South Boston Historic Sites
Hupp's Mill

This 1977 news article was taken from the scapbook files of Kenneth Cook located in the South Boston Library Research Room.

The following essay was judged the first place winner in the contest sponsored by the Halifax County Historical Society for students at Halifax County Senior High School to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the establishment of Halifax County.

Ed Pittard, the winner, will receive a $25 savings bond.

The Historical Society thanks all those students who took part in the contest and congratulates the winners.

By Ed Pittard
10 grade, HCSHS

Hupp's Mill was located 200 yards off the road on the west side of Highway 501 at the city limits of South Boston, Virginia. Prior to 1855, Mrs. Martha J. Hamilton purchased the tract of land for $600.00 from Mr. and Mrs. William Easley and Mr. and Mrs. James Easley.

In 1855, Thomas Hamilton, the husband of Martha J. Hamilton built the mill. At this time, the mill was called Hamilton's Mill. In 1881, the mill changed hands, and Daniel Jackson Hupp became the new owner. When Hupp purchased the mill it was in need of repair. In 1884, Hupp tore down the mill structure and rebuilt it on the opposite side of the wooden wheel. Hupp then renamed the mill Hupp's Mill as it is known today.

The new structure was a 1 1/2 story building including a 1/2 story attic. It was a square frame structure with a gabled roof covered with shingles and metal. The five (5) windows had no glass; only two boards that swung open like windows. The entrance was made of rough boards which were hand made in two sections so that the top section could open while the bottom section remained closed. Today, these are known as Dutch doors.

There was a shed roof porch with no floor at the entrance to the mill. The interior consisted of two (2) large rooms with a ceiling approximately ten (10) feet high. There were no finished walls: only the hull of the outer walls. The stairway consisted of one flight of the crudest type of steps. There were no balusters or newels, but only the tread to the steps. The cellar was an open room filled with machinery used in the mill. Doors were made of pine and very crudely constructed. Floors were made of rough planks that were made smooth from constant use. The hardware used throughout the mill was made of iron commonly used during that period of time.

The mill pond across the road was most likely a favorite fishing spot in the summer. During the winter when the pond froze over, it made a nice skating rink. This site was the community's favorite skating spot.

The Hupps owned and operated the mill for forty (40) years. They believed that the water ground meal was the best type of meal around. The water ground meal was quite popular with patrons of the mill, and the great demand for it assured the proprietors of a substantial business. Many times, the demand was far greater than the capacity of the mill.

Hunter Moorefield and John W. Easley purchased the mill in the early 1920's. Although the ownership changed, the name Hupp's Mill remained the same. Moorefield and Easley were credited with modernizing the mill by replacing the wooden wheel with an iron wheel.

They owned the mill until 1935; at that time, they sold it to Mrs. Ira Vaughan. Mrs. Vaughan leased the mill to Mr. W. H. Edmunds, who ran the mill until 1942. One night in 1942, disaster struck when Hupp's Mill caught on fire and burned to the ground. Firemen worked hard to save the old mill, but as many people watched, the structure was demolished by fire. The only part of the mill left standing was the fire-proof iron wheel.

The mill was not rebuilt after the fire, but the wheel stayed where it was. It was not long before brush and trees grew around the wheel and not a trace was left of the actual building.

Today the Hupp's Mill Plaza Shopping Center is located diagonally across the road from the site where the mill once stood.

• Adams, Mrs. J. Wayne Sr., interviewed by Ed Pittard, 2606 Halifax Road, South Boston, Virginia, 4:30 P.M., April 20, 1977.
• Old Iron Wheel Is All That's Left Of Hupp's Mill," South Boston News, January 12, 1960, p.2.
• Rice, May S., "Hupp's Mill," Halifax County Virginia, Works Progress Administration Of Virginia Historical Inventory, April 1, 1937.

Old Landmark Is Destroyed By Fire Friday Night
Date and source of newspaper clipping unknown.

An old landmark, Hupp's Mill was completely destroyed by fire on Friday night of the past week and all that remain is the iron water wheel and a few pieces of shafting.

This mill, situated on the highway between South Boston and Halifax created much interest to the many visitors to this section, it being one of only a few mills of this nature in the entire South.

The mill was originally known as Hamilton's Mill and was first built by Mr. Thomas Hamilton, who came to this county from Charlotte County. Mr. Hamilton came to Halifax in 1854 and shortly thereafter built the mill. He operated it for a number of years himself, but later turned it over to Mr. Thomas Moorefield, who had married his only daughter, to operate. At his death Mr. Moorefield continued to operate the mill for several years, until it was sold for a division among the heirs. At the sale Mr. Hupp bought the property and from thence on it was known as Hupp's Mill. At first the mill was on the east side of the wooden water wheel, but Mr. Hupp rebuilt it and placed the mill on the west side. Some twenty years ago Mr. Hunter Moorefield and Mr. John W. Easley, II operated the mill and tore down the wooden water wheel, substituting therefor an iron wheel.

The mill pond afforded the citizens of the town of South Boston an execellent ice skating pond for years and in the early days it furnished the water for the engines of the Norfolk & Western Railway Co.

When Mr. Ira Vaughan bought the property along the highway from South Boston Corporate Limits he secured the mill and for the past several years it has been run by different people.

Meal from Hupp's Mill was quite popular In this section and the demand for real water ground meal insured the proprietors a lucrative business and at times, the demand was far greater than the capacity of the old mill.

Hupp's Mill a familiar city landmark

Taken from the 1984 Centennial Booklet published by the South Boston Steering Committee, printed by the Gazette-Virginian.

Hupp's Mill is without question the most familiar of all South Boston landmarks. Pictures of it have appeared frequently in local papers, and virtually every local artist has painted it. Postcards of the mill are still found in various parts of the country.

None of this would be so unusual were it not for the fact the mill burned in 1942.

There may have been a mill at the site as early as 1831 or before. That year, John Hart sold to Anderson R. Henderson 234.4 acres of land bounded in part by "Perry's Mill Creek" and Poplar Creek. (This land later became the property of Capt. E.B. Jeffress and was his home farm, "Forest Oaks." The dwelling is now the American Legion.)

The site was an ideal one for a mill, with a small creek running through a low area between hills. Several springs fed the creek as well.

Mrs. Martha Hamilton purchased the mill site from James and William Easley in 1854. The next year her husband, Thomas Hamilton, built the first known mill, called Hamilton's Mill.

It was sold to Daniel J. Hupp in 1881, and was in need of many repairs at the time. In 1884 it was torn down and a new mill built, but it was placed on the opposite side of the wooden wheel from the original.

The mill built by Mr. Hupp was almost square, of frame construction, with stone foundation. Its two large rooms were not finished, just the rough shell of the outer walls. A crude stair led to the upper floor, but there was no railing, just the steps. The floors were of unfinished pine.

There was no glass in the windows, only shutters to cover them. Actual glass sashes came much later. The entrance door was of pine, divided in half, its hardware of common iron.

The cellar was one large open room, filled with the machinery needed to operate the mill and, later, a sawmill.

The Hupp family operated the mill for about 40 years, their reputation as millers ever increasing. They had hundreds of customers who regularly brought their grain to have it water ground, which the Hupp's believed was the superior method of grinding. There were times, it is said, when their grinding orders far exceeding the mill's capacity.

The mill was sold to Hunter Moorefield and John W. Easley in the 1920's. They made some improvements to modernize the mill, one of which was to replace the old wooden wheel with an iron one.

In 1935 it was sold to Mrs. Hannah N. Vaughan, who rented it to W.H. Edmunds. Mr. Edmunds was operating the mill when it burned in 1942.

The cause of the fire, which occurred during the night, was never established. A large crowd gathered to watch as firemen and volunteers fought unsuccessfully to save the historic structure. By morning, nothing remained but ruined machinery, the foundations and the wheel.

After the fire the wheel itself became a local landmark. It stood rusting beside Wilborn Avenue until 1963. Portions of it were salvaged, and what remain was pushed over and now rests beneath the parking lot of the Southside Community Services Board.

The mill pond was a favorite recreational spot at the turn of the century. During the winter it was the scene of ice skating, and in summer was used for both swimming and fishing.

Ice cut from Hupp's Mill Pond was sold by Faulkner's Drug Store (now Faulkner & Lawson) in the late 1880's and 1890's. The store, then located in the Boston Hotel on lower Main Street (now Brooks Funeral Home) was South Boston's first ice dealer. The ice was first stored in an ice house behind the Faulkner home, and later in a larger ice house built near the Southern depot.
Forty-two years after its destruction Hupp's Mill is still fondly remembered. The name lives on in Hupp's Mill Plaza, which occupies the site of the mill pond.

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