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History of The Millstone

Established in 1811

The Millstone is located in Limestone, Tennessee at historic Brabson MIll built in 1811 by Thomas Brabson. The mill was powered by a 15-foot high, wooden, overshot, water wheel. The race that supplied water to the wheel was hand dug for one-quarter mile upstream from a dam on Carson Creek. The wheel powered 2 sets of stone. Grist mills played a major role in the lives of the mostly agrarian European settlers of this area in the early 1800’s, as farmers needed a place to have their grain ground into flour. In the Bowmantown and Carson Creek community of Washington Co., Brabson Mill served that very purpose until its closing in 1994.


The mill served the neighboring community in various ways during its operations and had several different owners. During the Civil War, it was occupied by a Michigan Union regiment. In the early 1900’s the mill was sold to the Gray family. In 1910 it was also used as a post office. The original teller counter can still be seen today in the mill and has been reused as a vanity in the bathroom. The Gray’s continued to operate the mill for most of the 1900s under the name Gray and Son Milling Co. In the 1940s’ the mill was used to create electricity for itself and neighboring houses. The Mill closed in 1994.

In 2010, Brabson Mill was purchased by William and Danielle Barrett. At the time of the Barrett’s purchase, the mill condition had deteriorated significantly. Structurally, many of the beams had sagged, and due to roof leaks, much of the structure had rotted. William embarked the arduous task of restoring the old mill into the historical beauty it once was. William wanted to primarily concentrate his efforts on the original structure, and thus a 1910 addition and a 1945 addition were dismantled. Damaged beams of the original structure were replaced with other historic material of the same time period. Much time was spent lifting and further supporting the structure to ensure its longevity. Along with new exterior siding, the new, structurally sound roof was installed. All electrical wiring and plumbing were also replaced and updated. It was very critical throughout the renovation process to keep the historical character of the mill intact, so much of the original flooring, millwork, and siding were reused once again in the mill. The original milling equipment was also incorporated into the decor, and it keeps the character of the mill alive, as it will for future generations.