Pioneering sisters operated York County grist mill
The view around Wallace-Cross Mill from the mill, three stories high. Also of interest: Book tells about mills and millers from York County, Pa. and This old fieldstone house stands guard over Cross Mill.
Past operators of the Wallace-Cross Mill scored some interesting roles for their resumes.
Alexander Wallace’s two daughters took over operation of their father’s grist mill near Cross Roads in southeastern York County a couple of years after his death in 1861.
Alexander Wallace had operated the southeastern York County mill for about two decades, and his daughters carried on his legacy until 1895. The Wallace sisters are unusual. Women typically are not involved in the hard labor of milling in these days.
But one of them gained another distinction.
She lost an arm in the machinery — but kept working there.
The East Hopewell Township mill passed from the Wallace sisters into the Cross family in 1895.
In 1979, Harry Cross agreed to will the mill to the county with the provision that it remain in good working order.
Today, the mill, a county park, is operating in just that fashion.
A metal overshot water wheel still turns. York County installed an electric water pump in the mill’s basement to pump water up and over the water wheel.
“While water powers the mill’s machinery,” a fact-sheet compiled by Louis Schmidt states, “electricity powers the pump.”
Of course, the milling of grain was only part of the mill’s importance in the community.
It was frequently used as a locale for farmers to gather and gab.
Also of interest:
– See this previous York Town Square post – Southeastern York County made for Sunday drive – for further information on the mill.