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That most basic of food staples … flour

Flour is an item that is probably on the pantry shelf of almost every home in this country. Many varieties are available, but it hasn’t always been so easy to make bread, cakes or any other baked goods.

Making flour, done since prehistoric times began, was a laborious job, taking hours and hours to grind grains, seeds or roots between two stones. Primitive methods gave way to the mortar and pestle, then the stone mill powered by mule, then water or wind.

Following the American Revolution, until about 1830, Baltimore, Maryland, was the leading flour milling trade center in America. In 1878 the first roller mill of commercial importance was put into use in Minnesota.

During the Civil War, Union troops burned most of the mills in both Gloucester and Mathews. The tide mill at Poplar Grove in Mathews was rebuilt and operated until 1912. North End Mill was located on North River at the two counties’ dividing line on the property of the Honorable John Page. A new mill replaced it in...

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