The Forgotten Millwright, Isaiah Linton (1739-1775)

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The Forgotten Millwright, Isaiah Linton (1739-1775)

 Terry Louis Linton © 1986

Linton Research Fund Inc., Publication © 1987

(article, Terry L. Linton © 1987) (Copyright The Publication of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills, © 1987.) (ISSN 0276-3338.) Published in (Old Mill News, Vol. XV, No., 2. Whole Number 59., Spring, 1987; pp 7-8.)

(article, Terry L. Linton © 1988) (Copyright, The Publication of the Baltimore County Historical Society, © 1988.) (ISSN 0889-6186.) Published in (History Trails. Vol. 23. Whole Number 1 & 2 Autumn 1988- Winter 1989; pp 1-6.)

Linton & Bird Chronicles Volume II, Issue 2, Spring © 2007 ISSN 1941-3521

 

 The Forgotten Millwright

 

Who was this "Forgotten Millwright," who designed and engineer the erecting of Harford County's Jerusalem Merchant Mill, one of the last water powered mills still standing today?

According to an interview, on December 24, 1985, with Jerome Lamprect, historic engineer, this 217 year-old mill has three features: First, "it may have been the first water powered mill in the United States to use a horizontal axis waterwheel for power." Second, "this mill has two alternating tiers of three dormer windows, on each side of its wooden shingled roof, designed to let more light into the two upper stories of the mill. "Third, "there are two, tremendously large wooden grain bins, made out of scantling, uniquely laid flat on top of each other, taking up most of the second and third floors of this mill" {1}

This same Forgotten Millwright was also left out of the history of eighteen other water-powered mills and one known iron works. Over the years, there have been many articles written about the Jerusalem Merchant Mill and the other surrounding mills of Harford and Baltimore Counties, Maryland. All of these articles credit the Quakers, David Lee and Elisha Tyson, with the erection of these mills. However, after 17 years of research, we unveil the following brief, untold historical sketch of Isaiah Linton, The Forgotten Millwright, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore and Harford Counties, Maryland.

Isaiah Linton (1739-1775) , was the 4th child of seven children born to the Quakers John Linton (1706-1761) and Elizabeth Hayhurst (1709-1795). They were both second generation Bucks County Quakers. Isaiah Linton was one of seven children, born on November 15, 1739/40, in Wrightstown Township. Isaiah was born and raised on his father's Jericho tract Plantation in Wrightstown Township, centrally located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Isaiah Linton, by birth, like the three generations before him, was a member of the Religious Society of Friends, known as Friends or Quakers. According to various county court records in Pennsylvania and Maryland, Isaiah Linton was described as a good father, a learned man, miller, millwright, skilled master-builder, skilled millwright, a good and honest miller, yeoman, gentleman, planter, farmer and Quaker Elder.

Isaiah Linton was educated in the Quaker tradition, "based on the conviction that education must make one familiar with the spiritual forces surrounding their life, understanding the problems of social life, and to understand the workings of one's indulged profession.'' {2} Isaiah first attended the Chapman's Quaker School, located in Wrightstown Township, for his basic education. Then at age fourteen, Isaiah attended the Quaker Business School of Philadelphia. It was uncommon for a Quaker youth to attain a higher education at such an early age.{3}

In 1754, Isaiah, age fifteen, borrowed money from his father and purchased Charles Chapman's plantation, containing 167 acres, and part of the Wrightstown Town Square. In 1755, Isaiah purchased a 5 ¼ acre Wrightstown Town Square Lot. Then in 1764, Isaiah purchased another 5 acre Town Square Lot in Newtown Township. All of these tracks of land were in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.{4}

1754, fifteen year old, Isaiah Linton had started serving his miller apprenticeship under miller Benjamin Chapman at Chapman's Grist Mill. In 1756, seventeen year old, Isaiah Linton started his millwright apprenticeship under the renowned Quaker millwright Richard Mitchell. Isaiah Linton's first known project with Richard Mitchell was during the erection of Mitchell's Rush Valley Grist Mill. Also involved in the erection of this mill were Joseph, John, and Andrew Ellicott.{5}

 

By May of 1758, Isaiah Linton had enough training at his millwright trade to pursuit the trade on his own. Isaiah entered into an agreement with miller John Thompson of Wrightstown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, "to erect a water powered grist mill on the Neshaminy Creek." Also, "In return, said miller, Isaiah Linton of said same place, is to receive a part of the profits and advantages arising from said mill, for a term of fifteen years."{6}

Isaiah followed the Quaker belief "of furthering one's own education and that of others by the reading of books."{7} On August 9, 1760, Isaiah and nine other Quakers organized The Newtown Library Company, located in Joseph Thornton's Court Inn Tavern. This collection of books and the Newtown Library Company are still in existence today in Newton, Bucks County.{8} At the time of Isaiah's death, his personal library contained the following valuable books: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, by Pope; Rollin's History in Ten Volumes: One Time, by Burnotes; Bell's Letters: Register and Letters, by Actken: Baily's Dictionary; and one old Bible.{9}

On June 11, 1761, Isaiah Linton inherited his father's 173 acre Jericho Plantation adjacent to Jacob, Isaiah, and William Linton's plantations. This brought Isaiah's land holdings in Bucks County to 350 ¼ acres. John Linton's Jericho Plantation was located in the foot hills of the ''historic crescent-shaped Jericho Mountain Range" where "Penn's Walking Purchase ended" and was crossed by Jericho Creek which empties into the Delaware River.{10}

In 1763 Isaiah erected the Worthington Grist Mill.{11} This 2 ½ story grist mill, in Wrightstown Township on the Neshaminy Creek and the Worthington Mill Road operated until the early 1900s and is standing today, 226 years later as a private residence.

On October 24, 1764, Isaiah Linton married Sarah Hirst in the Wrightstown Friends Meeting House. Sarah was the daughter of John and Mary Anna Hirst of Yorkshire, England. Isaiah and Sarah Linton had five children: Laura Ellicott Linton (1766-1828, (named for the renowned surveyor, Andrew Ellicott); Thomas Linton (1768-1824); James Linton (1769-1854); William Linton (1772-1848); and Sarah Linton (1774-1817).

Isaiah in 1765 entered into an agreement with Wi1l1am Thompson, Jr., "to erect a stone water powered grist mill, on Core Creek, near Nesham1ny Creek, and the Bridgetown Pike in Middletown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania." In return, Isaiah was to "receive part of the profits and advantages arising from said mill, for a term of 15 years. ". This mill was later known as Jenk's Grist Mill.{12}

By 1767, 28-year-old Isaiah Linton had established himself as a very influential and prominent Quaker elder and overseer of the Wrightstown Friends Meeting. On January 14, 1769, elder John Chapman transferred the title of the Wrightstown Meeting House property, held by patent from the old trustees, to a group of eight new trustees, including Isaiah.{13}

In late 1767, Zacheus Barrett Onion, the nephew and the heir of prominent ironmaster Stephen Onion of Baltimore County, posted handbills throughout the Quaker communities, advertising for "Commissioned Millwright Work, to my Ironworks and Mills." The contents of this handbill were conveyed to Isaiah in correspondence dated March 1768, from Samuel Bond, a Philadelphia Quaker merchant.{14}

On February 3, 1768, Isaiah entered into an agreement "between Zacheus Barrett Onion, Gentleman of Baltimore County, in the Province of Maryland, and Grinniff Howard, ironmaster, of the same said place, of one part: and Isaiah Linton, m1llwright, of Wrightstown, Bucks County, in the Province of Pennsylvania, of the other part; . . . to proceed with the said Commissioned work of putting in good repair all of my uncle's old and sorry; two forges, two hammers, two water sawm1lls, furnace, four fires, chair house (carriage house), and said Onion's Forge Grist Mill:" (All of these early Colonial industries were dependent upon water and the waterwheel for power.) In return, Isaiah was to receive "All of the said Water Rights and Mill Privileges, Lying and Being in the County of Baltimore, Beginning at the Head Waters of the river called Gunpowder, and running up the said Small Branch (Little Gunpowder Falls), of said Gunpowder: to include all and singular smaller Heads of all of its branches, banks, ponds, streams, water courses, river places, ways, paths, and the soil thereof, within said measured-out-distance of 1,600 perches, (approximately five miles), more or less".{15}

Isaiah, with a group of Quakers from Bucks County, traveled down to the small Quaker settlement of Gunpowder Falls near Joppa Town and made the necessary repairs to Onion's Iron Works and mills. After the repairs were completed in early 1769, Isaiah Linton started the revitalizing of the deteriorating industry of the small settlements of Gunpowder Falls and Joppa Town. From 1712 to 1768, the county seat of Baltimore County was the thriving, tobacco exporting seaport of Joppa Town. But in 1768, "with much political riot and turbulence, all of the Courts and their Records were removed to the seaport of Baltimore Town. This caused many of Joppa Town's wealthier inhabitants to take their houses down and remove them five to ten miles up country, and Joppa Town immediately began to decline."{16}

Isaiah Linton knew that his newly acquired water rights and mill privileges on the Little Gunpowder Falls were valuable because of the proximity to Joppa Town and the navigable water leading to the Chesapeake Bay. He realized that barrels of flour from a grist mill, or wooden scantling, planks, and timbers for a saw mill, could be moved up the old tobacco rolling roads easily, then up this river, and then shipped to any port in the world at little cost.{17} With this in mind, Isaiah met with Zacheus Barrett Onion and convinced him that his mill seat lot, located on both sides of the Baltimore-Philadelphia road just above Joppa Town on the Little Gunpowder Falls could be turned into a valuable and profitable milling business for both of them. After this meeting, on April 13, 1769, Isaiah leased Onion's Forge Grist Mill from Onion for a term of 15 years at 75 pounds per year. Also "Onion's Upper and Forge Saw mills for a term of 15 years at 25 pounds per year each." All of these mills were located on "Onion's Mill Lot Seat" {18} These mills were all originally located in Baltimore County. But, when Harford County was formed out of Baltimore County in 1773 and the Little Gunpowder Falls was designated as the boundary between these two counties, some of these mills were then located in Harford County and some in Baltimore County, Maryland.

On September 13, 1769, millers Isaiah Linton and David Lee agreed that they would "enter into a Milling Partnership Business" and "said, David Lee is to enter into the premises of said Onion's Forge Grist Mill, and set forth into the milling and grinding manufacturing business."{19} David Lee (1740-1816) was the second son of Ralph Lee and Sarah Ellicott. In 1763, Quaker, miller, David Lee was living on the plantation of weaver Jacob Linton, the elder, brother of Isaiah, in Wrightstown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.{20}

In early 1769, Isaiah started corresponding with Samuel Bond and James Wilson to purchase the tracts of land that ran up both sides of the Little Gunpowder Falls to which he owned the water rights and mill privileges. It took Isaiah three years to get a clear title to the 280-acre tract of land known as Bond's Water Mills and the 125-acre tract known as James Forest which was a part of the older tract known as Expectation.{21} By 1727, Thomas Bond had erected a water grist mill on his Bonds Water Mill Seat. Later, Thomas Bond erected an iron puddling mill and bloomery forge on this mill seat.{22}

During this period, Isaiah leased Bonds Water Mills from Samuel Bond of Philadelphia and the James Forest tract from Robert Sanders of Anne Arundel County, Maryland.{23} On October 25, 1771, after paying off three mortgages, Isaiah received clear title to Bond's Water Mills and four months later, on February 6, 1772, clear title to James Forest.{24}

While still in the process of getting title to Bonds Water Mills, Isaiah erected his Jericho Dwelling House, high on a knoll on the old Joppa Rolling Road (Jericho Road) on the south bank (Baltimore County) overlooking the Little Gunpowder Falls. This "2 ½ story, stone, 25 by 30 foot house had an adjoining commodious stone kitchen; with a piazza, pump, garden, yard, barn, stables, meat house, and a spring house."{25} Isaiah Linton's Jericho Dwelling House is still standing today, known as the Jericho Farm House on the McBrides' Jericho Farm. Isaiah's Jericho Dwelling House has seen numerous additions and uses by its later owners in the past 219 years.

Isaiah probably named this new dwelling house after his father's Jericho Plantation in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Also, in 17th century slang, the phrase, "to bid a man to go to Jericho" meant to go to the farthest boundary of his property. Because of this saying, and with Isaiah's new land holdings and mills in Maryland, so far from his plantation in Wrightstown, Bucks County, his family may have referred to the new land holdings as Jericho.{26}

By the end of 1769, Isaiah had in operation one grist and two saw mills leased from Onion. Isaiah had also erected his first of eight water-powered mills in Baltimore and Harford Counties.{27} This new stone saw mill was located on the north bank (Harford County), approximately four miles above Joppa Town, where the old Bel Air-Baltimore Rolling Road (Jerusalem Road) crossed the Little Gunpowder Falls. This mill was first known as the Upper Jericho Saw Mill, later as the Jerusalem Saw Mill. Isaiah described this saw mill as "mostly for use for Mister Onion's scantling cuttings."{28} This mill was later described as "powered by an 8-foot-wide pitch-black water wheel; operating at 20 rpm and developing 14 horsepower; operated by two sawyers, with one circular saw and a one-bladed gang-saw."{29} The Upper Jericho Saw Mill or the Jerusalem Saw Mill as it was later known as, continued in operation for over 130 years until the early 1900's.

By September, 1770, Isaiah Linton had completed his second mill, describing it as "the lower saw mill, on the Falls, put in use for timbers, for the new county mill."{30} This stone saw mill was first known as the Lower Jericho Saw Mill, later as the Jericho Saw Mill. The mill was located on the Joppa Rolling Road (Jericho Road) approximately a mile downstream from the Upper Jericho Saw Mill, (Jerusalem Saw Mill) on the south bank (now Baltimore County) of the Little Gunpowder Falls. This saw mill was later described as "a stone saw mill powered by two overshot water wheels, erected on a large scale for timber shipments to Baltimore, capable of doing as much work, perhaps, as any in the state."{31} Isaiah turned his Jericho Saw Mill into a very profitable merchant saw mill. He wrote that he "received large log shipments from Mister Onion's vast supply." He also noted that the mill was "geared to operate two sets of Up and down one bladed gang saw blades and all of the necessary workings."{32}

In April 1771, Isaiah recorded that he "started grinding Jacob Scott's Indian corn in the Jericho Mill."{33} Isaiah's third mill on the Little Gunpowder Falls was first known as the Jericho Merchant and County Mill. It later became known as the Upper Jericho Merchant Mill, then the Jericho Merchant Mill, next Tyson's Grist Mill, next Maryland Cotton Manufactory, next Jericho Cotton Factory Mill, and last it was known as Simms & Company Cotton Manufactory.

In 1771 with this new merchant mill, Isaiah started expanding his milling ventures by actually buying his neighbor's wheat, grain, and com and then processing it on his own account, making a monetary profits on the sale and supplying the finished flour products to the Joppa merchants for their shipments and exports. However, with his county, custom, or grist mills, Isaiah continued to receive part of his income as a portion or toll of the grain he or his millers ground.

The Jericho Merchant Mill was located on a bend of the Falls just below the Linton dwelling. "It measured 30 by 36 feet and had two full stories of stone and a third of stone with gabled ends". According to an advertisement of 1782, "even in the driest season there was plenty of water to keep the mill running." So it was considered to be "an exceedingly valuable merchant and county mill, calculated to do an abundance of business."{34} The mill was later described as "having a roof of wood shingles, with two dormer windows on each side to provide light to the third floor which extended over the waterwheel A wooden plank deck extended around the overshot waterwheel to the main entrance of the mill. The entrance was covered with a vertical weatherboard shed. There was a stone fireplace at the west end of each floor, with its stone chase extending up the outside wall. Grain wagons could be unloaded at the second story door along Jericho Road."{35}

The Jericho Merchant Mill, millers house was located approximately 100 feet north of the mill. This 2 ½ story, stone house is still standing today and known now as Jubilee, on Jericho Road. Isaiah's Jericho Merchant Mill stood for 121 years until the flood waters of 1892, totally destroyed it. All that remains today is the vine-covered foundation and approximately 150 feet of the earthen head race, 10 feet wide and 15 feet higher than the river. The ruins of the Jericho Dam can also be seen today, halfway between Jerusalem Mill and the Jericho Covered Bridge. After the 1892 flood, the stones from the mill were used to erect a new stone barn above the Jericho Farm House. This barn is still in use today by the McBride family.

In May of 1771, Isaiah and many of his family members broke their ties with their fellow Quakers in Bucks County and "attended the Gunpowder Monthly Meeting, which recommended them as members, in good standing, to join our Gunpowder Society." This Certificate of Removal was dated May 7, 1771, and was hand delivered from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, by Joseph Smith to Baltimore County, before the May 22, 1771, meeting."{36}

By August of 1772, 33 year old, Isaiah Linton had commissioned his good friend, surveyor Andrew Ellicott to "make up to five maps, to include all of my whole lands." {37}

Also, by August of 1772, the milling partnership business of Linton & Lee had sub-leased their remaining leasehold of Onion's Forge Grist Mill to the milling partnership of Lee & Paul. This partnership was made up of millers David Lee and John Paul of Wrightstown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.{38} This same Quaker, miller, John Paul and his leased Onion's grist mills were later involved in the Great Torie Flour Scandal of Joppa during the Revolutionary War which led to a lengthy chancery suit.{39}

By August 1772, Isaiah had erected his fourth mill. For this mill, he selected a low mill seat location with strong river flow and a head of 25 feet of river fall. This permitted or required him "to design, install, and set-in-motion one of the first, efficient and unique, inside, horizontal axis water powered wheels in the United States."{40} The mill was located on the north (Harford County) bank of the Little Gunpowder Falls, where it crossed the old Bel Air-Baltimore Rolling Road just behind the Upper Jericho Saw Mill. This mill was known as Lee's Merchant Mill for over 100 years, until the mid-1870s, when it became known as the Jerusalem Merchant Mill. The name "Jerusalem" comes from the original, 1687, Jerusalem land patent and the surrounding milling town of Jerusalem that sprang up around Lee's Merchant Mill. Isaiah Linton's new merchant mill was "erected on a large scale and depended on shipments of barrels of flour by road and water via Baltimore Town and Joppa Town to seaports around the world. This five story mill was one of the largest mills in Maryland, 60 feet long and 30 feet in breadth. The wheel-pit and ground story were constructed of stone and the upper three storage stories of vertical weatherboard planks. The roof was high-peaked with gabled ends and originally covered with wooden shingles. The mill was framed using classic millwrights techniques, with massive, neatly hand chamfered, white oak posts supporting the wooden bolsters, which were pegged and pinned into the vast two-foot square, hand-hewn white oak girts supporting the oak ceilings, floors, and stairways. There were two vast oak grain bins, that take up most of the third and fourth floors. The ground story served as the grinding level, with a run of French burr stones and a run of county stones, both 48 inches in diameter."{41} Isaiah was not satisfied with the amount of working light that was available in the top storage level of his Upper Jericho Merchant Mill. He designed this new mill with two uniquely aligned, alternating, tiers of three wooden dormer windows on both sides of the roof.

On August 13, 1772, Isaiah Linton and David Lee entered into another agreement: "said David Lee, miller, living near Joppa, shall enter into the said premises of said Lee's Merchant Mill, and set forth into the milling, grinding, and manufacturing business." David Lee, also, agreed to pay "one-half the said profits, emolument, and advantages, arising from said mill, for a term of four years, to said Isaiah Linton, millwright."{42} On September 7, 1772, Isaiah and Sarah Linton sold to David Lee a part of Bonds Water Mills, containing a 50-acre mill seat, mill dam, and saw mill. David Lee paid only five shillings for this valuable merchant mill and seat. This sum was just enough to cover the court recording fee.{43} Isaiah's fourth mill, known as Lee's Merchant Mill and the Jerusalem Merchant Mill, remained in continuous operation for 188 years until 1960 and is standing today, some 217 years later. The Jerusalem Merchant Mill is now under the care of The Friends of Jerusalem Mill and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In late 1772, Isaiah started the erection of his fifth mill on the Little Gunpowder Falls. This mill was on the south bank (Baltimore County), approximately two miles above Joppa Town and a mile below the Jericho Merchant Mill on the old Bel Air-Joppa Rolling Road, a site now called Franklinville. This mill was first known as the Lower Jericho County Mill and later as Gwin's Custom Grist Mill. The mill was described as having "two levels of full stone and a third of stoned gabled ends. It was 38 feet long by 28 feet in breadth, and had two water wheels, one pair of French Burr stones, one set of Cologne stones, one pair of County stones, with bolting cloths, rolling screens, and works of all sorts necessary for the manufacturing of wheat in the neatest and best manner."{44}

Isaiah, on April 7, 1774, leased his new Lower Jericho Custom Mill to Quaker Elisha Tyson of Philadelphia. Elisha Tyson subleased the mill to miller John Thomas, who then sub-leased to miller William Gwin.{45} By late 1781, a bitter feud was raging between Elisha Tyson and William Gwin over the ownership of the lease of Gwin's Custom Mill.{46} This dispute was resolved when Sarah Linton, the widow of Isaiah, on February 25, 1782, sold the Lower Jericho County Mill and Mill Seat, containing 70 acres, to William Gwin.{47} In 1786, Isaiah Linton's Lower Jericho Custom Mill, now known as, Gwin's Custom Mill was destroyed by a flash flood. The mill was then rebuilt by George Bond and William Gwin.{48} By the time of, the 1798 Particular Tax List, records show this mill was "in much disrepair and laying useless.{49} Today all that remains of Isaiah Linton's Lower Jericho Custom Mill, now known as Franklinville, is four rows of iron rods, driven into the bedrock of the river, which held in place the heavy timbers of the 16- foot-high mill dam across the Little Gunpowder Falls. The massive, 10 by 10- foot, 16 foot high, stone pillars of the head race gate and the 10-foot high and 250-foot long stone wall of the head race are still visible from the Jericho road as it enters Franklinville.

By the year 1773, the year of the Boston Tea Party, with the American Revolutionary War close at hand, 34-year-old Isaiah had established himself as an influential and prominent elder of the Gunpowder Meeting of the Society of Friends. The same year, 1773, Isaiah was elected elder of the Lease and Building Committee of the Little Gunpowder Falls Preparative Meeting, known as the Patapsco Forest Meeting. This meeting house was located in a small log cabin, still standing today, high on the buff overlooking the Lower Jericho Custom Mill. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, despite their Quaker beliefs, Isaiah Linton, David Lee, Gittings Wilson, John Kidd, James Wood, Nathan Bond, and blacksmith Edward Connard started manufacturing black walnut gunstocks and assembling flintlock muskets for the Maryland Militia. This was done in the two-story stone building, still standing, behind Lee's Merchant Mill. They were charged by the Gunpowder Quaker Meeting elders with "learning the art of war," and the elders noted, "we think it our duty to testify against all carnal war and bloodshed."{50}

By 1773, Onion's Iron Works was almost nonproductive and losing money. Isaiah, looking for ways to expand his thriving milling and sawing business, once again met with Zacheus Barrett Onion. Isaiah convinced Onion that his mill lot seat could be turned into a valuable and profitable milling business. As a result of this meeting, Isaiah agreed to sell the remaining term of his lease of Onion's Forge Mill, back to Onion; Onion agreed to sell this lease to the Lee & Paul Milling Partnership; Isaiah agreed to relocate Onion's Forge Saw Mill across the "Falls"; Isaiah agreed to erect, and then lease, two new large and commodious stone merchant mills, for Onion; and "said millwright, Isaiah Linton agreed that Onion was to have full liberty of Onion's Fishery". {51}

By mid-1773, Isaiah had erected his sixth mill on the Little Gunpowder Falls by dismantling Onion's Forge Saw Mill and re-erecting it across the Falls on the south bank (Baltimore County) near Onion's Upper Forge and the Upper Dam. Under their agreement, Onion was "to have use of said new saw mill, when not in use by Isaiah, for the cutting of scantling, planks, timbers, and other necessaries for the said grist mill erected, and to be erected, and for other buildings and repairs on the said premises of the mill seat."{52} This saw mill was later known as Onion's Merchant Saw Mill, located on The Great Road (Maryland State Route 7), where it crossed Little Gunpowder Falls. This saw mill was described as a location where "from the doors of the saw mill, scantling, planks, and timbers could be loaded onto a large batteaux or a scow lying in the river, for shipment to Joppa Town."{53}

On April 29, 1773, Isaiah Linton and Zacheus Barrett Onion signed an agreement stating that "said, Millwright, Isaiah Linton shall and will within the space of one year from said date hereof, at his own proper cost, and charges, erect and build or cause to be erected and built, a new large and commodious water grist mill, on the said premises of Onion's Mill Seat Lot, and adjoining the well known Onion's Iron Works; said mill, shall be of stone, 48 feet long and 34 feet in breadth, at the least two stories high, first story of the height of 9 feet, and the second story of the height of 9 feet, at the least; in a skillful, good, strong, substantial, and workmanlike manner, of good stone, and cemented with good lime mortar, and put a good brown coat of lime hair, and so-forth, on all the insides walls; and shall provide for the same, a well and sufficiently covered roof with good wooden shingles, and good floors put therein; and also, put to the said grist mill two new water wheels, two new sets of running gears, and all iron and other works necessary; and shall also, provide and find for the same, one pair of good new French Burr Stones, and one pair of good new County Stones; and also, shall provide and find for the same, good and sufficient bolting cloths, fit for a merchant mill, and find for the same, in the usual manner, have hung and enclosed in the bolting chest, with geared to go by water; and the whole water grist mill completed fit for a merchant mill."{54} This same basic agreement was recorded many times at later dates when this mill or other mills were leased or sub-leased to different millers, with only the names of the new mill lessees being changed each time. But it gives today's researcher the opportunity to credit the erection of this mill or other Onion mills to later millwrights or millers, while in fact, they were merely leasing or subleasing an existing mill.{55}

Isaiah Linton selected a mill site for his seventh mill on the west side of the Great Road (Maryland State Route 7) below Onion's Forge Grist Mill near the furnace and pot house. Isaiah noted that, "by using the existing races" he needed "only raise the heavily timbered Upper Dam one foot to achieve the Head required to power the new mill."{56}Also, this mill site provided "sufficient river water for a large batteaux or a scow to lie at the mill doors and there take in a load, of 200 barrels of flour where she may deliver the load within three-quarters-of-a-mile to as large a bay craft as sails from the city of Joppa."{57} This dual powered water-wheel, stone mill was first known as Onion's Merchant Mill; later as Onion's Upper Merchant Mill; then Paul's Merchant Mill; Dallam's Merchant Mill; Hoskin's Mill, and lastly as the Scott & McCoukey Mill. This stone merchant mill, built by Isaiah Linton, was in continuous operation well into the late 1800's.{58}

Isaiah, needing cash to erect these three mills for Onion, on April 7, 1774, subleased his newly completed Onion's Upper Merchant Mill to the Lee & Paul Milling Partnership. On October 7, 1774, Isaiah mortgaged his prosperous Upper Jericho Merchant Mill to Elisha Tyson for 3,000 pounds, with the obligation of repaying only 1,500 pounds back to Tyson. Then on December 16, 1774, Isaiah sold his Lower Jericho Saw Mill and Seat, containing 35 acres, and his 250-acre Jericho Plantation to Isaac Tyson, a yeoman, of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, for 800 pounds.{59}

With the sale of his Jericho Dwelling House, Isaiah Linton leased from Onion a large stone dwelling house. This house had a stable in front, two smaller houses in back, an adjoining one-quarter-acre garden, and a 20-acre pasture. The house was located on the Great Road (Maryland State Route 7) next to Onion's Mill Lot Seat in Harford County. {60} This same stone house was later leased to Edward Connard, Isaiah's brother-in-law, who turned it into an inn.{61}

On December 31, 1774, Isaiah suffered a great loss, with the death of his older brother, Jacob Linton, Jacob was a weaver by trade. Jacob who had moved down to the Quaker settlement of Gunpowder Falls in 1771. Jacob Linton lived in what was known later as the Jericho Merchant Mill's millers house. The stone dwelling is located approximately 100 feet north of the Jericho Merchant Mill and Isaiah's stone Jericho Dwelling House. This 2½ story, stone, house is still standing today, and known now as Jubilee, on Jericho Road, across from Jericho Farm. David Lee, miller, had lived on Jacob Linton's plantation in Wrightstown Township before moving to Little Gunpowder Falls with Isaiah.

By the spring of 1775, Isaiah had completed his third mill for Onion, his eighth and final mill. This 2 ½ story, stone mill was 48 feet long and 38 feet wide. This mill was located down the Falls, on the east side and the north bank (Harford County) where the Philadelphia-Baltimore road crossed Little Gunpowder Falls (The Great Road, Maryland State Route 7). The mill was first known as Onion's Lower Merchant Mill; then as the Mexico Merchant Mill; Hollingsworth's Mill; Diver's Mill; Cook's Mill; Day's Mill, and lastly as the Dieter Grist Mill. It was in continuous operation until the late 1800's.{62}

The four mills that Isaiah erected and repaired for Onion prospered for years and had a prominent role in the history of Joppa Town and Harford and Baltimore Counties. There were numerous legends and historical occurrences involving these mills during the Revolution and the Civil War. But Isaiah Linton, millwright and miller operated them for but a short time. The vine and bramble-covered foundations and mill races are all that remain of these Onion mills today.

Isaiah Linton was seriously injured sometime in 1775, during the erection of Onion's Lower Merchant Mill. His accident was later described in detail to the Newtown Township Orphan's Court in Bucks County by his younger brother, William Linton. In 1777, William wrote that Isaiah was "seriously injured in a milling accident, while raising a runner stone, with block and fall, to the first story of the mill, when the timber gave way at the hood, and his left leg was crushed by the stone. There were only children assisting at the time, and the Elders had to be summoned from the fields to roll the stone off, which was embedded on its edge." Isaiah's "left leg was removed" and he "lost the sight from his left eye" and was later "aided by a peg."{63}

By the end of 1775, the weakening, 36-year-old Isaiah Linton was trying to get all of his business matters in order. On November 22, 1775, he was elected, once again, as the elder of the Lease and Building Committee of the Little Gunpowder Falls Preparative Monthly Meeting of Friends.{64} Two days later Isaiah "being weak of body", traveled to the near by home of Justice of the Peace, John Beale Howard in Joppa Town. At this meeting, Isaiah left with Howard the following papers for recording: the sublease of Onion's Upper Merchant Mill, to Elisha Tyson; the bill of sale of the Jericho Saw Mill, to Elisha Tyson; the mortgage bond of the Jericho Merchant Mill to Isaac Tyson; and Onion's mill leases to Isaiah.{65}

On November 26, 1775, millwright Isaiah Linton died suddenly from "complications received in a milling accident." William Linton was appointed administrator of Isaiah's estate and guardian of his five small children. In February, 1776, Isaiah's widow Sarah and her children moved back to Isaiah's plantation in Bucks County. As administrator, William put Isaiah's remaining lease terms up for sale at public auction. Over the next ten years, William disposed of and settled all of Isaiah's lands, mills, and mill leases, both in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Even though Isaiah Linton lived only 36 years, he left a legacy of involvement in the revitalization of Joppa Town. He also left 18 known mills, one known iron works, and numerous dwellings and outbuildings. Some 234 years later, two of the mills and many dwellings and outbuildings still stand as testimony to the engineering ability of Isaiah Linton of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore and Harford Counties, Maryland.

Endnotes:

1. Interview, Jerome Lamprect, historic engineer, December 24, 1985, Maryland Historical Trust State Historic Site Inventory Form, No. HA43; Jerusalem Mill Site Report; Gunpowder Falls State Park. Maryland.

2. William Comfort, Frederick Tolles, and Edwin Bronner. The Quaker: A Brief Account of Their Influence on Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Historical Association, University Park, 1986, pp. 5-13.

3. Watson Atkinson, Collection of Correspondence & Documents, File No. 288, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

4. Bucks County Deeds, Book No.4, pp. 382-84, Bucks County Court Records, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania .

5. Day, History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1843: reprint, Southwest Pennsylvania Genealogical Services; pp., 146-158, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

6. Newtown Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Records, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

7. William Comfort, Frederick Tolles, and Edwin Bronner. The Quaker: A Brief Account of Their Influence on Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Historical Association, University Park, 1986, pp. 5-13.

8. Newtown Library Company, Collection of Documents, File No., 41. Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

9. Will Inventory Records, Book No., 124, pp., 68-72, Probate Records, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

10. George MacReynolds, Place Names in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Doylestown, Pennsylvania: Bucks County Historical Society. 1976; pp., 206-209.

11. Watson Atkinson, Collection of Correspondence & Documents, File No. 288, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

12. Newtown Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Records, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

13. Wrightstown Friends Monthly Meeting Minutes, Vol. II, 1734-1790, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

14. James Wilson, Business Papers, Vol. 8., Special Collections, Documents Room, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

15. James Wilson, Business Papers, Vol. 9, Special Collections, Documents Room, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

16. Edward Reynolds, Plow Tills Fields of Vanished Joppa Town, manuscript, pp., 3; Maryland Historical Society, Museum and Library of Maryland History, Baltimore, Maryland.

17. Maryland Gazette, August 17, 1769; Maryland Historical Society, Museum and Library of Maryland History, Baltimore, Maryland.

18. Newtown Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Record, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

19. Newtown Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Record, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

20. Bucks County Tax Levy Records, Vol., 1693-1778, Bucks County Court Tax Records, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

21. James Wilson, Business Papers, Vol. 9., Special Collections, Documents Room, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

22. Land Patents, AL No. A, pp., 554, Rent Rolls 1639-1775, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

23. Baltimore County Assessment Book, 1767-1773, Debt Books 1733-1776, Mary Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

24. Baltimore County Deeds, AL No. 0., pp., 595-603, General Land Records 1659-1800., Mary Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

25. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, February 12, 1782, pp., 3., Maryland Historical Society, Museum and Library of Maryland History, Baltimore, Maryland.

26. George MacReynolds, Place Names in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Doylestown, Pennsylvania: Bucks County Historical Society. 1976; pp., 208.

27. Baltimore County Assessment Books, 1767-1773, Debt Books 1733-1776, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

28. James Wilson, Business Papers, Vol. 9., Special Collections, Documents Room, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

29. Census of Manufactures, Harford County, 1880, Research Room, Maryland State Library, Baltimore, Maryland.

30. James Wilson, Personal Correspondence Papers, Vol. 22, Bond, Special Collections, Documents Room, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

31. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, February 12, 1782, pp., 3., Miscellaneous Microfiche Files, Special Collection, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

32. James Wilson, Personal Correspondence Papers, Vol. 22, Bond, Special Collections, Documents Room, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

33. James Wilson, Personal Correspondence Papers, Vol. 22, Bond, Special Collections, Documents Room, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

34. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, February 12, 1782, p. 3. Maryland Historical Society, Museum and Library of Maryland History, Baltimore, Maryland.

35. William B. Marye, Place Names of Baltimore and Harford Counties, Maryland, Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol 53 (March 1958); pp., 49-50. Maryland Historical Society, Museum and Library of Maryland History, Baltimore, Maryland.

36. Gunpowder Falls Friends Preparative Meeting Minutes, Vol. II, Miscellaneous Microfiche Files, Special Collection, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

37. Linton Files, Collection of Correspondence & Documents, File No. 1008, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

38. Newtown Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Record, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

39. Maryland Chancery Court Proceedings, 1785-1851 Book 19, pp. 22-468, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

40. Interview, Jerome Lamprecht, December 24, 1985. Maryland Historical Trust State Historic Site Inventory Form, No. HA43., Jerusalem Mill Site Report., Gunpowder Falls State Park.

41. Maryland Historical Trust State Historic Site Inventory Form, No. HA43. Jerusalem Mill Site Report. Gunpowder Falls State Park.

42. Newtown Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Record, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

43. Baltimore County Deeds, AL No. E, pp. 383-386, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

44. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, February 12, 1782, pp., 3. Miscellaneous Microfiche Files, Special Collection, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

45. Newtown Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Record, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

46. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, various dates. Miscellaneous Microfiche Files, Special Collection, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

47. Baltimore County Deeds, WG No. H, pp. 127-128, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

48. Place Names of Baltimore and Harford Counties, Maryland, MHM, Vol 53: pp., 49-55. Maryland Historical Society, Museum and Library of Maryland History, Baltimore, Maryland.

49. Place Names of Baltimore and Harford Counties, Maryland, MHM, Vol 53: pp., 49-55. Maryland Historical Society, Museum and Library of Maryland History, Baltimore, Maryland

50. Gunpowder Falls Friends Preparative Meeting Minutes, Vol. II, Miscellaneous Microfiche Files, Special Collection, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

51. Maryland Chancery Court Proceedings, Book 19, pp. 63-66, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland..

52. Maryland Chancery Court Proceedings, Book 19, pp. 63-66, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland..

53. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, January 23, 1784. Miscellaneous Microfiche Files, Special Collection, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

54. Maryland Chancery Court Proceedings, Book 19, pp. 219-225, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland..

55. Maryland Chancery Court Proceedings, Book 19, pp. pp. 22-468, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland..

56. Linton, Collection of Correspondence & Documents, File No. 1008, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

57. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, January 23, 1784, Miscellaneous Microfiche Files, Special Collection, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

58. Harford County deeds, various dates, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

59. Baltimore County Deeds, AL No. M, pp. 478-482, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

60. Maryland Chancery Court Proceedings, Book 19, pp. 222-223, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

61. Maryland Chancery Court Proceedings, Book 19, pp. 222-223, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

62. Harford County deeds, various dates, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

63. Newton Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Record, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

64. Gunpowder Falls Friends Preparative Meeting Minutes, Vol. II, Miscellaneous Microfiche Files, Special Collection, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland.

65. Newtown Orphans' Court Proceedings, 1776-90, File No. 4503, Bucks County Court Record, Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

 

By Terry Louis Linton © 1986

Linton Research Fund Inc., Publication © 1987

Linton & Bird Chronicles Volume II, Issue 2, Spring © 2007 ISSN 1941-3521 

All Rights Reserved

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Editors Note: This 1986 brief historical sketch of Quaker Master Millwright Isaiah Linton 1739-1775 was results of 18 years of research on Isaiah Linton, from 1968 to 1986, and the bases of the following published articles on Isaiah Linton: The Forgotten Millwright, Isaiah Linton (1739-1775), (Terry L. Linton, © 1987.) (Linton Research Fund, Inc., 1987) printed in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, USA; New Hope For Maryland's Jerusalem Mill , article, Terry L. Linton, (Copyright The Publication of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills, © 1987.) (ISSN 0276-3338.) published in (Old Mill News. Vol. XV, No. 3. Whole Number 60. Summer, 1987; pp 10.); The Forgotten Millwright, Isaiah Linton (1739-1775), article, Terry L. Linton, (Copyright, The Publication of the Baltimore County Historical Society, © 1988.) (ISSN 0889-6186.) Published in (History Trails. Vol. 23. Whole Number 1 & 2. Autumn 1988- Winter 1989; pp 1-6.)

With another additional twenty-one years of research, from 1986 to 2007, on Isaiah Linton's Quaker way of life; water grist mills & saw mills;  ironworks repairs; and personal life, the Linton Research Fund Inc., is in the process of publishing the new book Isaiah Linton (1739-1775) Quaker Master Millwright of Bucks County Pennsylvania and Baltimore & Harford Counties Maryland (Ancestors & Descendants) 

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Master Millwright, Isaiah Linton's Jerusalem Mill Web Site

Jerusalem Mill Village Web Site

The Society for the Preservation of old mills (SPOOM)

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