McCoy’s Mill, located along U.S. 220 three miles south of Franklin, is one of West Virginia’s oldest landmarks. Framed by the rugged mountains of Pendleton County, the mill employed generations of millers, drawing its water power from Thorn Creek just before the creek empties into the South Branch of the Potomac River.
The first mill on this site was built about the time of the French and Indian War by Ulrich Conrad Sr., who came as a pioneer settler from Switzerland in 1753. According to Elsie Byrd Boggs’s History of Franklin, Conrad supplied the soldiers in Lord Dunmore’s War with flour and meal in 1774.
Conrad’s son inherited the mill from his father in 1777, and Gen. William McCoy, a Franklin merchant, later acquired the property. General McCoy died in 1835, and the mill was acquired by his nephew, William McCoy. This McCoy found the business so lucrative that he decided to replace the old mill with a modern one. Construction of the new mill began in 1845.
The 1845 mill is the present four-story mill building, its large hand-hewn beams supported by a thick stone foundation. This new mill originally had the familiar overshot mill wheel, but this was replaced by a more efficient underwater turbine in the early 20th century. Grain was milled here until the mid-1900s, and the mill and connecting residence were adapted late in the century as a furniture workshop and bed and breakfast inn. McCoy’s Mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
The future of the mill is uncertain. The bed and breakfast ceased operation and the property was offered for sale in 2010.
Read the Historic Register nomination.
This Article was written by Kathleen M. Jacobs
Last Revised on May 21, 2013
Jacobs, Kathleen M. Home to the Hofeckers: A Story of Bridge Building, Inn Keeping and Fine Furniture. Goldenseal, (Spring 1993).
Cite This Article
Jacobs, Kathleen M. "McCoy’s Mill." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 21 May 2013. Web. 31 January 2015.