Early Mill Dam







Submitted by Richard S. Robinson

    I found this in my copy of the handwritten Thomas J. Prettyman probate papers.  This is a faithful transcription, misspellings, repeated words, and all. You'll need to imagine punctuation to make sense of it. Although the full page photocopy preceding it (probably the outside of the document when folded,) calls it "Sale Bill of the Property of Thomas J. Prettyman", it is really just a contract for building a dam at Prettyman's saw mill. I'm no dam engineer (pun intended) but I don't understand the word "siles" unless it is a misspelling of the plural of "sill", which is the foundation of a structure.   

Thomas J. Prettyman born 04 Jul 1790, Sussex Co., Delaware; died 04 Aug 1835, Springfield twp, Wms Co. Ohio, at the age 45y. 

Probate at  Williams County Record Center - case # 42 Dated: 6 Oct 1835


Sale Bill of the Property of Thomas J. Prettyman, Decd

Filed Fe 8th 1836

John Evans, Clerk


January 15th, AD 1835

Artickles of agreement Made and concluded and entered into between Thomas J Prettyman of the first Part and William Hollandshead of the second Part witnesseth that the said Hollandshead of the second Part Doth agree with the said Prettyman of the first Part to build and take the timber from the stump A Mill Dam across Bever creek in the following manner that is to say the Apron thirty feet long and thirty feet wied of buroake timber to be hewed and lined on two sides to everage one foot in the middle wen hewed and three mud siles [“sills”??—RSR] to everage one foot in the middle two forty feet long and one thirty two feet long of buroake timber and two butments twenty feet by thirty feet long with A bevel to the two endes and the siles reset to the apron wich is thirty feet long to be good wite oake or walnut or buroake timber and the Lower brest to be thirty feet long and of buroake timber and the upper brest to bee thirty feet long of hickery or ash and the upper endes of the butments and and the ties to be ash or elm all the timbers to be noched down close and the two brestes and sides to be hewed and lined on two sides to an everage one foot in the middle wen hewed so as to fit down tite wen noched and to dig the foundation of the butments and apron level with the bottom of Bever creek and the mud siles to be setteled low in the bed of the creek or eaven with it and between the mud siles to be clay paddeled in between the mud siles and the apron to be laid on the clay and mud siles and to drive Pileng on on the upper side of the upper mud sill tite wich is forty feet long and the butments and brestes –brestes to have two set of ties—to be raised seven feet on the apron and the butments one log hier then the brest and find our selves and do our own halling the dam to be built at the said Prettymans saw mill on bever creek within six wekes in a good and workman like manner and the said Prettyman of the first Part agrees to give the said Hollandshead of the Second Part Seventy five Dollars in witness whereof we the parties have set our hands this date.

Text first above ritten                                                             Thos. J. Prettyman

John Lindenberger                                                                   William Hollandshead


Bryan Democrat, 5 Jan 1871

In 1830, Hollingshead and Lindenberer "squatted" on Bean Creek, near Guthrie's claim, and cleared up the land. Daniel Colgan afterwards "entered the tract" settled on by Hollingshead, bought his claim, and occupied the farm until his death, which occurred some four years ago.


A picture of what many early dams looked like.


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