Millstone mystery in Haldimand

HAGERSVILLE – Hagersville farmer Doug Greenfield was baffled when a respected local historian assured him that two millstones he had acquired could not have come from a former milling operation next door.The Shoup grist mill, Greenfield was told, was located in Norfolk County. Meanwhile, Greenfield’s farm, east of Hartford, is well inside Haldimand County, east of Haldimand Road 55.It didn’t make sense. Greenfield had known about the one-ton stones for decades. The previous owner was a neighbour and he knew that the Shoup family owned a large section of real estate on Walpole Road 13 where his farm is located.Not only did the Shoups run a grist mill, the prosperous family had saw, shingle and cider mills and a cheese factory. The mystery was solved when Greenfield discovered that – in the 1800s – Norfolk County was much larger than it is today.At one time, Norfolk encompassed land east of Haldimand Road 55. As it happened, all concerned were correct: Millstones that saw service in Norfolk County were redistributed to Haldimand following a boundary adjustment.“I’ve been trying to buy these stones since I had money to buy things. We finally got them about 18 months ago,” Greenfield said Thursday, adding he paid almost $2,000 for the pair.That doesn’t solve all the mysteries, which include the stones’ provenance. Some have assured him the stones were imported to Canada from Scotland and could be as much as 300 years old. Others say they could have been salvaged from an old mill somewhere on the east coast.Greenfield has noticed that the stones’ size and carved grinding surfaces are nearly identical to stones at George Washington’s grist mill in Mount Vernon, south of Washington, D.C. Greenfield wonders if they were made by the same person or the same business that specialized in mill stones.One of the stones is unique because it features a meticulous blacksmith repair. A big chunk of the stone had broken off but a new piece was carefully carved, fitted and banded with hot iron around the perimeter, locked in place with a hot pin.Greenfield and his wife, Vera, are proud of their acquisitions and look forward to talking about them during the annual Haldimand County Vintage Farm Equipment and Collectibles Tour this holiday weekend.The Greenfields have many other items of interest related to the local area’s agricultural past. Their farm is located at 784 Walpole Road 13 and will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.Five other locations in Haldimand are on the tour itinerary, all with the same hours.They are:Jim & Guy’s Hart-Parr Haven, 3910 Highway 3, Nelles Corners. The Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association, 2050 Highway 6, Jarvis. The Sitter Massey Memories Museum, 4023 Highway 6, Hagersville. Dave & Mike Doughty, 53 Talbot Road East, Jarvis. The Ontario Drilling Rig Museum, 259 Kohler Road, Selkirk. This is a free event showcasing antiques and collectibles from about 30 collectors. Sponsors advise there is so much to see it will be nearly impossible to complete the tour in a single [email protected] read more