The mill known to us as Dimmock's Mill began its life in October 1817, when John Taylor, Jr., purchased three acres of property from John Thompson and Thomas Crabtree "to build a saw and Grist Mill on the River Eno about one mile and a half mile above the Town of Hillsborough... ." Taylor also purchased adjoining property in February 1820 from Thompson.
In December 1823, Taylor and his business partner Thomas Webb sold the property (properties, actually, containing approximately 150 acres) to Thomas D. Crane (also spelled Crain) and his business partner Alfred Moore; it was described as "being the tract of land purchased by the said John Taylor in part from Thomas Crabtree and in part from John Thompson and being the same whereon the mills late the property of the said John Taylor... ." Moore eventually sold his share to Crane. An advertisement in the November 19, 1828 Hillsborough Recorder lists via a "public sale" by Thomas Crane, "for sale, on accomodating terms, on the second day of next County Court, being the 25th instant, all his interest in the mill formerly owned by John Taylor, Esq." Apparently, the sale never occured, as it wasn't until October 1836 when the approximately 150 acre property (which included property previously purchased from Elizabeth Miner, which now contained a tanyard) was sold to Dr. James S. Smith; the property was described as "Beginning in the ford of the branch Eastward of the Shop, Still house & Mills of the said Crain... ." The property description also mentioned the mill, distilleries, and a tanyard. Francis J. Smith, son of James Smith, purchased the 150 acre property from his father in November 1845, and then sold the property to William H. Brown in November 1847.
William Brown's son, Henry N. Brown, inherited the property from his father circa 1866, and he in turn sold it to George W. Bruce in October 1873, about two years after Henry declared bankruptcy and was forced to sell his numerous properties in the area to pay off debts. David C. Parks and Thomas Dickson purchased the property from Bruce; Parks likely bought out Dickson, and Brown then mortgaged and then sold the property (or at least some of the property) to Edwin Dimmock (also spelled Dimock), Thomas B. Thompson, and Samuel K. Scott. However, in 1876, Bruce had mortgaged the property to Dimmock, Scott, and Thompson; the confusion surrounding this property/these properties may be due to Brown having further divided the property into lots, as shown on a survey (by Thomas Wilson) of the property listed as the "Brown Mill tract." Dimmock owned 50% of the business, and Scott and Thompson 25% each; this is why the mill (previously known as Brown's Mill) became known as Dimmock's Mill.
Dimmock's Mill, circa 1930 (photo courtesy of the Orange County Historical Museum)
In April 1883, Dimmock sold the property to Samuel Barham; it is unknown what Barham did with the property and the mill. "E. Dimoch's" mill is shown on the 1891 Tate map of Orange County as being for sale (see map excerpt below). A 1908 map of Hillsboro also shows the location of "Dimock's Mill" (also see below). The only known photograph of the mill, taken circa 1930 (see above), shows the mill structure still standing but in rather poor condition and the site overgrown.
"E. Dimoch's" (Dimmock's) Mill, 1891 Tate map excerpt
The mill was located near the confluence of Seven Mile Creek and the Eno River, west of Hillsborough at the intersection of present-day Dimmocks Mill and Ben Johnston roads. The mill site was likely destroyed when the Central Highway/NC Highway 10 (now Dimmocks Mill and Ben Johnston roads) was constructed in the early 1910s, which bypassed the old intersection of the Hillsborough Road (also known as the main road to the Haw River, the "great Road leading from Hillsboro to Hartford," or the Mebane Road at various times) and present-day Dimmocks Mill Road. Sections of the original road from the south to the mill, and the river ford at the mill site across the Eno are still visible, although the ford was partially destroyed due to construction of the Dimmocks Mill Road bridge across the Eno. Construction of the Ben Johnston dam in 1955 and the later water pumping station also contributed to the destruction of the site.