Ole Stewart's Corn Mill

History of the Quilt


Project Description

Evaluations of Accomplishments

Future Plans for the Project

Proposal Letter

Request to Commissioners

Biographies by Homemakers Clubs

Biographies by Friends of the Library


The "Ole Stewart's Corn Mill" Coats, N. C.

Mr. Henry Clay Stewart, (1885 -1958) owner and operator of the "ole" Coats grist or corn mill built the mill in approximately 1918. According to Alfred G. Stewart, Henry's brother, now living in Akron, Ohio, said, his daddy, Mr. C. D. Stewart, once principal of Coats School helped him build it. Alfred said, "it was real hard times" and Henry furnished the family of eleven with flour and meal. He also brought the family off the farm near Bailey's Cross Roads, and he built the house Reggie Parrish lives in for the family to live in.

Farmers from allover Harnett County brought wheat and corn to the mill to be ground for staples for their tables.

The mill according to Evangeline Stewart, daughter of H. C. Stewart, now living in Coats, consisted of 3 mills. There were only two way back then, but her daddy added a 3rd one. Three flat rocks called boulders were placed on top of a bed of rocks and the top one rotated by force from an electric motor, driven by pulleys and belts. Each mill had a little wheel attached to it that raised and lowered the top rock to make the corn meal grind. The rocks had to be whetted or sharpened, ever so often to make the corn meal grind right.

When people came to the mill, they wanted daddy to stop the mill and put their own grain D so that they could have their own meal from the grain they raised. Corn meal was ground and most of the time, the corn had to be shelled by an electric corn sheller.

After World War II, Keith Wayne Stewart and Laverne Stewart, Henry's sons came home to help their daddy run the "ole mill".

Henry died in 1958 and the mill became Mrs. Ella Myrtle Stewart's who was his wife. Keith and Laverne ran the mill for their mother from 1958 until she died in 1969. She was the former Myrtle Stewart, daughter of Lonnie and Nettie Stewart who ran and owned the old general store on main street in the town of Coats. (Myrtle was a Stewart before she married.).

After the death of their mother, Keith W. Stewart, Laverne Stewart, Klyce E. Stewart and Evangeline Stewart sons and daughter of Mrs. Stewart inherited the mill. Klyce and Evangeline signed their part of the mill over to their brothers, Keith and Laverne who ran the mill until 1978. The total job consisted of shelling, grinding and looking after the mill, sacking, tying, loading, and delivering the corn meal to surrounding towns. All this was done, by one or two men most of the time. Young men were hired by !,;1r. Henry C. Stewart to help him, but his sons did most of the work themselves. Laverne stayed at the mill and Keith was back and forth from home to the mill and kept the books. meal was delivered to surrounding towns. The route was Erwin, Dunn, East Erwin, South Erwin, Lillington, Angier, Buies Creek, Coats and Benson. Everybody said, "There is no meal like Stewart's meal, People carried the corn meal as far as California. The mill stands on the property that was owned by Dr. Harry Roberts. Dr. Roberts and Henry were friends and Dr. Roberts would go by the mill and Henry would say "Harry, how much do I owe you? Harry would reply, "awe Henry, just give me a bag of meal." Steve, Henry's grandson said that was "horse trading.”

After Dr. Roberts died in an airplane crash, Henry paid

Mrs. Edna Butler, Dr. Roberts wife, $25.00 a year for rent. This was all she charged. The rent was paid to Dr. Robert's grandson, the late Harry Roberts, named for his granddaddy. Haywood Roberts and Ophelia Roberts residents of Coats were parents of Harry.

Laverne Stewart took the rocks out of the mill and took it apart in 1978-79. He sold the bed rocks to House's Mill in Newton Grove. The flat or top rocks are still in the yard of Evangeline Stewart's house which was the house that Mr. Henry, her daddy, built just before Mrs. Ella Myrtle Stewart and he got married in 1923.

According to Evangeline it always seemed Holy to her for bread to be provided through her family. The old building still stands and was not torn down because the Bible states not to tear down old landmarks. The property, but not the building, belongs to Mrs. Lour Roberts, Harry's wife.

Written by: Evangeline Stewart

For: Coats Extension Homemakers Club

Quilt Square:Row 6, Number 30

Embroidery and Applique: Mary Langdon

Coats Extension Homemakers Club