Ole Stewart's Corn Mill
STORY OF THE QUILT SQUARE THE “'OLE STEWART'S CORN
MILL" –COATS NC BY COATS EXTENSION QUILT, 1989
The "Ole Stewart's Corn Mill" Coats, N. C.
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
from allover Harnett County brought wheat and corn to the mill to be
ground for staples for their tables.
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.
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.
World War II, Keith Wayne Stewart and Laverne Stewart, Henry's sons came
home to help their daddy run the "ole mill".
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.).
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
Dr. Roberts died in an airplane crash, Henry paid
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.
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.
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.
For: Coats Extension Homemakers Club
6, Number 30
Applique: Mary Langdon
Coats Extension Homemakers Club