|Hall's Mills (now London Public Library, Byron Branch)|
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Plaque installed on June 13, 1975. It is mounted on a grindstone from Hall’s Mills.
In February 1819, Archibald McMillan received the Crown grant for Lot 45, Concession B of Westminster Township.
Anson Simons and John Preffer built a carding and fulling mill on part of the property, and then McMillan sold the land to Burleigh Hunt in 1831. Hunt built a gristmill and a dam across the Thames to increase his water power. Two years later he sold his whole business to Cyrenius Hall.
Hall was born in New Hampshire in 1788 and came to Upper Canada in 1810. He contracted for the British forces during the War of 1812, and then developed a forwarding and retail business in Fort Erie. Moving to Westminster Township, Hall added a distillery and tannery to the mill complex, and employed three of his sons in the growing business. The small settlement became known as Hall’s Mills owing to his many enterprises, and later became Byron.
Hall sold the gristmill to William Denning in 1848. Severe flooding on the Thames damaged the mill and dam in 1851, and little business was done that summer “owing to a deficient supply of water”.
Local miller William Binn bought the mill in 1852, and sold it in 1858 to Robert Summers.
An Irish settler, Frederick H. Kenney, bought it in 1870. The Middlesex County directory for 1871-1872 describes Kenney’s mill as “a frame two storeys high; his custom work averages 100 bushels daily.”
The Thames flood of 1883 severely damaged Kenney’s mill. It was repaired and sold to William Griffith in 1886. Isaac Crouse, a local builder, bought the mill in 1889 and replaced the millstones with iron rollers.
The gristmill was destroyed by fire in 1907 while owned by Neil Galbraith and Dr. Cecil Clarkson Ross. Ross rebuilt it and operated it well into the twentieth century. Partially dismantled in the 1930s, the remains of the Byron gristmill were carried away in the Thames flood of 1937.