A gristmill commonly known as the Watts Mill (first known as Fitzhugh’s Mill)
stood on the north bank of Indian Creek where the stream flowed across flat
rocks and tumbled over a waterfall. This location, in the shady wooded area of
103rd Street and State Line, was dedicated June 10, 1974, as a historic site.
Thousands of men and women with their children left from this mill and campsite during the trail days after George and John Fitzhugh built the mill in 1838.
The Fitzhughs sold their interest to Duke W. Simpson and James M. Hunter of Westport in 1842. They in turn, in 1846, sold to Albert G. Boone and James Hamilton, also of Westport. Anthony Banaugh Watts acquired the mill in 1850, and the Watts family retained ownership until it ceased operation.
The mill is best remembered as being operated by Stebbins (or Stubbins) Watts,
Anthony’s son. One newspaper refers to him as the “fiddling miller,” and his
anecdotes of the Civil War, when he fought the “rebs,” and his adventures while
driving an oxteam for demand at the country dances as a veteran fiddler and
tapper. “You can’t play a fiddle without you tap your foot,” he insisted.
Stubbins Watts lived to be eighty-four years old and operated the mill until his
death on March 17, 1922. The building was dismantled in 1942 and nine tons of
cast iron and steel parts were junked. Still the beauty of Indian Creek has been
preserved: the water falls over stepped ledges of rock around the curve where the mill stood, cutting through the present Watts Mill Shopping Center.”
~ Pearl Wilcox, Jackson County Pioneers, 1975.