Anyone that has stopped in at our museum has probably seen this stone before, but it may not have caught your attention as it isn’t in one of our buildings. Believe it or not, the stone out front is actually an artifact in our collection – one very large, heavy and rugged artifact that has thus taken its place outside of our museum.
William Redstone moved to Springfield Parish in 1836 along the Joliff Brook. Some land he purchased and some he leased from the Trinity Church in 1837. It was here that he built two watermills, one a gristmill and the other a sawmill, both on the Joliff Brook. One was located at his home, where the water came from a head pond at the foot of Bull Moose Hill Road. The water flowed down a flume or ditch to the gristmill. The second mill was across the highway from where Roy Northrup lived. This mill, with its undershot wheel, was used for sawing lumber and in its later days it may have been used for grinding buckwheat.
These mills were taken over by William Joliff, an Englishman. He came to New Brunswick in the year 1830, a son-in-law to William Redstone. Mr. Joliff did very well with his mills until his interest turned to prospecting. Later this place became home to Thomas Marr who was the last to operate the mills. Eventually, it became the property of the donor, William Tremain.
Following is some brief information on how millstones actually work. Millstones come as two pieces, a base or bedstone that doesn’t move and a runner stone that sits on top of the base and does the grinding of material. The runner stone is connected to different pieces that lead to the source of power – water. The surface of the millstone is divided into furrows that continue on as smaller grooves, called feathering or cracking. Our millstone only seems to have furrows – it doesn’t appear that the grooves get smaller continuing outwards. When the two stones are set against each other the patterns and movement allow for the stones to create a grinding action.
Next time you’re in be sure to stop and check out the millstone by our door!