Slagle Millsite Once Platted for the Town of 'Coxville'
by George W. Somerville
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune. May 7, 1956.
The story of Slagle's Mill is told by George W. Somerville of Chillicothe,
president of the Grand River Historical Society and Museum. This is another
article in a series recounting the history of early Livingston County mills.
[Story is illustrated with one photograph]
On Nov. 3, 1840, John Cox, a son of Joseph Cox, one of the early settlers of Livingston County, laid out a town which he called Coxville. This town was to be located at the site of the Cox's Mill in the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 14, Township 58 North, Range 23 West. Mr. Cox had every reason to believe that this would be a very promising sit for a town as the Cox Mill was a going concern and had been doing a thriving business since the establishment prior to 1840. This town failed to develop [sic] and after a few years was only a memory.
Joseph Slagle came to Livingston County in 1839. The first four years after his arrival he sold goods at Cox's Mill. In 1843 he purchased the Cox Mill and continued its operation. From the date of its purchase by Mr. Slagle, it became known as Slagle's Mill and continued under that name until it was closed and finally dismantled/ At the time that Mr. Slagle purchased this mill it was reputed to be the only water mill in Northwest Missouri [sic].
A Medicine Creek Dam. The power for this mill was furnished by a dam built across Medicine Creek. This dam was constructed of oak timbers on a rock foundation. The water wheel was the undershot type and was turned by the speed of the water as it came through the water flow of the dam. The forebay of the dam was a favorite place to fish in those early days. There were times during the coldest of the winter weather that the mill could not operate due to the reduced flow of the water over the dam.
The building that this mill occupied was a 3-story affair and soft pine lumber was used in its construction. Three set of stone burrs were operated in the mill.
Mrs. Edgar Inman now owns the farm where the mill was located. The lumber was used in the construction of the barn now on this farm was salvaged from the old mill.
Mr. Slagle was a very successful business man, and at one time at this site, in addition to the operation of this grist mill, he had two card machines, a sawmill, a brick yard, a store and a blacksmith shop.
Pioneers Crossed There. A bridge was built across Medicine Creek at the site of this mill in 1843 and it became the crossing for one of the early trails through the northern part of Livingston County. Thousands of early emigrants and gold seekers used this route on their way to the Far West.
In 1877, Dr. John B. Freeman came to Livingston County and purchased this mill and operated it for several years. This venture in the milling business did not prove to be a financial success for Dr. Freeman and he finally disposed of his interests and the mill was closed and eventually dismantled.
On a beautiful knoll about one-half mile southwest of the old mill site is the Slagle cemetery. Here Joseph Slagle and several of his family are buried. The following inscription is engraved on his headstone: "AFTER LIFE'S FITFUL FEVER, HE SLEEPS.'
Thus ends the story of an early day institution and the life of a man that contributed much to the early day development of Livingston County.
The tombstone in the photograph marks the last resting place of Joseph Slagle, in the rural Slagle cemetery.