Updated August 26, 2010.
Comment - Larry Etheridge: This windmill was owned by his GreatGrandfather Pelege Poyner Ballance. It was located near the ferry dock. The property has since washed away. He would grind corn meal and chicken middlings for the locals. He would take a portion of it as his pay and then resell it. Once a year they had to pick the stone clean so it was rough enough to grind the corn.
It was critical that the speed of the grinding wheel be controlled. Too fast and the stone overheated and caused scorching of the meal. Too slow and the meal was coarse. The vane was essentially a sail supported by the frame work. If you look at the vane above you will see the sail on top and very faintly the rope that controls the sail. It starts on the middle left and slopes down and then up to a pulley at the far right. The direction of the windmill was controlled by the lever that comes out the back of the mill.
Comment - Melinda Lukei: I asked my Aunt Catherine, born Oct 1914, about the windmill. She lived at the south end, she did not remember it. So this was a long time ago. Pelege was born in 1863 so it was probably in the 1890's or 1900's when it was working. She did remember that Dale Beasley's grandfather Will White had a grist mill on his property and people would carry their corn there to be ground for meal and for feed for the animals. She said that the old house with the dirt floor up the neck belonged to Annie Simpson Waterfield (sister to Ella who married Clyde Williams and Maude who married Roland Beasley. She said there were several graves near that house, most were children. I didn't notice those graves, however I wasn't looking for them either.
Comment - Jimmy Cason: I showed this picture to Mr. Colin Doxey a few years ago. As I recall he believed this to be the mill on the South End as well, whereas when you look at the horizon in the photo across the water there are no trees to be seen, as you would if you were standing in/near Mill Cove looking eastward toward Freshman bay. Also an interesting note, the man second from the right has what some people in my family call the "Cason stance". It's something that was once pointed out to me. Men in our family strike this familiar pose when they are relaxed while talking. I've seen my Dad in the pose a thousand times. Other men in the family do the same thing but can not do it on command. I've honestly never seen anyone else stand that way. You could pick my Dad and uncles out in a crowd by that stance. Therefore I would like to believe that the man second from the right was some ancestor of mine.
April 2, 2010. Comment - Sue Austin: I have half of the grist mill stone that was used at the Pelege Ballance Grist Mill. It has the indention in the middle. It belonged to my mother, Adell Brumley Fentress who was a granddaughter of Papa Peele as she called him.
Comment - Larry Etheridge: Pelege Poyner Ballance moved from Maple on the Currituck mainland to the South End and owned and operated the windmill. He was also a market hunter. He sold his waterfowl to buyers who then shipped them North. He owned the farm on the Bay side of Bonney's sandpit. He was born on December 8, 1863 and died on February 12, 1939. He is buried in the cemetery on the road to the Wildlife Refuge office. The cemetery is pictured HERE
April 27, 2010. Comment - Jane Brumley: At one time there were 3 mills on Knotts Island. One was located on the farm across from the KI Baptist Church. My husband "Buster" (Walton Guy Brumley) farmed there 50 + years ago and plowed up one of the large mill stones. I use it at the main entrance to my house.
Comment - Joe Lewark: There was a grist mill located behind the old house that is now hidden behind the trees and vines at White's Neck Lane and South End Road. It was operated by a 4 horsepower Motor-Go flywheel engine. They were single or twin cylinder engines of 2 1/2 to 8 horsepower. You started them by pulling on the flywheel. These same engines were used in the boats. This mill was still operating in the 1920's.
Comment - Jane Brumley: I was looking thru the 1850 census of KI and occupation listed: Joel Wicker - miller and Reuben Waterfield - miller
Comment - Brenda Twiford: The 1860 Census has these two as Miller's: Edmond Leachfield and John Leachfield.