Middlefield CT: The Industrial Revolution

A. M. Bailey & Company:

A little further down the river in 1845 Andrew Coe built a bone mill and a new dam. It was here A.M. Bailey worked for Coe before they formed their partnership. The mill ground bones into fertilizer and made bone buttons. In 1848 an addition was made to the building and the burning of bones for sugar refining was started. This lasted until 1854 when Russell Coe of Meriden purchased the mill. He sold the privilege to the Wringer Company around 1857.

In the name of A.M. Bailey and Co. Andrew Coe raised great sums of money. One night Coe took the money and headed to Canada. Mr. Bailey, unable to pay his creditors, lost everything. David Lyman II helped him. Mr. Lyman purchased his house, allowed him to live in it rent free and arranged a liberal repayment schedule. He gave him a cow and hired him to work in his gristmill: The Farmer's Milling Company. These acts of kindness created a friendship between the two men that lasted until David Lyman's death.

Down the River:

Further down the river a gristmill was set up. There is no date, but it is believed to have been around 1780. At the site a dam was built by Elihu Stow. Flour was milled and a sawmill was set up. It operated when there was enough run off from the swamp. Stow was a farmer who started his mill only when there were crops available to mill. A man of strong principles and character he opposed church taxes. His refusal to pay the church levy lead to the church selling his horse at auction. Known for his kindness to those in need, in the early 1800's during the Hussein fly blight which destroy Middlefield's wheat crop he stopped his work in the field to grind a peck of wheat for a poor family and threw in all the extra wheat (4 quarts) he could find in his mill. He also charged no toll for his labor. Later, a sawmill was run by Deacon Horace Skinner. Skinner did wood turnings. Roswell Lee ran a "Feed and Saw Mill" at the site. The location had a pipe which ran from the Farmer's Mi lling Company under the railroad tracks bringing water to the water wheel at the mill.

A gristmill, The Farmer's Milling Company, was built in 1845 on the left bank of the Beseck, west of the railroad tracks. A.M. Bailey; noted for his skill at sharpening stone, bolting (sifting) flour, and repairing machinery; was important to the companies success. The most prosperous mill in the state it was know far and wide for its outstanding work. The mill operated until 1868 when it was destroyed by a fire which left only the large water soaked water wheel standing.

In 1853 on the last privilege of the Beseck Albert Skinner built a wood turning mill. A raceway carried water to a small pond just west of the shop where it was stored until needed.

In Baileyville there were a few non-river developed business during the Industrial Revolution. On Way Road in the early 1800's Isacc Miller made tinware. He made teapots, pails, and pans and is credited with making the first hooded milk pail in the area. On Beseck Mountain Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur made a living making contraband whiskey know as mountain dew.