John Grogan | Grist Mill Tour
Gristmill Tour through north Georgia.

Gristmills used to grind corn, wheat, and other grains into flour and meal were a common sight in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century. The first recorded North American gristmill was built in Jamestown, Va., in 1621. As settlers moved from the Jamestown area into what is now northeastern North Carolina, they carried their milling techniques with them and began building small mills to grind grain.

Gristmills generally operated by guiding a stream of water into a waterwheel, which provided the power to rotate the series of huge millstones that crushed the grain into progressively smaller pieces. Most early gristmills were situated along creeks for a source of waterpower, usually near natural falls. Many gristmills had saws attached, harnessing the waterpower not only to grind flour but also to saw lumber. Power was increased by building dams. On some mills, millraces were built to carry water to the mill, particularly those equipped with an overshot type of wheel.
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