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Smith Treadwell

This report focuses on the Smith Treadwell who built the impressive gristmill at the Conasauga River around 1870. Without a doubt, this was one of the most impressive structures ever built in Murray County. This man's father was also named Smith Treadwell. He names a son Smith Treadwell; this youngster was listed in the 1870 Census, living at home, working in a gristmill.

The man who built the mill was born in Georgia March 4, 1818. His father, also named Smith Treadwell, was born in North Carolina.

The mill builder came to Murray from Henry County, Georgia very early in 1838. He bought land in Murray that year.

On October 8, 1840, Smith Treadwell married Mary Polly Mobley. Her parents were Peyton and Susannah (Hill) Mobley. The family came to Georgia from South Carolina. The 1850 Census listed the Mobley family living in Murray County as: Peyton Mobley, age 62; Susannah Mobley, age 56; Elizabeth Mobley, age 24; Ledford C. Mobley, age 22; Barnabas R. Mobley, age 18; and Charlotte J. Mobley, age 13.

The Smith Treadwell household was listed in the 1850 Census as: Smith Treadwell, age 32; Mary M. Treadwell, age 32; Mary Ann L. Treadwell, age 8; Susan Treadwell, age 6; Rachel F. Treadwell, age 5; John Treadwell, age 4; and Martha E. Treadwell, age 2. They were living then in Murray County.

Smith Treadwell represented Georgia's 43rd District, consisting of Murray, Whitfield, and Gordon Counties, in the State Senate 1847-1858.

When the 1860 Census was taken the Smith Treadwell family was enumerated living in Whitfield County. The listing included Smith Treadwell, age 42; Elizabeth Treadwell, age 33; Rachel Treadwell, age 16; John Treadwell, age 14; Martha E. Treadwell, age 12; Smith Treadwell, age 10; Sarah J. Treadwell, age 5; Mahala E. Treadwell, age 3; and Lucinda E. Treadwell, age 1.

Smith's first wife, Mary Polly, died in 1852. On November 12, 1854, Smith married his first wife's sister, Nancy Ann Elizabeth Betsy Mobley.

The children listed above in the 1860 Census, starting with Sarah, age 5, were born to the second marriage.

During the War Between the States, Treadwell moved his family to a plantation he owned in Terrell County, Georgia. Once the war ended, he gave each of his former slaves a year's supply of food. He then returned to live in Murray County.

He built several gristmills, the most impressive being the one on the road from Spring Place to Dalton. The three storied wood structure had two undershot mill wheels, 20 feet high and 12 feet wide. In addition to grinding wheat into flour and corn into meal, this complex also was a cotton gin and a lumber mill which turned out dressed lumber and wood roofing shingles. The mill wheels were replaced with turbines in 1903 and the mill operated until the 1930s.

The mill ceased operation after unusually heavy rains overflowed the mill ponds, causing extensive damage to property downstream. Smith sold most of his property to pay for the damage claims. The building was torn down.

The 1870 Census indicated the family was again living in Murray County, at Spring Place. Three more children were listed for the family: Wm. P. Treadwell, age 9; Nancy A. Treadwell, age 6; and Stephen L. Treadwell, age 3. The son named Smith Treadwell was listed at age 18 and his occupation was working in a gristmill.

Smith Treadwell died at Spring Place, February 20, 1893. Nancy Ann died in 1905. Both were buried in the Treadwell Family Cemetery at Spring Place.


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