Grist Mill on Shelby Creek

This photo was found by Prof. Perry in the photo archives of the University of Kentucky Library in Lexington. On the back of the original photo are the words: `Mill on Shelby Creek.` The dam shown here was called a splash dam. Samuel May`s grist mill at the mouth of Abbott Creek was probably a structure very much like this one. This particular mill may have belonged to Samuel`s brother Thomas, who owned a large farm on Shelby Creek. We know from court records that their father, John May, owned a mill on Shelby Creek when he died in 1813. Samuel sold his mill in 1842 in order to pay his debts, but he bought it back six years later and converted it to steam-power. When this venture began to fail, he abandoned the project and joined the California Gold Rush.

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