Saturday, January 10, 2009

Clapp's Mill on Alamance

The Revolutionary War histories about the southern campaign tell the tale of a skirmish known as the Battle of Clapp's Mill. A recent recounting of the entire battle was written by Stewart Dunaway and can be purchased here:

Naturally, I have wondered where Clapp's Mill was and it seems like a good blog post to cover that issue. Stewart Dunaway and I have come to the same conclusion about the question, though independently. The histories uniformly refer to this mill as being "on Alamance," however looking at the various former mills on Big Alamance Creek (or Great Alamance River as it was once known), there does not appear to have been a "Clapp's Mill."

The 1893 Spoon Map of Alamance County shows a couple of candidate sites for Clapp's Mill:

Clapp Mill

And there was another Clapp Mill in Guilford County as seen here:

Now, Stewart has made a much more thorough investigation of this matter than I have, but he concluded from actually inspecting the old road beds etc. in the area that the actual site of the Battle of Clapp's Mill was the site on Beaver Creek that Spoon shows above as "Clapp's Old Mill."

I had actually jumped to the same conclusion simply by virtue of the fact that Spoon does not show very many former mill sites. The fact that he took note of this particular one suggested to me that he though this abandoned mill site was notable - and so it was because of its role in the Revolution. Also, of the different Clapp sites, "Clapp's Old Mill" on Beaver Creek is the one that is most nearly "on Alamance" Creek.

This Saturday morning, Stewart Dunaway and I went looking for the J. W. Clapp Mill shown by Spoon on Stinking Quarter Creek. We definitely found the right vicinity (the Clapp Mill Road bridge), but despite a bit of tromping along the banks, we were unable to locate any remains of the actual mill.

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