elevated by the flume until they were ready to drop it down onto the wheel."

Unfortunately, the old waterwheel is now missing. Eugene Thompson recalls that in the 1950s a flood washed away the waterwheel. He said, "It was mounted on the back side of the building (south of the building) which adjoins the north bank of the creek. The Ziegler house is across the creek from there. After the wheel was washed away, they ground corn and wheat by using a gasoline engine."

O. D. Cupp, Eugene Thompson's uncle, worked in the old mill many years ago. He said, "After the wheel washed away, they first installed a gasoline engine to run it. Later, they installed a diesel engine. It operated into the 1950s."

In addition to screening, cleaning, and grinding grains like wheat, corn, and rye for human consumption in biscuits, cornbread, etc., the miller also made bran providing not only fiber for humans but also food for horses, other livestock, and chickens. This transcription shows that Mr. Ziegler obviously sold other commodities such as coal oil, pigs, chickens, heifers, plows, and rented out a boar to farmers. He accepted checks as well as cash and deposited them in his account at Cleveland National Bank, Cleveland, TN. Also, he bartered accepting bags of flour and meal to feed his own family and for resale at the mill. Sometimes he swapped for livestock and other farm animals and even accepted farm day labor as payment.

The Zieglers resided nearby just across the millstream in the brick home previously owned and occupied by the James R. Gettys family, who began operating the mill sometime in the 1850s. Both Ziegler Mill and the Gettys home were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Sam Hutsell was the builder of the Gettys home, later known as the Ziegler House.

The following transcription indexes the ledger used in the Meigs County Ziegler Mill from July 1918 to May 1927; however, numerous pages near the end are missing. The ledger is a hardback book with cloth covering and sewn in pages. This old log book is literally falling apart; pages are crumbling along the edges. Entries were recorded in pencil which has faded with the decades. The following is my effort to preserve a piece of local history that might otherwise be lost to the ages. By clicking each link in the chart below, you can view a different photo of the old mill and read transcriptions of the pages. If mill customers are identified, active links from their names have been made to their respective family group records on this website.

Ziegler Mill Ledger Transcription Links with More Pictures

PAGES 1 - 20PAGES 21 - 50PAGES 51-70PAGES 71 - 100PAGES 101 - 120
PAGES 121 - 150PAGES 151 - 200PAGES 201 - 256PAGES 257 - 300PAGES 301 - 372

You might like to read the following story: "It Was Time to Retire When . . ." which relates to old gristmills.


This site is dedicated to the memory of my mother Beulah Cline Nipper, a beautiful product of the Knobs.

Public Domain, but please include this site in your sources

Sandra Ratledge

All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!