"History or Hearsay"
History or Hearsay
"History" is written record, found in books and texts.
History is a narration of (true) incidents, which is often in the form of
a narrative or story. From the Greek or Latin (historia) meaning learning
or knowing by inquiry. Today it may be defined as his-or-her-story. History
is divided up into the following forms:
(1) First-hand accounts. These are narratives written as the time the evens
happen. These are often first-person accounts such as diaries, newspaper
stories (the common form of media at the time of the event), books written
by people who witnessed the actual even happening.
(2) Second-hand accounts. These are written at a later date generally by
people who have not witness the events happening. It is the retelling of
history or the interpretation of it by eyes who were not actually there.
They often use first-hand or first-person accounts but may tell the event
within a larger context or bigger picture. New facts or information have
have come to light or have been learned by the passing of time that was
not know by individuals who actually witnessed the event.
(3) Third-hand accounts. These are oral accounts or family stories that
are most often passed down through generations as actual fact. However,
in the passing of time or by the word of mouth from one person to another,
the facts, truths, events, and other details often may get lost, while the
story is embellished with information that was not found in the original
telling of the story.
Often the above forms of telling history's story are stated as: First-person,
second-person, and third-person, not to be confused with the forms of interpretation.
There is no form of second-person living history or interpretation. However,
the above is basic to evaluation of information in the forming of National
Park Service Programs.
"Hearsay" is by word of mouth. It is what one hears or
has heard from someone, a report, a rumor, common talk, gossip. Hearsay
evidence is evidence not based upon the witness' direct knowledge but on
what he or she had hears others say. It is gossip more than any form of
actual history or eye witness events.
"Folklore" is traditional beliefs, custom, songs, tales,
etc., preserved in oral tradition among a group of people. Folklore is a
branch of knowledge that deals with these traditions. It is popular fantasy
or belief. Folklore can be divided into the following subjects: Folklore,
Folk Tradition, Urban Folklore. The major division of Popular Folklore Culture
are as follows:
(1) National folklore: Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac,, etc.
(directly from history, and 'favorite' national literature).
(2) Real life American folk heroes: Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett (the adventures
of Davy Crockett}, Leon Ray Livingston (the life and adventures of A-No.1),
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, etc.
(3) American tall-tales: Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Casey Jones, Johnny Appleseed,
and Pecos Bill, etc.
(4) Regional folklore: Catskill Mountains (Rip Van Winkle), Hudson River
(Sleepy Hollow), Smoky Mountains, Ozark Mountains (Vance Randolph's Pissing
in the Snow collection).
(5) Humor and joke (and joking) patterns: "Knock-knock whose there?"
"Confucius say," limericks, "dirty jokes" and their
implied sexual beliefs (example dumb blond jokes), traveling salesman jokes,
hobo jokes, and their implied values, and bragging jokes or "tall tales."
(6) Urban folklore ( the "hook," the workman's finger or the rat
in the coke bottle, "fart in the dark", "mystery young girl
hitchhiker," and other told around the campfire legends, etc.) These
stories are told and retold as if they really happened.
(7) Ethnic folklore (various Native American Indian beliefs - Indian identity),
European national beliefs transplanted & modified to the U.S.
(8) Common beliefs, myths, superstitions, and folkloric word origins: For
example, Placing your baby in the millstone hopper to prevent whooping cough,
Pennsylvania's hoop snakes, and the New Jersey's Jersey Devil.
"Lore" is knowledge, learning, what is taught, doctrine.
The body of traditional, popular, often anecdotal knowledge about a particular
subject: the lore of the mills, or milling lore. Learning.
"Folk-Lore," stories told by folks. Folk-Lore stories told
to little folk. A fairy tale are stories told about fairies, a fantastic
story, also, a lie. A fairy tale is a tale about fairies, or about a strange
incident, coincidence, marvelous progress, an unreal or incredible story,
a fabrication. A fairy story is a fairy tale, an unreal story.
"Tale" to talk, to speak, to gossip, to tell tales.
"Tall-tales" to take facts, events, people, places and
in the retelling of the story, stretch the facts to the point that an outlandish
story has been told. These are often taken as truth, along with urban folklore.
"Folklorist" one who studies and does research on the branch
of knowledge known as folklore.
"Molinologist" one who studies and does research on the
branch of knowledge of mills and milling. "Molinology"
is the study of mills and milling. "Molinography" is the
geographical study of the distribution of mills within a given area, for
example a county, state or country. John McGrain is the "molinographer"
for the state of Maryland and Baltimore County.
This is a lecture on "Traditional Milling Folklore."
by Theodore R. Hazen.
History is not kept in the past.............
It is lost in the future!
Linchester Flour Mills, Captain Frank Samuel Langrell (1887-1974).
Photo taken on September 8, 1974, when the mill and Mr. Langrell was honored
for "the oldest continuously operated private business in the country."
The Linchester mill on Maryland State Route 313, east of Preston where it
crosses Hunting Creek, was still in use as late as 1972 and running with
water power. The mill dates to at least 1681, and the first mention of the
mill was in 1680. However, the mill may actually date back to 1670. (1)
The mill known as the Hunting Creek Mill on a tract of land known as
"Margaret's Delight," and owned by Joseph Nichols, in 1730 a flood
washed away the Hunting Creek Mill. The mill was signed over to Doctor William
Murray, in November 10, 1731. The old mill was moved upstream to its present
location. In 1762, Dr. Murray gave the mill to his son David in his will.
In 1764, David Murray let the mill and a bake house to his brother James
Murray. Flour was shipped to Valley Forge from Colonel Murray's Mills. During
the American Revolution each man received a ration of "one pound of
flour or bread per man per day and one quart of Indian meal per wheel.
(2) The stories differ in the accounts of
the mill at 1670 and state that it was washed out and rebuilt. In some versions,
the mill was floated to its present location by a spring flood. (3)
Frank Langrell says that he heard a story of the dam floating down in a
flood to the present Linchester site, which he seems to think is a "tall
tale." Mr. Langrell said that the mill had always been located at its
present site in Linchester. Floods have picked up covered bridges intact
and floated them down stream, and in some cases they have been relocated
to their old or new abutments.
Is this history or hearsay? Is the story of the old mill floating away in
a spring flood history, folklore, hearsay, or just a tall tale? Old maps
may be proven wrong but show the mill in two different locations for different
dates in time.
Frank Langrell has the story that the mill elevator has been invented by
a slave who grew tied of carrying sacks of ground meal upstairs and string
together a chain of gourds to form an endless belt. A white man made off
with the idea as his won, and the mane of that villain had been handed down
to Mr. Langrell. Frank Langrell claimed to have heard heard of Oliver Evans
(who once had kept a general store in Nine Bridges or Bridgetown). The elevators
have not changed much since 1795, and consists of a series of cup-like scoops
attached to an endless moving belt. The belt travels inside of a wooden
enclosure or legs, and takes the contents to a bin on the mills upper floor
for cooling, sifting and storage. (4)
An interesting story from a man who was worked in several mills in a county
where Oliver Evans invented his elevator and hopper-boy, and had made paper
models of them while he and his brother owned a general store in Nine Bridge.
There are stories that Oliver Evans may have been inspired by Chain of Buckets
that was used to lift water from wells or mines, Chain Pump that was used
to lift water from hold of ships. This may be the only bit of folklore that
states the elevator was invented by a slave. slaves did work as helpers,
apprentices, and millers mill mills, and they would have more than likely,
made personal improvements to the mill and its internal machinery like so
many others have done. On the other hand, this may have been a satirical
way of getting back at Oliver Evans while he was alive. Mr. Evans won jury
cases against Baltimore millers. (5)
One of the oldest written piece of literature I have found about a mill
is a poem credited to the Antipator of Thessalonica and dated 85 B.C.
"Ye Maids who toiled so faithfully at the Mill
Now cease your work and from these toils be still;
Sleep now till dawn, and let the birds with glee
Sing to the ruddy morn from bush and tree;
For what your hands performed so long and true,
Ceres has charged the Water Nymphs to do.."
The word Millennium has the word Mill in it. Windmills were present in Persian
times, three Millennia ago. Water mills were present in Roman, Greek and
Armenian times, two Millennia ago. Tidal powered mills, boat or floating
mills, and windmills in Europe were present one Millennia ago. May the history
be written for the next Millennia also with the word "Mill,"
in it. This is histories for the Millennium.
If we rubbed two stones together then there would be less "corn"
about? "Moling it over." what is the earliest mention of
the name miller? It is St. Moling. Is this source of the word "Molinology"?
St. Moling's medieval Latin biographer said of him, that "He was a
poet, a teacher, a psalmist, a bishop, a soul friend, a noble. Nobly he
went unto the angelic resting place on the 17th of June 696, with choiring
of the household of heaven, in the eighty second year of his age."
His biographer never mentioned that he was also a famous miller, St. Moling.
He is remembered in folklore as having succeeded in milling furze (6),
bracken (7), apples, and nuts into rye
flour after a disastrous harvest. He is mentioned in may medieval manuscripts.
One of Ireland's most beautiful places is named after him, a tiny hamlet
on the banks of the Barrow. His name has been Anglicized as St. Mulling,
and the local people of the area revere him. His mill race and the remains
of the mill can still be seen. He really did exist and he was no mythical
personage. His gospel book is one of the treasures of Dublin Trinity College
Here are a few words of Moling:
"It's mildering," means that it's pouring rain (the Irish
never say "pouring with rain").
"Milder" is a milling term. It is the quantity of corn
ground at any one time in the mill.
The "milder" (in some areas (melder") has come
to mean a great flow, or flood, a large quantity of water, a deluge.
The phrase "dusty miller" said properly should really be
"dusty milder." It meant the last child born in a family.
The old Norse word "meldr" means flour or corn in a mill.
The miller called the great wooden tub into which the flour fell a "loodher."
The Vikings raided St. Mullins would have called this tub a "luhr,"
a flour bin. (9)
An expression used by mill folks (people who worked in mills) at wakes,
when a woman would pour out the whiskey might drown it with water. Then
one would say, "Easy, Mary, don't put out the miller's eye."
This particular phase has no reference to the eye of the miller, but probable
to that part of the machinery of a mill called the "mill-eye."
If by the inattention of the miller the grain flows too freely through the
hole in the bottom of the hopper, and thus fills the eye or opening of the
revolving runner millstone, and brings the machinery to a standstill. The
mill in other words, stalls. The eye of the millstone has becomes stopped
up or "put out."
The miller's eye also may be a hard little kernel found in porridge or bread
baking which had not been soften by the mill or water used in its making.
To put out the eye would require even more liquid, and that is why people
would those who would drown good whiskey don't to put out the miller's eye
with too much water.
A man who could lie with great fluency is said to "lie like a mill
shilling." The "mill shilling" being the shelled
grain with runs out of the mill-eye. The grain will escape the shilling
as in reference to the black-sheep found in a good family.
A "mill story" is a bit of dubious gossip.
A "mill clapper" is a piece of timber that struck and shook
the shoe of the mill, so that it "yapped like a mill clapper"
was used to refer as a person who talked too much. It was shortened simply
to "mill clap."
"Killed off by the conglomerates" is someone who died because
of working in a mill from the dust of grinding flour and meal.
In one's prayers at night, you might ask god to protect you from the dangers
of the mill, but then ask St. Moling to protect you from your own friends.
The word "molinology" may come from the Latin word, "molina"
The term for "mill," which may have come from Latin "molina"
would have came about the same time as St. Moling. "Molinology"
is a recent borrowing of the term, "molinary," and "molinology."
(10) The words "mill"
and "miller" are often found in the traditional proverbs,
folk song, and tale as well as in literary works.
The words, "miller" and "miller" are like
the chicken and egg problem, which came first.It must have come from the
word, "meal." Before we had the word, "milling,"
we have the word, "mealing," and "meal-man."
The word, "mealing," meant to "meal" or
what we refer to today as "mill."
The old proverb: "No miller, no mill; no meal." which is
also stated, "No mill, No meal; no will, no deal," a Greek-Roman
proverb. So the word, "mill" is a derivative of a more basic word,
"meal." The word, "meal" means to rub
or to grind. The Latin word, "molina," means to "mill."
As the Roman methods of milling technology moved northerly into Europe,
they also borrowed the word for the name of the machine, "a molina."
You find compounds of the word mill, with other words such as millstone,
mill dam, mill race, mill house, and mill wheel. Others words have entered
our language as well, such as melt, mild, mildew, molar, mollify, malt,
and mulch. In the 1200's you have the word, "meal maker"
rather than the word, "miller." The word, "mill
wright" is also a recent word in the last several hundred years.
The Domesday book, a survey completed in 1086 (after a six year study) mentions
5,624 mills. Generally it means water mills, because the agreed upon first
reference to an English windmill, is dated as 1191. Of the 9,250 manors
recorded, 3,463 were also mill sites. (11)
This is important information because it refers to the "Lord
of the mill." and "sokes rights." (12)
Basically this means that the word "meal" is an ancient
word, and the word, "mill" comes from Northern Europe,
resulting from the Roman technological impact in the milling process. The
word, "miller" is an even later word. But the word entered
early enough to have found its way into history as folklore and legend.
"Mill Speak" or Sayings: One children's version of the
"Jolly Miller" goes, "he crushed a flea upon a stone
and there he let him be........" Is there any other sayings in literature,
legend or folklore about the trade of milling?
The following are some common mill proverbs
"No mill, no meal." The Greeks and Romans spoke of this
proverb, with the meaning that he who will not work shall not eat. "No
mill, no meal; no will, no deal," in other words, "where
there is a will, there is a way." If there is no meal, there is
no meal. If you can't make a deal with the miller to have your meal ground,
their is no meal. They are all interconnected in "where there is
a will, there is a way."
"The mill cannot grind with water that is past." Once it
is gone, it is gone for good.
"Who comes first to the mill, first must grind." This proverb
began as law in Saxony, in the year 1220. It entered Sweden in the 17th
century and became the "priority proverb." In English the counterpart
is "First come, first served." In Chaucer the Wife of Bath
reminisces how she controls her first four husbands, but "Who so
ever comes first to the mill, first grind." In America, this became
"You must wait your turn."
"Wait your turn," or "waiting your turn,"
was more than likely the business of the day at Anderson's Mill. This comes
from a time long ago when people took a "turn" of corn (thrown
over a horse's back) to the mill. A "turn" of corn was
a partly filled sack of grain that could be easily carried over the shoulder
or on a horse's back. "Waiting your turn" was to wait for your
grain to be ground. People were told to "wait their turn" or "wait
for their turn," by being told when to come back and picked up their
finished ground grain. At times it may be several hours, later that day
or the next. At times people camped out or slept in the miller's house waiting
for their grain to be ground.
"Much water runs while the miller sleeps." This is popular
today, it means water over the dam.
"Every miller draws water to his own mill." This means
that millers were adept at looking after their own interests.
"He that would have honey must have bees, and he that would have
eggs must endure the cackling of hens." This is an observation
about unpleasant things, and what you must put up with to get good things.
Much like the Wife of Bath, thinking about her husbands and how to threat
them, nothing to do with grinding corn in a mill.
"Like the miller's mare." This awkward, since millers ware
not good horseman. You could always tell a miller's mare, because it more
than likely had rickets, because of the large amount of bran the mill put
into its diet.
"The miller's boy said so." This is common knowledge, everyone
knows it to be true.
"To carry a millstone about one's neck." This has religious
meanings and to be dependent upon a burden in life, a curse or a habit.
"Safe as a thief in a mill." This means that a thief could
easily hide within the mill because the miller is the biggest thief of all.
An epitaph in a Essex churchyard, marks the grave of a miller, whose name
was Strange, that reads: "Here lies an honest miller, And that is
"Many a miller, many a thief." The proverbial dishonesty
of all millers.
"What is bolder than a miller's neck-cloth, which takes a thief
by the throat each morning." English proverb.
"As stout as a miller's waistcoat, that takes a thief by the throat
every day." German proverb.
"When heather-bells grow cockle-shells, the miller and the priest
will forgive themselves." Scottish proverb.
"Put a miller, a weaver, and a tailor in a bag, and shake them;
the first that comes out will be a thief." The miller is associated
with other dishonest members of the community. Instead of the priest or
in addition to him, their is also a lawyer and a rogue.
"Fair to middlin" is an answer when someone is asked how
they are feeling. Fair means fine flour and middlin or middlings is the
mediocre grade of flour. The saying means that your are not doing real good
or really bad, but somewhere in the middle.
"Back to the old grind," This refers to what the miller
has been doing. To get back to work.. It is always the same old grind, no
matter how you look at it. The only saving grace is once you set the millstones,
they will grind the same all day interrupted and without changes as long
as they get the same amount of water and grain.
"Run of the mill," or "run though the mill."
Run of the mill is the product and process of the milling operation. What
is run through the mill, this product is often labeled as "mill run."
The term "mill run" refers to what a mill grinds, can or has ground.
It can also refer to some one who looks tired, as if they look like they
have been run though the machinery and the milling process of the mill.
"The miller got never better moulter (toll) than he took with his
own hands." Again the miller is the biggest thief of all in the
"It is good to be sure; toll it again, quoth the miller."
Another version is, "It is good to be sure, quoth the miller, when
he moultered twice." This idea or belief is found in Chaucer and
in popular folk songs. The poor miller has a forgetful mind and can't remember
if he took the toll, so he does it again to make sure.
"We know he stolen corn and tolls twice." from Canterbury
Tales by Chaucer.
"And yet he has a thumb of gold." A proverb from Chaucer
referring to the proverb about the miller who tolls more than once just
to make sure. The miller not only has a thumb skilled in testing meal and
flour, but more important it was self-aggrandizing, giving false weight
and measure. There is a folk tale of the double cheating miller who confesses,
when challenged, that he has an oversized toll measure, and agrees to get
a smaller one. The miller then measures back the flour from the bin (the
miller's ark, into which he deposits his multure), but using the smaller
scoop. The miller is suitable at home at stealing. These proverbs are for
the peasant who has just been relieved of a fairly hefty portion of their
grain and flour by the dishonest miller. Of course this was after visiting
the Lord's mill, as required by "soke rights" during the
late Middle Ages.
The toll or multure, is a charge for the service of grinding the grain (corn
in England, a generic term for all grains, mainly wheat). This was a sore
point in the eyes of the peasants about the infamy of the dishonest miller.
But is the poor miller entirely at fault? The toll was established by local
laws and custom. The peasants had to pay the toll to the miller and their
due to the Lord. If the Lord thought the peasants were not giving him is
just due. The Lord would instruct the miller (who rented the mill from the
Lord) to take more that what was required by law. The poor miller became
caught in the middle and figure, "I might as well take more for myself
as well." In the late 14th century, the Abbot of St. Albans, as Lord
of the church lands, fought with his tenants because their tired to break
his monopoly by grinding their grain at home using querns. It because law,
punishable by death if a quern was found in your possession. the Abbot enforced
the right and had his courtyard paved with these stones taken from the offenders
as a visible indication of his authority. In the Peasant's Revolt of 1381,
the peasants broke into the Abbot's room at night killing him, and taking
the quern stones back. They the townsmen destroyed the toll system that
lingered into the 19th century, and the monopoly of "soke rights"
imposed on those who lived in the Lord's manor.
In a medieval manor the miller was one of the most important persons. The
system of tolling was compulsory grinding at the Lord's mill, a structure
usually rented by the miller, who worked it as the only village capitalist.
It was not the due of any other craftsman of the village to make a profit.
Only the miller claimed more than his just due (or the exact cost of making
an item) for the services he provided. The miller was always suspect of
adding to his own grains and flour by stealing, frauds, and false practices,
and many restrictions were placed by law on his operations. The biggest
of which was miller could not form or join guilds, like the baker. It was
bad enough that the baker had stolen the costume of the miller, but he could
not join a guild which meant, he could not set up space in a public market
to sell his wares, and he could not decide what to make or set his own pricing.
The miller was forbidden to charge for grinding corn sent to him or give
worse for better. He was not to keep hong or more than three hens and a
cock. And gluttonous geese were especially forbidden.
There Once was a Jolly Miller who lived on River Dee.....
"And this the burden of his song
Forever used to be:
'I care for nobody, no not I
If no one cares for me." Isaac Bickerstaff 1780 This is perhaps why
the old miller of the River Dee say his song wistfully.
The surname "Miller" is the sixth most common surname in
the United States, after Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, and Jones, in
that order. The name "Miller" is sixth without including
of other similar common surnames, such as, Mills, Mueller, Mullin, Mullins,
Muller, Molina, Milton all derived form the medieval names meaning keeper
of the miller. In the 1790 census the name Miller was eighth. The sixth
and seventh most common surnames in the 18th century was Davis and Clark.
In Boston, Miller is eleventh, in Minneapolis, Millers are ninth. Millers
also are ninth in San Francisco, and in Milwaukee Millers are the third
most common surnames. In Chicago, Miller is seventh, and in New York, Miller
is sixth, the national average.
Other forms of "Miller" are Mueller, Muller, Moeller, Muller
(German), Moulin, Moulinier, Meunier, Molyneaux (French), Molnar (Hungarian),
Melnikov (Russian), Farina, Molinari (Italian), Molander (Swedish), and
so on. The miller did not have the trademark name of "Smith."
The "Miller's Thumb," is a type of bullhead fish.
The "Dusty Miller" is a type of botanical plant which appears
to be covered with flour dust, along with the "Miller's Moth."
who has dust or powdered wings.
The Story of the Brownie and the Fincastle Mill.
One of the classic stories is of the Fincastle Mill. It was so haunted no
one ever set foot in the mill after dark. This is the story of one girl
who dared to defend herself from a leering Brownie. (15)
I like to tell this story because, it reinforces the common beliefs,
myths, and superstitions in mill about water, and running water. The spirits
of the water and of the night are evil. The miller used this to keep people
away from the mill as night so he could continue to safeguard the secrets
of his craft. Traditionally people left their grain for the miller to grind,
went home or enjoyed the surrounding area while they waited to get their
grains ground. In this way, they never saw the mill operating, the miller
taking his toll, or any of the machinery ever taken apart. Knowledge and
understanding of how the mill operated was only passed down through the
apprentice system. Also in this way a miller who tended to be a bit dishonest
could do so without interference from his customers. The miller made up
false explanations for things, "Only I know the grain, your grain was
not as good this year, as it was last year. So this why you get to take
home much less this time." Meanwhile, the miller simple took more than
he did last time. The story is also a good story to tell to kids, and you
can do the voices of the girl and the brownie.
A young girl on the eve of her wedding day is baking her wedding cake, and
she runs out of flour. So she goes down to the mill to get some more flour,
but by the time she arrives at the mill the miller has gone home for the
day. The mill stands dark and silent, she has always heard stories of the
brownie who lives in the mill and protects the mill from harm. The young
girl desperately needs more flour for her wedding cake so she goes into
the mill in search of some ground flour. It is so dark in the mill that
she lights a fire in the mill's fireplace to see her way around. As the
fire begins to burn she swings the huge pot of water back over the fire
to get it out of the way. Then she begins to search the sacks standing on
end for ground flour for her wedding cake. The young girl looks into every
sack but all she can find in unground grain. So she decides that she must
start the mill and grind some wheat into flour if she is to have any this
night to make her wedding cake for tomorrow.
The young girl lifts up a sack of grain and pours it into the millstone
hopper. Then she pulls down on the gate arm that lets water onto the wheel.
Very soon the water wheel begins to turn and the gears in the mill's dark
basement also turn the millstones and soon flour begins flowing into the
bin. In a short time there is enough flour to sift it by hand into the other
bin. Usually the miller never works into the hours of darkness, and so the
young brownie that watches over the mill at night for the miller. The brownie,
with the face and looks only a mother brownie could love, goes about the
mill to see what is going on. He knows that the miller is not usually here
in the mill at this time of the night. Up stairs on the main floor of the
mill he finds a strange looking person. So he walks over to that person,
and asks her in his horrible sound voice, "Who are you?"
The young girl is almost frightened to death by this appearance of this
ugly brownie, but she is a fast thinker on her feet and out of the blue
she answers, "Me myself!"
The brownie is a most ugly creature that is mostly covered in all over with
hair instead of clothing. It has an ugly face with a big ugly noise and
long thin arms and fingers so it can reach into cracks and collect the miller's
mite for the miller.
Upon hearing the strange response, "Me myself!" The brownie had
to stopped to think. Perhaps I did not hear her correctly? Did I understand
her correctly? "Me myself," is a strange sounding name. Perhaps
I should ask this creature again what who are you? So the brownie gets a
bit closer to the young girl but not realizing that he is making her all
the more afraid again asks her in his best sounding horrible voice, "Who
The young girl is become more afraid for her life, and begins to back up
but she quickly answers the brownie again with, "Me myself!"
The brownie is now even more confused, what sort of name is "Me Myself?"
I think I may have mill water in my ears and just did not hear her correctly,
so I perhaps had better ask her once more who this creature is. So again
in the voice that sounds like iron spikes being yanked from wood, the brownie
asked the strange creature, "Who are you?"
By now the brownie has a hold of the gown of the young girl that she has
backed up almost into the fireplace. Then again she cried out, "Me
myself!" The brownie begins to shake his head back and forth. The young
girl turns and grabs the pot of water which by now is boiling and throws
it onto the brownie, who runs out of the mill screaming. The young brownie
runs all the way home streaming into the darkness of the night. He then
lays at home in his bed dying from his mortal wounds, as his mother tries
to comfort her dying son. The mother brownie asks him, "Who did this
to you my beloved son?"
As the son of the mother brownie lays in his bed slowly dying from his burns,
he answers his mother, "Me myself!"
Shortly afterwards the brownie dies. The young girl now has her flour for
her wedding cake and gets married the next day. Years pass by and the young
girl enjoys telling the story of how she forded the brownie on her wedding
eve, and got flour for her wedding cake. One day she was telling the story
once again to her friends, when the mother brownie (remember the mother
brownie?) was walking by an open window and over heard the young girl telling
the story once again that explained the killing her son. The mother brownie
was so outraged upon hearing that this strange looking person caused the
death of her beloved son that as she looked around she grabbed the first
thing she saw was a three legged stool. The mother brownie then tossed it
as hard as she could through the open window. It hit the young girl on the
head and killed her dead on the spot.
Question: So what does the story tell you?
Answers: Don't go around the mill at night or the brownie will get you.
You can't have your cake and eat it too! And sometimes there were lady millers,
miller's wives, or daughters who worked in mills.
Milling Folklore, part 2.
What is in Milling Folklore, part 2? The answer to the question,
"Why the Sea is Salty?" Answer: The Norwegian folk tales and legends.
"The Mill that grinds on the bottom of the sea." Appalachian milling
folklore, American Revolutionary War milling folk tales, regional milling
folklore (such as New England), mill folklore from inside of the mill. Weeding
out the incorrect: information, terms, understanding, and misconceptions
about mills and folklore.
Milling Folklore, part 3.
What is in Milling Folklore, part 3? Mill songs, and more mill proverbs,
and mill sayings. The miller and mill in traditional stories, literature,
poems, folklore and fairy tales. The importance of the tall tale, common
beliefs, myths, and superstitions in mill stories. Mills and famous Americans,
the miller and the community, and mill folklore of the water mill, wind
mill, and tidal powered mill. What to do for Halloween? There are plenty
of haunted mill stories.
Milling Folklore Program Rationale: Pick components out of each of
the three milling folklore parts to suite the age (grade level), interest,
theme, and focus of your particular program. Create an outline, then a lesson
plan, and finally a program narrative.
Books on Folklore.
(1) Swepson Earle's 1916 book, "Maryland's Colonial Eastern
Shore," where on page 164, the mill is dated to 1681 and states, "The
first mention of a mill at the site of the present Linchester is found in
the Dorchester Rent Roll where a survey of May 20, 1680 for Thomas Pattison
is described as being on Hunting Creek above the mill-dam." Marion
Nicholl Rawson in "Little Old Mills," page 55, stated that it
was "originally the property of Thomas Pattison." Information
from "Molinography of Maryland," by John W. McGrain, Maryland
(2) Edward M. Nobel, "History of Caroline County, from the Beginning,"
Federalsburg, Maryland, 1920, page 62, and "Langrell's Mill Linchester,
Maryland, circa 1670-1974," by Dorothy R. Davis, Ph.D., Preston, Maryland,
1974, page 1.
(3) Information from "Molinography of Maryland," by John
W. McGrain, Maryland State Archives, miscellaneous Linchester Mill notes,
of July 24, 1973.
(4) Information from "Molinography of Maryland," by John W.
McGrain, Maryland State Archives.
(5) Read the Chapter: "Collecting His Due," pages 52 to 59
of Eugene S. Ferguson, "Oliver Evans, Inventive Genius of the American
Industrial Revolution," Greenville, Delaware, Hagley Museum, 1980.
(6) Furze is a spiny evergreen shrub having many branches and yellow
(7) Bracken is coarse, hardy fern, with very large fronds, also called
a brake. A clump of such ferns.
(8) The Dictionary of English (DED) agrees.
(9) Vigfusson's Dictionary.
(10) "The Miller in Word and Story," by Holger Olof
Nygard, Eno, Volume 7, Special Issue, papers from the seminar on water mills
and windmills held in Durham, North Carolina, July 1878, in the Bicentennial
year of West Point on the Eno River, page 62.
(11) Leslie Syson, "British Water-Mills," London,
1965. Mr. Syson early chapters provides a great amount of information about
medieval mills and their traditions in England.
(12) "Feudal Laws and Customs," Volume 3, London,
1900, "History of Corn Milling," by Richard Bennett and
John Elton, 4 volumes, reprint Burt Franklin, New York, 1964, Research and
Source Works Series #74, reprinted in 4 volumes in the United Kingdom, by
Simpkin Marshall, 1989.
(13) Leslie Syson, "British Water-Mills," London,
(14) "The Miller in Word and Story," by Holger Olof
Nygard, Eno, Volume 7, Special Issue, papers from the seminar on water mills
and windmills held in Durham, North Carolina, July 1878, in the Bicentennial
year of West Point on the Eno River, page 72 and 73.
(15) Brian Froud (illustrator), and Alan Lee, with David Larkin (editor),
"Fairies," Bantam Books, New York, Peacock Press, Harry
N. Abrams,1978, Abrams Publishing, 1997. "Faeries: 25th Anniversary
Edition," Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2003.
Program's Source: Interpretive programs by Theodore R. Hazen,
Master Miller (mill operator), Millwright, Curator of Molinology, Site Supervisor,
and Lead Interpreter, Pierce Mill, Rock Creek Park, National Park Service,
National Capital Region, The Department of the Interior, 1984-1995, "Miller
Goose," "Milling Folklore," "Tales told
around the Pot Belly Stove," "Traditional Milling Folklore,"
and "The Mill-Story, its Lore told by Folks."
"Moling it over," by Diarmaid O. Muirithe, with acknowledgements
to "The Olie" of March 1988, Hampshire Mills Group Newsletter,
Number 42, Autumn, 1998, page 9.
"The Miller in Word and Story," by Holger Olof Nygard,
Eno, Volume 7, Special Issue, papers from the seminar on water mills and
windmills held in Durham, North Carolina, July 1878, in the Bicentennial
year of West Point on the Eno River, pages 61-73.
"Feudal Laws and Customs," Volume 3, London, 1900, "History
of Corn Milling," by Richard Bennett and John Elton, 4 volumes,
reprint Burt Franklin, New York, 1964, Research and Source Works Series
#74, reprinted in 4 volumes in the United Kingdom, by Simpkin Marshall,
"Grist Mills of Early America and Today," by Elmer E. Smith,
An Applied Arts Publication, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, various dates.
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