Denton Hollow Mills (Pocopson Mills)



We are indeed fortunate to have a “House History” of the Joseph Taylor mill, tracing its history back to the 18th Century.  Taylor’s original 1711 holdings amounted to 705 acres, and the date of construction of his mill is believed to be 1724, although records  were somewhat haphazard in those days.  Nevertheless, we know that in 1738 he sold 104.5 acres, including a dwelling and a mill, to his son Benjamin.  In the next few decades, Benjamin’s sons erected a saw mill next to his corn mill, and in 1775, upon Benjamin’s death, his son Isaac took over.  We notethat Benjamin’s will outlined detailed requirements for the use of streams and access to their water.  These legal arrangements only further underline the importance of the waters of Pocopson Creek to those making a living by it.

In 1789, Isaac Taylor sold his mill property to Thomas Darlington.  For about 80 years thereafter, the place was known as Darlington’s Mill, since Thomas Darlington left it to his son George in 1809, who in turn willed it to George, Jr., in1839.

Under the ownership of George Darlington, Jr., (1839-1871), there occurred the first recorded instance of the bad luck which dogged the mill and its owners in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.  Within about three weeks in the spring of 1855, Darlington’s cotton mill caught fire twice; and the Village Record hinted, “It is thought some one has evil intentions against the occupant.”

Darlington sold the mill complex to William Alcutt in 1871, and Alcutt’s luck immediately turned bad, because he was forced to sell it. The advertisements for his holdings listed “a cotton factory, grist and sawmill.  A large three-story building used as a cotton or woolen factory with complete machinery such as woolen cards, 15 looms, woolen mule, belting, etc.  4 acres of land, first-class water power.”

  In those years, there was a good deal of prosperity in the region, as evidenced by the many new homes and improvements to old ones during the mid- to late-19th Century.  On the other hand, there were few safety nets, so illness, bad weather, ill luck and other misfortunes took their toll.

John Denton bought the property in 1872, and gave his name to Denton Hollow Road.  But the misfortunes continued.  In early 1873, the cotton and woolen mill burned.  A few months later, fire destroyed another of his mills, the one farther downstream north of Street Road.

John’s son Joseph took over in 1892, and Joseph became lamed in 1911 when his legs were crushed in the mill.  Six months later, he presumably stumbled while working, because of his lame leg, and fell down the mill’s wheel pit to be caught and killed in the machinery.

Abraham Wright bought the property from Denton’s widow, and is thought to be the last miller to own the property.  In 1919, he sold to Pierre S. duPont, who constructed a pipeline to move the water from Pocopson Creek to irrigate Longwood Gardens.  But that project eventually was abandoned, because the wooden pipes leaked.  Since that time, the dwellings have been used as residences.

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