The United States Department of the Interior, Park Service, has declared Jessee's Mill in Russell County, Virginia to be a national historic landmark. Prior to this designation the mill was declared a state historical landmark by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Historic Resources. Historical designation applications are first sent to the state office and then if declared eligible by the state, the application for a national designation may be forwarded for consideration to the federal government.
Jessee's Mill began operation over two hundred years ago, predating the census and tax records of 1790. The mill was the primary source for ground agricultural products and other trading in the Mill Creek Area. The mill is located on Jessee's Mill Road, State Route 645, north of Route 71, between Lebanon and Cleveland.
John Jessee, a first war of independence infantryman and musician, purchased the mill from William Gilmore in 1794. The mill continued mechanical improvement over the years and around 1890 was made into the three story structure which stands today. All of the milling machineries are still in the mill. The mill ceased operations in 1932 during the Great Depression.
The mill property is currently owned by Mr. Sherman Wallace of Cleveland. The application was submitted by Joseph Jessee of Lebanon, in cooperation with Mr. Wallace, and Jim Jessee of Chico, California.
An historical marker for Jessee's Mill and John Jessee is located on Route 71 about three miles from Lebanon.
The state designation was granted in December of 2004 and the federal designation was granted in January of 2005.
Lebanon, Virginia 24266-0001
Press Release: Lebanon News, May 5, 2005
From the Lebanon News, December 15, 2004
Eighteen properties were recently named to Virginia Landmarks Register and Jessee's Mill on Mill Creek in Russell County is on the list.
On December 1, 2004, the Historic Resources Board and the State Review Board approved the listing of 15 new properties and three new historic districts in the Virginia Landmarks Register at a quarterly joint board meeting. The Virginia Landmarks Register is the official state list of significant architectural, archaeological and cultural resources administered by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the state historic preservation office.
Jessee's Mill is sited beside a waterfall on Mill Creek in the mountainous rural area of Russell County. The main building began ca. 1850 as a single pen log structure and was enlarged with a two-story balloon frame addition around 1890. The registered parcel includes the mill, dam and frame barn. Up until it ceased operation in 1932, the mill was important to the survival of the surrounding community through the 19th and 20th centuries by providing grain processing and local wholesale distribution.
From the Lebanon News, November 3, 2004
On October 29, 2004 a historical marker for Jessees Mill was erected at the intersection of Route 71 and Route 645 Jessees Mill Road. In the November 3, 2004, edition of The Lebanon News a picture and article of this event was featured.
Jessees Mill was an agriculture grain processing mill and community center for the areas surrounding Mill Creek from the late Eighteenth Century until 1932.
The marker was prepared and funded by the markers sponsor, the Jessee Historical Foundation of Russell County, Virginia. The marker was approved in June by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and erected in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation. A formal dedication was scheduled for Saturday, November 27, 2004, at 1:00 p.m. at the marker site.
The marker reads:
Jessees Mill is 2.5 miles north on Jessees Mill Road. The first grindstone mill, mortarless dam, and millrace were built before 1791. John Jessee, Revolutionary War musician and infantryman, purchased the mill and lands in 1794. Handmade wooden machinery was installed before 1814. Grandson Andrew "Jack" Jessee built the brick home in 1878 and in 1890 converted the mill to three stories and automated roller process machinery. The mill closed in 1932. The Mill Creek community also included the church, school, blacksmith and general store. John, wife Frankey Lea, and some of their 15 children are buried one mile ENE of the Mill at 36 55 04" N, 82 0923" W. Most American Jessees are their descendents. Jessee Historical Foundation 2004.
Joe Jessee, President of the Jessee Historical Foundation, arranged for the placement of the historical marker highway sign at the junction of Highway 71 and Route 645, now renamed Jessees Mill Road. This development and the name change of Route 645 to Jessees Mill Road, are major accomplishments for the Jessee Historical Foundation.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
10am to 4pm at the Harry L. Coomes Recreation Center & Park Grounds, Abingdon,VA.
Meet Jessee family from all over the country, enjoy family arts, crafts, and entertainment. Please join us.
Photos of Jessee's Mill below are courtesy of John Funk.
Old Jessee Mill
View of Dam
View of Creek
Joe Jessee and crew at Jessee's Mill Historical Highway Marker. Courtesy of Lebanon News, 11/3/2004
Mill Creek Baptist Church by Mill
Andrew Jackson Jessee Home across from Jessee's Mill