On April 17th 2015, The Midatlantic Chapter of SPOOM & The Union County Historical Society held a tour of historic mills in Union County PA. This was one of the stops.
Located at 2099 Johnson Mill Rd, Lewisburg, PA 17837
Johnson's Mill, or the Mazeppa Mill, was built in 1788 by Michael Rentscheler (angelicized to Rengler) and his son, John.
Johnson's Mill is no longer a working mill, it is now being used as a warehouse of sorts by an amish family selling outdoor furniture. Today they allowed us to tour the mill, and Fred Johnson & Beth Johnson Hackenburg, siblings, came and talked to us about what it was like growing up in the mill.
Beth Johnson Hackenburg& Fred Hackenburg
One of my favorite stories was of the mill pond. It was 6 acres, and in the winter the entire town would come ice skate there. He said one Sunday there were 650 people skating there!
Fred also talked about the eels - they would catch them in the mill grate, and eat them. Fred & Beth brought a few items along for all of us to see -
I wondered why the name Rehrer appeared on these items, and found this in a google search -
"Mazeppa (Rentschler's) Mill was started c. 1789 by John Rentschler (Rengler), and continued under his son Daniel, whose children sold the mill to Wm. P. Cameron. James Packer, married to Cameron's daughter Mary, inherited the mill, and rented it to millers Levi, Henry and Charles Arbogast; Benjamin Rehrer, and Harry Baker. Wm. Beaver, Clarence Auten, Fred Johnson and son Eugene Johnson were successive owners. Water from Buffalo Creek powered the mill until diesel engines were installed in the mid 1900's" - found online, unsourced
as well as this old photo, an aerial view of the mill -
We were able to walk around, and through, the old mill building -
"Meanwhile the old Rentschler (angelicized to Rengler) Mill continued to operate. It remained in the family until 1874, when it was purchased by William Cameron Of Lewisburg. Upon his death it became the property of the Packer family of Sunbury, who leased it to millers. It was purchased by Clarence Auten in 1922, and Fred I Johnson in 1930. the latters son, Eugene, took over operation of the mill in 1946, a year after its conversion from water to diesel power, which it used until it closed in 1981."
Union County, Pennsylvania: A Celebration of History
By Charles McCool Snyder, John W. Downie, Lois Kalp
Above & below - Members of SPOOM & the UCHS, touring the Johnson Mill.
Time Line:1788 The Mill is built by Michael Rentscheler (Rengler)
1874 The Renglers sold to William Cameron
After Cameron's death, it was owned by the Packer family from Sunbury (son in law of William Cameron), who rented it out to millers.
1922 Clarence Auten Purchased the mill
1930 Clarence & Suzanna Auten sold the mill to Fred & Blanche Johnson
1945 the mill was converted from water powered, to diesel powered.
1946 Fred & Blanche Johnson sold the mill to their son, F. Eugene Johnson
1981 The Mill Closed
All of my pics from this tour can be found here (once I finish sorting and uploading them):
The Union County Historical Society has an article on their website about the mill - "Fred Johnson and Beth Johnson Hackenberg team up to recollect Mazeppa Mills, the principal family business for the Johnson family from 1930 to 1982. The authors reminisce about the mill’s operation, and, as children, the delights of growing up in a family of millers." http://www.unioncountyhistoricalsociety.org/Page8-33.pdf
Read about Water Powered Gristmills In Union County here -
There are more photos of this particular mill, here: