A story from my travels to Virginia in search of my ancestry. I believe a restored Sloan mill is on display in Franklin County, Virginia.
The Sloans of Turner Creek
The Sloans of Turner Creek was first mentioned to me on my July 2002 trip to Franklin County, Virginia. I met a Edith McGhee Sigmon of Ferrum Virgina at the Thornton Reunion at the Towne Creek Primitive Baptist Church and we started to talk about the Sloans from Franklin County, Virginia.
The conversation led to a common Sloan, Samuel Henry and his two wives. I was told that Esom was the last child of the first wife. I was told that the Sloans were from Turner Creek that is located north of Ferrum, Virginia. The Sloan family operated a mill on Turner Creek for many years and that mill was reconstructed as a historical site.
My father’s half sister was married to William Edward Sloan and that is the connection to the Sloan surname. William’s (Ed) grandfather (James Yucatan) came to Putnam County around the turn of the twentieth century. James and his wife are buried in Bird Cemetery located on the ridge above the home he lived in for many years.
I mentioned the Sloan mill in Franklin County, Virginia to my father to see if he had heard anything about that mill. My father told me that Dora Sloan (the son of James Yucatan and father of Ed) had a mill that was located on the small stream below the Sloan farm that flows toward Trace Fork of Mud River. The mill was located where the road starts up the hill toward the Bird Cemetery and the Sloan farm. My father said that the mill was operated every Saturday. The mill was operated by the old style flywheel gasoline motor and not by water. The mill primarily ground corn into meal. The tract of land was probably part of the Creed Meadows Bird farm. The Creed Bird farmhouse is still located near the mill site and still occupied. The farmhouse is probably well over 100 years old.
The Sloan farm is located at the ridge above the small stream where the mill was located. The road that leads to the cemetery makes a switchback to the right and the farm is located near that switchback. My father said he could remember when the Sloan family lived there in the 1930’s. He said he could remember hearing preaching at the farm in the summer months. He said that during the association meetings at Providence Primitive Baptist Church the preachers would stay there and preach in the evenings.
The common Sloan that was mentioned at the Virginia Thornton Reunion was Samuel Henry Sloan that was born 1813 and died 1887 in Franklin County, Virginia. Sam Henry was the son of Clifford Sloan and Peggy Doran. Clifford Sloan was born 1760 in Franklin County, Virginia to James Sloan and Sarah McGuire. James Yucatan Sloan was the son of Samuel Henry Sloan. Information concerning the Sloan family in Franklin County, Virginia follows below:
In 1750, James Slone operated a mill on Maggodee Creek near the present day community of Wirtz, Virginia, in the Old Bonbrook area. After the American Revolution, Patrick Henry, the first governor of Virginia, deeded James Slone the tract of land where the mill stood. Slone ground the corn and wheat produced by the local farms in the fertile area around his grist mill until his death.
James Sloan’s Mill passed down to his son Clifford Sloan and then it passed down to Clifford’s son Samuel. When Samuel Sloan fell upon hard times it forced Samuel to sell his mill and land to pay his debts and he moved to the mountains of Franklin County. With Samuel Sloan’s family he brought his mother-in-law with him, who still legally owned the James Sloan’s Mill. Peggy Dorman Sloan, Clifford’s wife sold the James Sloan’s Mill for $1,025 dollars through a lawyer named Prat to pay her son-in-law’s debt.
Samuel Sloan (1813-1885) then built a mill along the South Prong of the Pigg River between 1840 and 1850. Then the mill passed from Samuel Sloan to his son Esom (1838-1908). Samuel Sloan is buried on Buffalo Mountain south of the present Sloan Mill. This mill stood below (north of) the present Sloan Mill on the west side of the stream by itself about 100 yards south of the stream which crosses under Route 748 and flows into the South Prong of the Pigg River. Esom Sloan had a miller’s house which once stood near the mill. Esom operated the mill during the Civil War for his father, which kept him from military service in the Confederate Army, but his younger brother Samuel Henry Sloan, Jr. (1843-1934) was drafted into service.