Old Mill in Sciota
By Amy Leiser, Executive Director
Monroe County Historical Association
Along Business Route 209 in Hamilton Township stands a mill centuries old. Built by Jacob Brinker in 1730, this old mill was originally a log structure. By 1800, the mill had been replaced by the stone structure which stands today. Jacob Brinker and his mill played an early role in the shaping of America.
In June 1779, General John Sullivan was ordered to march north through Pennsylvania into New York to “subdue”and “punish” the Iroquois Indians. The Iroquois were at that time allies with the British and had organized various raids in the northern frontier against the new nation. Sullivan and his army of 2000 men began their march in Easton and after two days of marching reached Sciota and Brinker’s Mill.
Months before Sullivan’s arrival, the mill served as a storehouse, holding provisions for Sullivan’s Expedition upon its arrival. According to various journals owned by Sullivan’s officers, the mill was referred to as “Sullivan’s Store.” After supplying his troops, General Sullivan continued the mission into New York, but he did stop at Brinker’s mill on the return trip to Easton in October 1779.
Following the activity of the Sullivan Expedition, the mill returned to business as usual. By 1790, the mill was passed to John George Keller (founder of Kellersville) and then onto Barnet Fenner in 1800, who was responsible for the stonework seen today.
The 2½ story mill houses a large overshot wheel which was used to produce flour. Water from the McMichaels Creek provided power to turn the large wheel and grind corn to make various types of flour and feed. Two millers were needed to operate the mill.
By 1830, the Snyder family took over the mill and operated it over the next 100 years. Will Snyder was the last of the Snyder family to work the mill until he sold the building to Eugene Heller in 1954. Heller eventually sold the mill to Karl Hope. In 1974, Hope generously donated the mill to Hamilton Township with the understanding that the old structure would be used for “historical, cultural, and governmental purposes.”
The mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 13, 1976 and serves as a reminder of Monroe County’s diverse past.