When the North Carolina colonial congress met in Hillsborough in September 1775, in preparation for a possible/likely rebellion against Britain, the need for various manufactures within the colony was discussed. Among them was the need for a paper mill, and it was resolved:
"...that a premium of two hundred and fifty pounds be given to the first person who shall erect and build a mill for manufacturing of Brown, whited Brown, and good writing paper, and which mill shall be actually set to work, and thirty Reams of Brown, thirty reams of whited Brown, and thirty reams of good writing paper, at least be produced to the provincial Council, and approved of by said Council within eighteen months from this time; the Brown paper to be of equal goodness to Brown paper imported from Great Britain of the price of two Shillings and sixpence Sterling per Ream, the whited Brown equal in goodness to whited Brown paper imported of the price of three Shillings Stirling per Ream, and writing paper equal in goodness as aforesaid to Eight Shillings Stirling per Ream."
In the November 14, 1777, edition of the North Carolina Gazette
, John Hogan (also spelled Holgan) placed an advertisement requesting from the public linen rags and scraps for "the proprietors of a Paper Mill just erected near Hillsborough, in Orange County":
In December 1777, Hogan appeared before the congress and petitioned that he should be able to produce the required paper within the next eight months. However, on August 19, 1778, he again appeared before the congress and stated that he had erected the mill, but had been unable to make the required amount of paper due to lack of water, and secured an extension until February 1, 1779. (A paper mill doesn't require a reservoir of water like a grist or saw mill needs, but the production of paper utilizes a somewhat large amount of water, necessitating a convenient nearby water supply.)
The paper mill likely ceased production between 1779 and 1781, either due to the lack of water available at the site chosen by Hogan, or due to the Revolutionary War.
The mill is said to have been located one and a half miles northeast of Hillsborough; if so, it was likely on Stroud's Creek, east of present-day Highway 57 in the vicinity of Governor Burke Road.