Native Kentuckian Built Collier's Mill in 1850's
by George W. Somerville
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune. April 28, 1956. 

Return to Mills page


Another in a series of articles telling the history of mill in Livingston County appears below. The articles are by George W. Somerville of Chillicothe, president of the Grand River Historical Society and Museum.  [Story is illustrated with one photograph]

On Medicine Creek almost due east of Chillicothe was located Collier's Mill. Surrounding this mill was a beautiful grove of trees. Below the mill dam there were some ledges of rock protruding [sic] out into the stream. The running water had also deposited some ice bars of sand. This portion of the stream just below the dam was not only a fine place for swimming but also become a paradise for the fisherman, and the scene for many baptismal services. In the vicinity of this mill was a favorite place for picnics, such as Sunday school outings, holiday picnics, and for any group that wanted to go for a picnic supper or cook a meal over a campfire. This mill was located near the place where the old North Wheeling road crossed the creek.

Lewis Collier, the builder and operator of this mill that carried his name was born in Kentucky in the year 1802. He remained in Kentucky until he became of age. After coming to Missouri he resided in Howard County for a time. About 1851 he purchased a tract of land in Livingston County. In 1853 he moved to Livingston County and mad his home of this farm. This land was located in the northwest quarter, Section 31, Township 38 North, Range 23 West. Medicine Creek ran through this tract of land and it was on the bank of this creek that the mill was erected. Construction work on the mill and dam were started soon after Mr. Collier moved to the county. Mr. Collier died in March, 1881.

Luther T. Collier, son of Lewis Collier, was a well-known attorney of Chillicothe. He represented Livingston County in the state legislature for a term. He was also a member of the board of curators of the University of Missouri for a time. About 1886 he moved to Kansas City and became a [sic] prominent member of the legal profession in that city. Mr. Collier, in addition to being an outstanding attorney of his day, was also a well-known writer. He contributed several articles published in the Missouri Historical Review. Some of these articles were on the early history of Livingston County.

On Oct. 14, 1876, Mr. Collier deeded 10 acres of his land on which this mill was located to T. B. Utley. In the historical section of the Atlas of Livingston County , Missouri, published in 1878, Mr. Utley is mentioned as a miller and a farmer. Evidently Mr. Utley must have been the operator of this mill in its final days.

I'm indebted to Miss Lucy Tompkins, 459 Vine Street, Chillicothe, for the picture of Collier's Mill that accompanies this article.