Friday, April 18, 2008

Roy J. Kyger

Born - 1882
Died - 1959

RESIDENCES: 316 Chandler, (probably in Danville, IL)

RECOLLECTIONS: Kyger's Mill Gone But Not Forgotten

Few and obscure are the landmarks today of pioneer days when settlers flooded into the rolling hills of the Midwest.

One of the familiar sights in this area a century ago was Kyger's Mill, near Grape Creek on the Vermilion River, six miles southeast of Danville, [IL] - then a village of only a few hundred.

Amid scenic beauty, the three-story frame building housed a huge grist mill that ground wheat and corn night and day. Through a smaller structure adjacent to it passed thousands of logs to be sawed into rough lumber.

The first mill was built on the site by William Sheets and Thomas Morgan of Georgetown, [IL] in 1835. When Henry T. Kyger purchased the mill in 1850, he enlarged the building, installed new machinery and formed a partnership with the two brothers, Daniel and Tilmon Kyger.

The original Kyger family was Henry T. Kyger and wife, their five daughters and two sons. Of these, two sons and a daughter survive: Mrs. Charles T. Bushong, 602 Buchanan St., R.J. Kyger, 316 Chandler and Willet T. Kyger, Pocahontas, Ark.

Power to run the grindling burrs and sawmill was furnished by two turbine shells driven by water impounded in a large fore-bay or mill race. Water was forced into it by a dam built across the river at an angle to the mill.

Both corn and wheat were ground by stone burrs. Lumber was cut by a "gate-saw" fitted into a huge frame about eight feet high and six feet wide. The sawmill turned out about two thousand feet of lumber a day, considered good in those days. The price was 50 cents per hundred feet, or a share.

Other buildings used in the milling business included a millbarn to house the horses and oxen, a cooperage for making barrels to ship flour, a wheat granery and barracks for millhands.

Henry Kyger sold the mill after operating it more than 30 years, but it continued to be used until the turn of the century when the structure weakened by age, fell of its own weight into the river. Only memories of its existence remain.
(Source: Written by R.J. Kyger and published in the Danville Commercial News, Danville, IL on 25 Nov 1951 - furnished by T. Clifford Morgan)

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