3.12.24 4

Bost Grist Mill

Today’s post was sponsored by Barber Communications. Barber Communications is an American history & culture blog written by Mike Barber, an Air Force veteran and public communicator. Y’all, be sure to check it out!

“The corn Grandpa grew was used to feed mules, cows, hogs, and chickens, but enough was saved to be ground into cornmeal for his family. When Grandma needed cornmeal, Grandpa filled a sack with dry-shelled corn and took it with him on the mule to the mill.

The mills in use at the time were always located beside a good-sized creek so that the weight of falling water could be used to turn a huge bucket wheel that caused the mill stones to turn, crushing the corn between them to make the meal.

The mill was always sort of a fun place to go because there were always people there to talk to or play with.

The man who ran the mill was called a “miller.” In payment for grinding the corn, he took one gallon of corn from each bushel of corn he ground. This was called a “toll” and amounted to one-eighth of your corn. No money changed hands.”

-Roy Clifton Parris

Papaw Cochran used to tell me stories like Roy’s. He worked at Smokemont in the late 1910s and early 1920s. Everyone in the little logging community went to Mingus Mill to get cornmeal.

Since sitting at his knee and listening to those tales, I’ve been fascinated by grist mills. So, last year, when I found myself just down the road from the Bost Grist Mill, I had to pop in to take a look.

John H. Bost founded the mill around 1810 on the banks of the Rocky River in Concord. Using a water wheel and two 2000-pound stones, it ground flour and cornmeal for the locals.

The original mill house was replaced in the 1870s. Almost 40 years later, a flood knocked it off of its stone foundation. Luckily, the building and machinery were still intact.

You’ll notice the Bost Grist Mill doesn’t sit on the river these days. That’s because the Bost family restored it and moved it across the road. It’s the first thing you see on the hill when you pull up the dirt drive.

The family opened it to the public in 1996. They offer tours and host various events throughout the year. And inside the historic mill house, you can buy cornmeal from a North Carolina business that has been family-owned for more than 200 years.

I feel like Roy and Papaw Cochran would approve.

Leave a Comment


  1. Buck wrote:

    Love this

    Published 3.12.24
    • Cassie wrote:

      Me too! I just learned of another old grist mill in Guilford County. I’m going to try to go see it soon! 🙂

      Published 3.12.24
  2. Bessie Hinson ( Becky) wrote:

    Such sweet memories!!

    Published 3.22.24
    • Cassie wrote:

      Yes, ma’am! I love this memoir. It was so sweet of Mr. Parris’s son to gift it to me. <3

      Published 5.11.24