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Millville Borough

Columbia County, Pennsylvania

Millville Borough offices are located at 136 Morehead Avenue, Millville PA 17846.
Phone: 570‑458‑5709.

Beginnings [1]

The gristmill which gave rise to the name of the town of Millville was operated after the death of John Eves by his son Thomas. The latter built the first dwelling house in the town. David Masters bought the mill site in 1830 and rebuilt the mill. His son George ran it until 1849, when fire destroyed it. Masters and John Betz rebuilt the mill on a larger scale and made a success of its operation for a number of years. Later owners were Masters & Heacock, in 1872, McHenry & Heacock, from 1874 to 1883, and the mill then in 1914 in the hands of Reece & Greenly, the members of the firm being J. L. Reece and Ellis Greenly. They have added a brick power house, with a 140-horsepower engine and boiler, and otherwise increased the mill's capacity, which was two hundred barrels of buckwheat flour and fifty barrels of wheat flour per day. All of the machinery was modern in make, and the turbine wheel was seldom used for power except during high stages of water in the creek. This was one of the largest buckwheat mills in the United States, in 1913 grinding one half of one per cent of all the buckwheat flour produced in the Union. All of the grain grown in Columbia and Montour counties that could be bought, and quantities from other counties, was hardly sufficient to keep the mill in operation that year. The production was fifty carloads of flour, eleven hundred bushels of grain being required for each carload, the price averaging 75 cents per bushel, and the value of the flour being estimated at over $40,000.

The first store in the township was opened at Millville in 1827 by David Eves and Andrew Eves, David being appointed postmaster four years later. Subsequent incumbents of the office were Andrew Eves, James, George and William Masters, until 1885.

Mail facilities had been greatly increased since the advent of the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg & Berwick road, the first train of which arrived at Millville on April 6, 1887. There was for some years a daily mail from Bloomsburg by stage line. Later, an autobus made two trips a day each way, and a freight wagon made one trip each way.

There were a number of flourishing industries in Millville. In 1813 John Watson started a woolen factory, the plant comprising a fulling mill and two carding machines. Wool was brought to the mill by the farmers to be cleaned and carded, the weaving into "homespun" being done in the homes, after which the cloth was returned to the mill to be dyed and pressed. Chandlee Eves succeeded Watson and built a large brick mill on the opposite side of the creek. He did not make a great success of the project and the plant stood idle for a time, being finally occupied by the Enterprise Worsted Mill. The latter corporation was originated in the basement of the Magee Carpet Mills, at Bloomsburg, by Midgely & Haley, in 1891, and several years later moved to Millville. The mill was later operated by Edward Thorpe until his death, and then a corporation was formed and took it over. The officers were: A.J. Skerry, Jr., president, and J.A.F. Simpson, treasurer. The product in former years was woolen blankets for the United States army, but later it was exclusively woolen yarns, the output of five thousand pounds per week being sold direct to mills in New England and Philadelphia. The plant was a strictly modern one and housed in a three-story building of brick, the power being both steam and water. The employees numbered about fifty. William J. Koehler was the manager of the mill.

The fame of the Millville wagons made by John Eves and his son Charles had gone all over the State and enabled the firm to build a factory in the town that employs twelve persons. An 18-horsepower turbine operated the machinery, and there was also an additional steam plant for use in the dry season. Farm and lumber wagons were the products of the factory.

Henry Getty and William Greenly started a planing mill in 1881 which was later operated by Charles Cutler. Three years later Shoemaker & Lore built another planing mill. This latter was in the hands of Edward Buck, who operated a wagon works.

The Millville Creamery had a steady and prosperous career. It was started in 1887 by S.J. Eckman, who operated it for several years. Later he sold it to his sons, W.J. and C.W. Eckman, who developed an immense trade, the output being butter, cream, eggs, poultry and meats. The creamery had many wagons on its many milk routes, and the meat wagons covered a large portion of Columbia County. The first building erected was only 24 by 36 feet in size, but was then ample for the requirements. Later, the building was 70 feet square and two stories in height, and the business occupied all of the space to its fullest capacity. The plant and methods were modern in every respect. On June 1, 1913, a corporation was formed, of which W.J. Eckman was president and C.M. Eves was the treasurer.

The First National Bank of Millville was a successful financial institution and a great convenience to the business men and farmers of that section of the county. It opened its doors on July 1, 1900, with a capital of $25,000, and a surplus fund of $5,000. Its first board of directors were: Wilson M. Eves, John Eves, W.W. Eves, J.W. Eyes, Dr. H.S. Christian, Dr. J.E. Shuman, Josiah Heacock, Ellis Eves, William Masters. In 1914 the surplus fund was $25,000 and the deposits over $285,000. In 1914 the bank built its own home on a corner of the two main streets of the town. It is of Indiana limestone and gray brick, with brick lining, three stories high, and architecturally a credit to the bank and the town.

The Millville Water Company was chartered April 5, 1898, with a capital of $16,000. The projectors were William Masters, Ellis Eves, J.J. Robbins, H.G. Frederick, C.W. Miller. The supply of water, which was excellent in quality and abundant, was obtained from a large spring, being pumped into a reservoir.

A tannery was started in 1907 by Heller & Cutler, who sold it later to the Millville Tanning Company. Later, it was operated by the Kirkpatrick Tanning Company of Philadelphia. The product was strictly sole leather.

The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Millville was incorporated Sept. 7, 1875, with J.W. Eves, president, and Ellis Eves, secretary. They continued since then to carry on a conservative and successful business, having over $5,000,000 in force in 1914.

Freeholders of Millville filed a petition for a borough charter on May 5, 1890, which was reported favorably by the grand jury. In September exceptions and remonstrances were filed, and on May 4, 1891, were dismissed. An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, which on April 14, 1892, decided in favor of the incorporation, the objectors having failed to continue the fight. The first borough election resulted as follows: Joseph W. Eves, burgess; R.J. Hess, J.C. Eves, C.W. Eckman, S.W. Kester, H.W. Kisner, E.T. Eves, councilmen ; W.M. Eves, V.P. Eves, justices of the peace.

An unusual feature at Millville was the fact that there existed there an unlicensed hotel which was carried on for over thirty years. At one time an effort was made to procure a license, but failed. Burr Albertson, the 1915 proprietor, kept an excellent place for the entertainment of the traveling public. There was no place in the town where intoxicating liquor was sold.

An excellent system of sewerage was put in in 1899 and 1901.

The Millvtlle Tablet was a five-column, eightpage paper, founded in 1887 by G.A. Potter, who ran it until 1912, then Boyd Trescott took the editorship. It had a large circulation in that end of Columbia County, and was ably edited and well printed.

A number of fraternal societies had existence in the town since its founding, while many others have passed into the history of the "has beens."

Millville Lodge, No. 809, I. O. O. F., was organized July 29, 1872, with twenty-one members, but surrendered its charter a few years later. In 1880 the charter was restored, only to be surrendered again in 1886, and finally restored in 1888. The officers for 1914 were: Charles Wagner, noble grand; Perry Eves, vice grand; W.O. Johnson, treasurer; Dr. H.S. Christian, trustee.

Valley Grange, No. 52, P. of H., one of the oldest in the State, was chartered with twenty members, Feb. 4, 1874. They owned a fine library in Millville and had a membership of over one hundred and fifty. The officers were: William Eves, Jerseytown, master; Miss Sarah Reece, secretary.

J. P. Eves Post, No. 536, G. A. R., was mustered Sept. 3, 1886, with the following roster: James W. Eves, Henry Robbins, George W. Belig, B.F. Fisher, Isaac M. Lyons, John Shaffer, J.C. Eves, W.G. Manning, Emanuel Bogart, Jacob Derr, Henry J. Applegate, John Thomas, D.F. Crawford, Charles M. Dodson, William L. Caslan, W.H. Hayman, Richard Kitchen, George W. Perkins, John Applegate, Harvey Smith, John Krepneck, John H. Mordan. J.P. Eves, in whose name the post was organized, was wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg, died in the field hospital and was buried in an unmarked grave on the Rappahannock River. He was a member of Company I, 136th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. The surviving members of the post were in 1914: George W. Belig, Isaac M. Lyons, John Shaffer, J.C. Eves, Jacob Derr, John Mordan.

  1. Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, J. H. Beers & Co., 1915.