From The Sunbury News, July 21, 2016:

Because You Asked . . . .

Early Sunbury Mills and
Stone Quarry

By Polly Horn, Curator of the Myers Inn Museum

Gaylord Mill

There were three mills along the Big Walnut near Sunbury.  Sunbury's first mill was built at the juncture of Big Walnut Creek and Rattlesnake Creek on Granville Road (Rt. 37 today) by Nicholas Manville in 1810.  The mill passed to Major Strong in 1817 then to Eleazor Gaylord in 1825 and became know as the Gaylord Mill.  It did not last a long time. Years later Billy Southworth collected stones from the creek bed and built his stone house on Gaylord Hill. 

Thomas. P. Myers (son of the founder of the town) and Samuel Peck built a saw mill on the Big Walnut Creek at Cherry and Walnut Street in 1842.  The creek was diverted upstream to flow into a pond with a right-of-way through John Knox's land for a trail-race to carry run-off from the water wheel.  They sold the mill to a Mr. Bailey in 1848.  Because of the sharp bend in the Big Walnut Creek, this mill was actually in Trenton Township. 

Baily Mill - What a Difference an E makes! 
For any years I have looked unsuccessfully for Mr. Bailey as did Carleton Burrer who provided me with the mill history.  Recently I noticed there is a family buried in the Sunbury Memorial Park who spells their name BAILY.  When I checked him in the 1850 censes, James Baily and his son Lewis were both millers born in New York and residing in Trenton Township.   As far as I know there was only one Baily Mill. 

Meanwhile James Baily added stone "buhrs" for grinding 'grists' which were small batches of grain for local farmers.  These buhrs were quarried in France when it was discovered the Sunbury stone was too soft.

Fleckner Quarry, in 'Picturesque Sunbury," 1896, photo by Charles Perfect

"Burrer Quarry Became Flectner Quarry

In 1851, the year Johan Burrer bought his family to Sunbury, he made a stone purchase from John Knox in the same area as the Baily Mill. He was a good stone cutter and eventually took in a partner Henry Fleckner so Burrer could build a bakery, store and tavern on the lot next to the Myers Inn.  The stone from his underground refrigeration system is in the fireplace in the Myers Inn Museum.

Van Sickle Mill Becomes Burrer Mill

John Van Sickle built a third mill in 1845 with a brush dam across the Big Walnut and about one half mile northeast of Sunbury.  Eventually the brush dam was replaced with planks and the mill sold to E. M. Condit who operated it from 1855 to 1866 then he sold it to Jacob Boyd.  Jacob sold the mill to his brother.  When Boyd sold the mill to Johan and his son Gottleb Jacob Burrer, F. B. Sprague, a Justice of the Peace, certified the Burrer-Boyd purchase agreement on June 16, 1871.  Sprague had expertise in the milling business and bought in as a partner with the Burrer father and son. 

Baily Mill Becomes Burrer Mill
F. B. Sprague, Johann and Jacob (Jakie) Burrer bought the Baily Mill in 1871 and moved some of the equipment from the Van Sickle Mill to the Baily Mill.  Six months of the year the flow in the creek was not strong enough to turn the big stones. Upon Shrive Gammillís suggestion the owners purchase land on the northeast side of Columbus and North Streets.  Johan Jacob died in 1874 leaving his mill interest to his 26 year old son.

At Johann Jacob Burrerís death at 53 on April 19, 1874, three of his daughters were married:  Louisa Catherine had married Henry Fleckner who worked the stone Quarry with Burrer,   In 1879, Jakie and his wife Amy would transferred the deed to the old Boyd (Bailey) Mill to his  sister Louisa and her husband Henry Fleckner who continued to operate the stone quarry for Johan and Jakie.  Fleckner built his family house at 10 Walnut Street which is being renovated by Dan Schwartz in 2016.  Some of the old stone foundation of the mill can be seen near the creek.

Caroline Catherine married Daniel Miller of Delaware and Catherine Christine married Charles Rice. Johannís son Heinrich died a month before his father.   In addition to his widow Barbara Catherine (age 54) who continued to live in the log house on Cherry Street, he left Gottlieb (age 26), John E. (Age 20), Nannie (age 18) and Frank (12).   

John E. Burrer had shown more interest in the bakery than in the mill.  He married Margaret Hyatt and took over the bakery and the store next to the Myers Inn when his father died.  They moved into the quarters over the bakery and had three children: Esther (born 1894), Arthur Merlon (born 1896) and Frank (born 1898). 

John E. sold the bakery and lot in 1899 to J. W. Barker. who ran it until he sold it in 1906 to Chauncey Root who came from Pickaway County.  Root sold the bakery and lot in 1819 to Robert Gelston. 

Burrer, Barker, Root, then Gelston Bakery  1918

John E. bought a flour and grist mill in Centerburg and moved his family there where he had two more children George in 1902 and Ralph in 1909.     
Nannie married Thomas Payne, a hardware merchant in Sunbury. Kidwells, Perrys, Kitchens, Watsons, Hobbs, Amerine, Hoffs and Owens are just some the their descendantsí surnames.

Frank never married but lived with his mother and helped in the mill.  After her death, he moved to Westerville and started his own mill.

When Sprague became Probate Judge in 1875 after being Justice of the Peace, he lost interest in the milling business. By 1875 young Jakie Burrer was the sole owner of the mill but his 13 year old brother Frank continued to help with the business. 

While the Burrer Mill was not the first in Sunbury, it would become the longest running mill.

. . . . And Now You Know

Burrer, Dorothy Dillenbeck.  Flashback the Story of Two Families.  As told to Polly Whitney Brehm Horn.  Available in Community Library
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