Written by Leonard H Ray
Holman’s Old Water Mill – with updates and revisions since his writing.
Holman’s Old Water Grist Mill was located about one mile off the Willow Grove Road. It was situated in a hollow on Hunter Cove Road near the Hardy Ferrill and Hauton Billings Farms. The mill was owned by the J.D. Holman family in the early 1900’s. It was sold to Mr. Bud Sells. He operated the water grist mill for a number of years before selling the mill to Mrs. Rawlings. She retained the mill for a number of years, but it was not in use. Thus, the mill rotted down.
A good friend of mine, Mr. W.C. McDaniel was auditing the tax books in Livingston, TN. He found that the land taxes had not been paid for a number of years. Mr. McDaniel’s got in touch with Mrs. Rawlings. In 1939, Mr. McDaniel bought the land and began to rebuild the old water mill.
Mr. Dailey Bilbrey rebuilt the old water mill. On October 12, 1939, my Dad, W.M Ray moved to the old mill site and operated the mill for about 15 years.
I, Leonard H. Ray, bought this old place in 1944 from Mr. McDaniel. I operated the mill for a number of years. Then around 1959, I sold the mill and land to J.B. Hays. Mr. Hays was from Chicago, Illinois. He bought the mill and the land without ever coming to look the property over. Mr. Hays just wanted to know where to send the money. I told him to send the money to Union Bank and Trust Company in Livingston, TN. He did as I requested. I made hime a deed for the property and returned it through the mail. Mr. J.B. Hays passed away in the early part of the 1960’s Mr Hays’ heirs sold the mill and land to Mr. Edeson Sells who turned it into a Trout Fish Hatchery. The property was then sold to Mr. Jon Walters.
The owners of the property (since 1989) are Gifford Ewers and his father, L.G. Ewers, who operated the trout farm until 2005. A camping area is also located at the old mill site. The Ewers then sold the farm and campground in 2005 to David Groh who rebuilt the trout farm and campground. David reopened the two businesses after 2 years of restoration work.
Then in September 2012 the trout farm was sold separately from the campground. The trout farm and land is now privately owned. The campground was purchased in April 2013. Renamed Deep Valley Campground and now owned and operated by Pete and Sheree LeGro and their daughter Conner.
The campground was once the site of the Unity Community School. The school house was moved to another property on Hunter Cove Road in the early 1970’s. Children attending the Unity School used the stream at the trout farm to keep their milk cold since the water temperature is a constant 50 degrees. The school was located on the land now occupied by the campground swimming pool.
We hope you enjoy your stay! We look forward to making your stay a stress-free and family fun experience!