This BEN FRANKLIN SOCIETY Project is managed by Bob Radcliffe and is researching and field verifying the location of over 50 Grist Mills that once operated in Franklin County.

GPS ( Global Positioning System – Garmin) coordinates and GIS (Geographic Information System – ExpertGPS ) mapping are being used to create an county-wide inventory that will be shared with NC State Archives.

Nearly half of the researched sites have been field-verified and work is still underway. Initial site GPS coordinates, photography and field notes are being taken at this time.

Follow-up site visits will occur when we complete the initial screening inventory.

Use the following link to view a recent Franklin Times Newspaper Article written by Maury York about this Research Project:  Tar River Roots

Because there are stream path/road crossings at each location, eventually, these long-abandoned pathways will be accurately mapped to produce a County-wide overlay of historic transportation routes.

Once we have the pathways accurately located, additional archaeological work can ensue to locate long lost artifacts.

Dam on Lynch Creek above Whitaker Mill
Dam on Lynch Creek above Whitaker Mill


Whitaker Mill on Lynch Creek
Whitaker Mill on Lynch Creek

On December 11, 2018, Bob Radcliffe (on behalf of the BEN FRANKLIN SOCIETY ) completed filing our 1st Mill Site with NC OSA (North Carolina Office of State Archaeology).

A process has been approved by now Site Registrar, Rosemarie Blewitt-Golsch, for us to electronically transfer basic GPS data from our ExpertGPS GIS system using an exported .SHP file.

Additionally, we will provide a separate, formatted SITE REPORT .PDF file of supplemental information including: Map segments, Photography, Art Work and Reference Materials – to provide a richer description and context of each Site.

We will include a link to a redacted version of each Site Report as we formally file them with NC OSA on this website.