Beans Mill on Halawaka Creek, S29 Lee County, AL (Chambers before 1866) is the site of one of the earliest mills in the Chattahoochee Valley. In 1834 Sam Carter and Henry Byrd built a sawmi1l, an up — down type since the circular saw had not been developed. In 1836 Mr. Byrd added a gristmill and when Moses Wheat and son Asbury purchased the property in 1837 they had hopes of great success in the firm of WHEAT AND SON. Tragically, only weeks after the mills were dedicated in January of 1838, Asbury was killed” by mill race timbers falling and crushing his head”.
After several changes in ownership, in 1848, John “Jack” Floyd purchased the property with his son Charles JetIerson (sic). In 1852, Floyd’s Mill Road was established (now US29 between Double Hill Road and Ridge Road.) The mills were a vital part of the area during the rest of the 19th century. Hiram Murphy was a partner with James C. Floyd in the late 1850’s. They had apparently just completed reconstructing the gristmill when, in 1861, Hiram” was thrown upon a broken, pointed piece of iron and his thigh pierced, from which he soon died.” The mills operated throughout the war years and several entries in the estate records refer to sales to “the government”. James went off to fight for the Confederacy and died in Richmond, VA in 1864. The Hiram Murphy and James Floyd estates were finally settled in 1869, well after Lee County was created.
In 1874 a flood washed out the gristmill (the dam and the sawmill across the creek survived). The property was petitioned by John W. Floyd to be sold, however, the request was rescinded and John W. with partner W.H.H. Griffin built the gristmill now reconstructed and owned the mills until their deaths when B J Meadows bought the mills in estate sales. In 1903 George W. Bean purchased” The Floyd Mill Place” and it has been called Beans Mill since then.
In 1897 the first iron bridge in Lee County was built at Floyds Mill. In 1928 the present bridge replaced it and in 1929 the first paved highway in Lee County was opened from West Point to Opelika. Mr. Bean installed a Fitz waterwheel around 1910 to replace the old patched turbine.
Mr. Bean died in 1952 and the site was virtually abandoned until John and Faye Ross bought the property in 1989. The gristmill built in 1875 has now been reconstructed, not as a business but for folks to get a glimpse of how things were, over a hundred years ago.
For more information about the mill please contact:
John & Faye Ross
6247 US 29N
Opelika, Al 36804