by Lynne Belluscio
GED and Sandy Brady stopped by yesterday with an interesting piece of paper. It was discovered in the kitchen wall of their house on South Street. They weren’t too sure what it was. I believe it is a label for the top of a flour barrel from the C.F. Prentice Flour Mill that was located on Mill Street. I showed them another label that I recently purchased on eBay for “Wife’s Delight” flour. And in our archives we have a paper bag for “Ethel” flour.
The Prentice Mill was located next to the creek north of the post office, about where the park is now. This was the site of the old Platt and Stoddard Mill that was built in 1802. When Jacob LeRoy came to town in 1822, he enlarged the old mill and in 1865 (or 1866 depending on which history book you read).
Charles Prentice purchased the mill. At that time it was a seven “burr” mill which indicates that there were seven sets of “buhrstones” that ground the flour. Buhrstone was a special type of stone, often imported from France, that was used to grind flour. One of the old stones lies on the ground just off the porch behind LeRoy House.
Shortly after Prentice bought the mill, there were a lot of changes taking place in the flour industry. The early pioneers grew varieties of soft wheat. It had very little gluten, which would be like using cake flour today and it did not rise well. But in the 1860s, farmers were beginning to grow hard winter wheat introduced from Europe. This was a better wheat for making bread flour but it was too hard to be ground between burhstones, so a new type of milling machinery was introduced. The hard wheat was milled between porcelain rollers - - thus roller mills, as written on C.F. Prentice’s labels.
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