The Mill

Jesse prepares to build the mill

Excerpt from The Legend of Jesse Halliday

Jesse had hoped to get started on the Mill in August of 1804. So much for that thought. Here it was – May 1806 – and Jesse finally had the pieces pulled together to begin construction. Starting a business is hard work. He had to design the mill, get funding for the mill, issue contracts for long-lead equipment. Everything took three times as long as he had estimated.

Saying he was impatient to get started was an understatement. He NEEDED to get started – and fast. He had bills to pay.

So, here he was with his horses and wagon, waiting to pick up the 5 foot diameter, sandstone millstone that would be the heart of his grist mill. His friends, and employees, Robert Caldwell and brothers William and Nathaniel Stanley, chatted casually – enjoying the warm sun. Jesse paced back and forth – fretting whether his wagon would be able to travel 60 miles of dirt roads and horse trails with a 3,000 pound load.

Finally, they were off. The weather cooperated. They reached Newton Falls, where their families awaited, in five days. Everything had gone as planned, but everybody knew the toughest leg of the journey was yet to come.

That night Jesse celebrated with his friends and their families. The talk focused on the future and the politics of the time. The Stanley brothers, who had an intense interest in Lewis and Clark mused how much they would have liked to be part of their expedition. Jesse expressed concern that Thomas Jefferson and Congress were overstepping common sense by prohibiting the importation of all British goods. Wouldn’t it make more sense to protect our ships by building a navy? Ruth Caldwell relished the company – entertaining her husband’s friends while making sure 18 month old Becca was fed and bathed.

The hour was getting late and the sun would come up early. Jesse proposed a toast: “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true. It’s time for a glass of dry red…”

Excerpts from The Legend of Jesse Halliday