Skip to Main Content

Union Mills Homestead and Milling, Maryland

As told by Connor Levesque
Union Mills, Maryland

Story Narrative:

Historic photo of a man with a beard and an over jacket with black bowtie.

Ivan Lufriu is the last miller in Carroll County Maryland. He sat with Connor Levesque to discuss the process of milling, and how the homestead he works in was established in 1797 by the Shriver family. Ivan also demonstrates the milling process and how it was beneficial to the community in the 18th and 19th centuries. In coordination with the Carroll County Farm Museum, Union Mills Homestead, Maryland.

Sam Riley (00:10): Union Mills is a mill, a grist mill that was built 1797 by two brothers, and it's been preserved. And it's a wonderful opportunity to see what happens in a grist mill to turn all these wonderful grains that we farm in Carroll County, into usable products that would otherwise not be so usable, if it weren't for the mill.

Ivan Lufrui (00:35): About twice a year, I do buckwheat and that's what we did today. So we're done with that for a while and it's all ground, but it will still have to be sifted, which will be in a separate operation. Andrew and David settled this and established the grist mill and sawmill all at the same time. Because of that united effort with the two brothers, that's where the name comes from, Union Mills, a united effort.

Ivan Lufrui (01:15): Many years ago, a foundation was formed to keep this running as a museum and keep it in good physical shape, but it got to be more work and more financial responsibility than the foundation could keep up with. So an agreement was made with the Carroll County government whereby the mill and the Shriver Homestead and all the grounds were turned over to the county. This is now a county park.

Sam Riley (02:15): If you think about it, if you need a loaf of bread today, you go maybe to the 7-Eleven or the Safeway, and it's usually within a fairly close drive to your home. Well, when Carol County was first settled, there weren't 7-Eleven's, but there were mills. So generally there was a mill in pretty much every neighborhood. We walk around and we see all this wonderful farmland and rolling hills in Carroll County and we think Carroll County is a rural area, but what we don't realize is that from the very beginning, there was industry in Carroll County and much more so than we actually would ever know. So the grist mills when they were built are machines, are big machines contained in a big factory. And that's what they were. They really were the earliest form of industry in Carroll County.

Ivan Lufrui (03:05): I only urge that people visit the mill to learn what's going on here, a major part of history. Certainly, the Shriver's were in many ways, a major part of history and still are if you know where to look.

Asset ID: 8584
Themes: Crossroads, small towns, agriculture, history, farming, living history, museums
Date recorded: 2017
Length of recording: 3:47 m
Related traveling exhibition: Crossroads: Change in Rural America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Carroll County Farm Museum, Union Mills Homestead, Maryland
More information: See additional stories from Carroll County, Maryland

Media Files: