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1942

 

 OLD TIMBERS STILL SERVE -- Timbers from the old Witt mill, still
sound after a century of service, support a Dallas County barn.


Vanished Glory of Trinity Mills
Recalled as Town Century Old

B
Y T. A. PRICE
Staff Correspondent of The News.

     CARROLLTON, Texas, March 14. -- Trinity Mills is one mile north of Carrollton, and Trinity Mills, this year, celebrates its one hundredth birthday. Only a few houses mark the spot because much of the town moved to the present Carrollton with the advent of one railway and establishment of a townsite by the builders, and practically all who were left, moved when a second rail line made this city a junction.
     It was Preston Witt who settled by the river side in 1842, and he was a mighty man. Besides acting as captain in the Indian wars, he established one of Texas' earliest grist mills, a mill that grew from horsepower to steam power, and which, at one time, supplied most of the flour that was used in North Texas.
     Witt was a builder, and, according to the lore of the old-timers and meager notes in old histories of this section, he was a sportsman, as well. With his mill, he ran a still for the manufacture of whisky and a general trading post. His brothers came to join him in these enterprises as they grew, and a horse race track was laid out where a visitor driving to mill with a grind always could get action if he thought he had a fast horse.

Woods Teemed With Game.
     Woods along the Trinity were teeming with game. Buffalo roamed the prairies. Hanging from the limb of a big pecan tree in the mill yard one might often see the butchered carcasses of deer and buffalo and bear. Small game was the daily meat ration for every family in the whole section.
     The abundance of game, the good water, and the fact that there was available, a well-drained camping ground, all served to make the Witt mill a popular rendezvous, and frequently there was such a rush of business, that it was necessary to wait a week or more for service, but these weeks never were dull.
     When the crude, horse-operated mill of 1842 became too small to handle the business, Witt sent to New Orleans to get the equipment for a steam mill and went into the woods to square out huge oak timbers to house the operations. The boiler he found at the gulf port was one that had been salvaged from a wrecked ship, a two-tube affair that had been fabricated in England by hand, and that boiler still is a landmark that can be seen from United States Highway 77, just north of this city. It has been sunk to form the corner post of a fence, and only about five of its sixteen feet of length appears above ground.

Timbers Still in Use.
     The old mill timbers still are in use as the framework of a barn, and the foundation stones, many of them bearing the carved or chiseled initials of pioneers, are still supporting the huge 12 by 12-inch sills.
     The Carrollton Chamber of Commerce now is toying with the idea of a great centennial celebration later in the year, for which there would be issued a call for a homecoming of the descendants of pioneers who worked and fought Indians and played at the rough games of the day on the land which now is being gouged by steam shovels to furnish ballast for Texas highways.

- March 15, 1942, The Dallas Morning News, Sec. I, p. 10, col. 5-6.
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