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Patchins Mill

Patchins Mill

FOSL recently acquired historic Patchins Mill. Here’s some background.

Site Origins

Site documentation begins in 1743. The Little Nine Partners Patent surveyor Charles Clinton noted that the stream “had fall fit for a mill.”

Arabella Graham inherited Lot 48 of the Little Nine from her father James Graham. In 1794, her brother Lewis Graham (of the Graham-Brush House) added timber from his sawmill. Not to build the mill, but to build the first recorded bridge here.

Henry Hoffman, a private in the Revolutionary War and the grandson of a Palatine, bought the site with his brother Matthias in 1801. They built the first grist mill on this site, named  “Hoffman’s Mill.”

In 1807 Henry bought out his brother’s share. He was not just a miller, but a prosperous merchant and farmer, and owned 500 acres.

Huntting says of Henry that “from his manhood to the close of his business life, no man in Pine Plains, contemporaneous, had so many business connections with different enterprises all at the same time.” Henry Hoffman married the former Catherine Veterle.

One source claims there was a house before the mill, but Huntting states that Henry Hoffman built the “large farm dwelling and barn” in 1812. It was one and a half stories with two large rooms downstairs and upstairs. Eight of the ten Patchin children would later be born here.

Patchins Mill (1867)

Patchins Mill 1867
Patchins Mill (1867)

The Ancram Turnpike appeared in 1804. It passed through Hoffman’s Mill on its way from Millerton to the Hudson River. It eventually connected Salisbury, Ct. to the Susquehanna River. This turnpike transported ore from places like “Hot Ground” (Ancram Lead Mines) to the furnaces at Ancram Iron Works. According to Huntting, Henry Hoffman owned shares in this pike, and for a few years the hamlet benefited from its traffic, until the growth of the hamlet of Pine Plains to the south overtook it.

Patchin Family (Undated)
Patchin Family (Undated)

In 1818 a new bridge overlay the creek.
In 1840, Mark Patchin (1819-1894), a millwright, worked on the mill. While working, he met and married Catherine Ham.

In 1873, Mark bought the mill and house from Henry Hoffman’s grandson Anthony Hoffman Jr.
In 1878 a new iron bridge arrived, but it was replaced by a concrete bridge in the 1930s.

Spring Flooding

1891 brought heavy spring rains which carried away the kitchen of the Patchin home and a barrel of pork, a “lot of hams,” and 2-3 tons of coal. All lost downstream.

Again in 1918, spring rains washed away the 100-year old masonry dam. This sunk Silvernails Road under 7-8 ft. of water. Even the bridge fell to under about 7 ft. of water. Fortunately, the mill building was not affected. A new 75-ft. long concrete dam was built that October.

Additional Activities

A blacksmith worked in the hamlet. And in 1938, milk production began in Gould Patchin’s garage. And a milk plant was built in 1943. Farmers brought their milk to the plant in cans. The plant had both pasteurization and sterilization machinery and also a bottler and a capper. Milk, cottage cheese, chocolate milk, and buttermilk were delivered to towns in the entire region. The plant closed in 1962. This building is now used as a smokehouse.