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On July 9, 2022, the Colonel James Wood II (CJWII), Sergeant Major John Champe (SMJC), and General Daniel Morgan (GDM) chapters of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution participated in Colonial Children’s Day of Clarke County, held at the Burwell-Morgan Mill, Millwood, Clarke, Virginia. It took place on Millwood Road, known as Old Highway 50 (the original hub in this part of the country), which dates back to colonial times. It is one of the oldest roads in this part of the country, used as the main route through Ashby’s Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

SAR participants, front row from left to right: Sean Carrigan, Thomas “Chip” Daniel, Will Reynolds, Dale Corey and Allan Phillips. Back row left to right: Mike St Jacques, Paul Parish, Paul Christensen, Barry Schwoerer, Ken Bonner, Richard Tyler and Marc Robinson. (Photo / Dale Corey)

In the early 1780s, General Daniel Morgan partnered with Colonel Nathaniel Burwell of Carter Hall to build this watermill in an area known as Millwood. Burwell was the financier and Morgan managed the construction. The project supervisor was LH Mongrul, whose initials and the date 1782 are carved into a stone in the mill wall.

Musket Squad firing a salute. (Photo / Michelle Phillips)

For the many years the business flourished, the mill was the center of community life where people gathered to socialize and chat while waiting for the miller to grind the grains they had brought with them. The mill is a two-story structure with a sloping basement and a first level of stone, topped by a second story and a framed attic, which was added in 1876. It is one of the only historic working mills in the country where the water wheel is located inside. The 20,000-pound wheel spins two 3,000-pound grinding stones to produce wheat, cornmeal and groats, just as it was done over 200 years ago.

DAR’s Anne Simmons getting ready for the event. (Photo / Chip Daniel)

The event was sponsored by the Clarke County Historical Association and allows young people to see what life was like in Virginia in the 18th century. Children were able to see the milling process and other colonial-era activities including sewing, spinning, blacksmithing, woodturning, crafts, games, and treasure hunts. The SAR provided presentations on musketry, color keeping procedures, flag folding, weaving on a ribbon loom (assisted by Elissa “Lis” Parish), games and painting, as well as CJWII Chapter Poster Contest Posters. As a demonstration, they provided a musket salute with safety procedures.

Sean Carrigan, Paul Christensen, Dale Corey, Thomas “Chip” Daniel, Allan Phillips, Will Reynolds, Marc Robinson, Mike St Jacques and Richard Tyler participated in the CJWII chapter. From SMJC were Ken Bonner and Barry Schwoerer and from GDM was Paul Parish. The DAR was represented by Michelle Phillips and Anne Simmons.

Joseph K. Bennett