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Jed Hotchkiss, Stonewall Jackson’s mapmaker and co-producer of the Augusta County Atlas in 1885 after the Civil War, called Middle River the “Chief River" of Augusta County.


Virginia has three Great Rivers that trace their start back to Augusta County—the James, the Shenandoah, and the Potomac. No water flows into Augusta County… it only flows out. Of the three rivers in Augusta County— the South, Middle and North Rivers— Middle River is the longest, the highest in starting elevation, the largest in volume, and the farthest south.





Native Americans used the Middle River dating back 10,000 years. There is evidence of encampments, temporary settlement, mounds, and hearth sites.


Since settlement by Europeans, the area was used for farming, distilleries, tanneries and mills. Jed Hotchkiss wrote, “The Middle River of the Shenandoah, in Augusta, furnishes a good illustration of the character and condition of the streams of the whole Valley in reference to their adaptation to manufacturing or irrigating purposes… Over its distance it has fallen 1,000 feet all of which can be utilized for the volume of water at its very course is ample for turning a mill...”


Want to learn more? Check out

The Mills of Augusta County

by Janet and Earl Downs, with Nancy Sorrells.  Purchase Book.

A Brief History of Middle River


                                                                                                by Nancy Sorrells


Knightly Mill near New Hope, was owned by the Cline family in the 1920s and converted to create electrical generation used by Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO), now known as Dominion Energy Virginia.


Augusta Roller Mill near Verona was built in 1867 and at its zenith produced 150 barrels flour per day.


Knightly Mill, 1927


Augusta Roller Mill

Below is the Cline and Wampler Mill showing men using a seine net to catch fish.


Mill at Ft. Defiance


Mill at Ft. Defiance


Mill at Ft. Defiance

Frank's Mill (also known as Shutterlee's Mill) was owned by the Hanger family in the early 1900s. The dam washed out in 1971. German immigrant Shutterlee owned the water rights. This mill is still standing.


Frank's Mill, also known as Shutterlee's Mill

Frank's Mill, also known as Shutterlee's Mill, 1912

Below is Palmer’s Mill. In 1870 a farmer, Samuel Frame, was warned by a premonition in a dream to remove his wheat from the mill—which he did—and the very next day a flood destroyed the mill. His gravestone captured the story.


Palmer's Mill

Finally, we end with Old Red Mill and some other various photos of the River.


Old Red Mill, 1892


~ Nancy Sorrells

   FOMR Member and Historian

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