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 NORTH MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY
 North Manchester, Indiana

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Source: North Manchester Journal, May 25, 1905

GRINDING OUT GOLD DUST
Sixty-six Years of Continuous Milling Business

A mill that grinds out gold dust at the rate of three barrels an hour would make a mining town swell up like a balloon and put on more airs than a hired girl who has married her rich employer. Yet there is such a mill in North Manchester, and every day it is busy grinding out this dust. It is the "Gold Dust" flour, that ranks away up with the very best, and that affords more enjoyment to the hungry man than would the real yellow dust.

This mill is probably the oldest business enterprise in this section of the country. It has been in continuous operation since in 1839, when Joseph Harter looked upon the water of Eel river and conceived the idea that it would be well to harness it to a mill to grind the grists of the few settlers who had cast their lots in this locality. The first dam was built a little below the present one, and piling from this old dam still mark the spot. About 1843 a new and larger mill was built there, this building being four stories in height and 40x45 feet in size, Asa Jacobs being the millwright. In addition to the grist grinding this mill was also a woolen and carding mill. As this it ran until shortly before the war, when the carding and woolen features were discarded, much of the woolen machinery being sold to Peru parties. Joseph Harter died in 1861 and after his death the mill was sold several times, first passing to Henry King, who in turn sold it to Thompson & Marshal. They sold it to Jacob Tilman who with his sons managed the mill for some time. Upon the death of Mr. Tilman the mill was again sold, and finally passed into the hands of Daniel Strauss and Henry Arnold thirty-three years ago. Mr. Arnold then sold out, and the mill passed into the ownership of Mr. Strauss, father of J.W. Strauss, a member of the present milling company.

In the meantime the old dam had been replaced by a brush dam, and this gave place to the present one. In 1876 the present mill was erected, and the old one was torn down. In 1885 the old mill stones were discarded, and the roller process put into use. It was while this change was being made that J.W. Strauss made his debut as a miller, he having charge of the grinding by the old process while the new was being installed.

The mills today is owned by the North Manchester Milling company, and is making a superior brand of flour that is meeting with ready sale on the market. This flour was given the "Gold Dust" name when the roller process was first installed, and the name has been a guarantee of good quality every since. Last year there was comparatively little good wheat raised in this country, and the wheat that is now being turned into flour has been shipped here. The indications now point to a good crop of home wheat this season and if these indications are fulfilled home wheat will again be used. Smith Miller, a miller by trade and a Miller by name, is in charge of the mechanical part of the mill and his work in that capacity is giving good satisfaction to the patrons of the mill.

Source: NMHS Newsletter, May 2002

The Flouring Mill

Joseph Harter built the water powered flouring mill southwest of town in 1839 shortly after he and his family, including a married son, Eli, came to town . They built a dam made of stone, brush and earth across the Eel River and started in the milling business. They rebuilt it in better working order in l843 so it was capable of grinding good grade of flour and business went well In 1852 Joseph sold out to his sons, Jacob and Joseph B. They sold to Peter King in 1852. The Daniel Strauss family came into the business in 1879, along with Henry Arnold. Strauss sold his interest in 1886 to his sons, J. W. and Erwin. Erwin sold his interest to J. W. in 1893.

During part of this time the firm operated an uptown feed store but about 1906 J. W. Strauss disposed of his interest in the mill and opened a new feed store and feed mill uptown. This competition eventually caused the milling firm to close its uptown store. Others acquired an interest. Isaac Shock secured a part interest about 1872 and sold his interest to Samuel Hamilton in 1884, who sold, in turn, to Jesse Tyler in 1886. Others who secured interest during the next few years were David Hamilton, A. D. and I. E. Gingerick and John Isenbarger. Noah Garber came in about 1906 and Paul Isenbarger became active in management.

In 1920 the business was incorporated, with capital at $57,000. Stockholders were Bland and Paul Isenbarger, A. B. Palmer, W. S. Humke, Daniel Sheller, Henry Reiff, William Jennings, George L. Allen, G. L. Shoemaker, J. K. Lautzenhizer & Co. F. P. Kircher, Frank, Cora and Ed Reelhorn, W. C. West, J. H. Miller, H. E. Lautzenhizer, A. L. Bollinger. E. W. Gresso and Hugh L. Kennedy. Ditto Flour was for a time the leading product under corporation management.

Cade King bought the mill June 2, 1922. November l3, 1923 the Mill burned. Reiff, Dohner and Paul Isenbarger asked a receiver to apply $17,000 insurance to the debt of King and the action was settled out of court. King rebuilt, taking into the company Hugh Miller and Samuel F. Bowser. But they were unable to meet their obligations and it passed into the control of the State Bank of Warsaw in 1927 and to Indiana Power Company in 1929. This company sold the machinery

 

Page Thirteen
 
 

and razed the building. The Power company bought it to prevent the site from being used to generate electricity.

Thus ended the life of a ninety year old industry . After holding the land for several years, the Power company sold the land and dam to the Town of North Manchester with the condition it could never be used as a site to general electricity , Part of the site was later leased by the Heinold Hog Market.


Source: North Manchester Journal, January 14, 1897, Ad:

Strauss & Gingerick will pay a premium over market price for good old or good new wheat. Call at their exchange store.


Source: North Manchester Journal, December 29, 1910

Jacob Strauss, formerly owner of the flouring mill at Laketon, but for several years a resident of North Dakota, has been visiting relatives and old time friends in Wabash county for a week or more.