The Port Tobacco Great Mill was built by Edward Digges sometime before 1714 on a tract of land, owned by his cousin William Chandler, known as Chandler’s Hills. In 1714 Chandler leased the Mill to nephews, Edward and Henry Neale, then 10 and 11 years old respectively, for a period of 80 years. In separate transactions circa 1742 the Neale brothers transferred ownership of the lease to the Jesuits who operated the Mill until 1782 when Thomas Stone purchased the remainder of the original lease from Father James Walton. The Mill was operated by Stone and his heirs until 1827 when Stone’s heirs sold the Mill to William Morris who then sold to Hugh Cox. In 1849 Hugh Cox and his second wife gave the Mill, along with other properties known as Salem and seventeen slaves, to their youngest son, William. At some point, likely in the difficult times after the Civil War, the Mill fell into disrepair as William Cox’s fortunes fell. When William Cox and his wife mortgaged everything in 1885 the Mill was not listed as an asset. The land on which the Mill was located was sold to Mary and Adrian Posey. In 1949 Hillen and Laura Morgan bought the property. Today it is owned by Paula and Bob Sorrells. The Mill is noteworthy because of its early construction, the diversity and prominence of its owners and because it became literally lost in community memory until 2018.
Oil on canvas 24x36 inches