Mills in Page County

submitted by: Pat O’Dell –


Shambaugh Mill History

from obituary of James Shambaugh

In 1855 Mr Shambaugh, with T.B. Gordon of Baltimore, Md., purchased a sawmill two miles southeast of Clarinda, on the Nodaway river, transforming it into the first grist mill in the county. The first corn was ground at this mill in Feb 1857. Soon after, the firm added machinery for making flour. This firm continued in business until Mr Gordon’s death about 1897, after which date Mr Shambaugh contined to operate the mill until it was destroyed by fire in 1896.

In the ‘60s he purchased a mill at a point about six miles south of Clarinda where he operated the mill and conducted a trading point for the early settlers. Our records do not show what the place was then called, but as soon as the railroad passed through, the place was named Shambaugh.

In 1883 his son Ira W. Became identified with him in business at this place and the old land mark was torn down and a new mill constructed to take its place. This mill was destroyed by lightning in 1897 and the firm built the flouring mill at Clarinda, making more than a half of a century atha he had been identified with the milling interests of this county.


Old Collier Mill at Hawleyville

submitted by: Pat O’Dell –


OLD LAND MARK SOLD – Old Mill at Hawleyville changes Hands. One of the old land marks of the country was sold at public auction last Friday afternoon. The old mill at Hawleyville passed into the hands of Ed Hakes, who, being the highest bidder became owner of the mill and two and one-half acres of land on which it now stands. The purchase price was seven hundred and fifty dollars. The contents of the mill were sold also, farmers in the neighborhood buying such pieces of machinery as was offered. The mill and property sold belonged to the Collier heirs. E.G. Strong had charge of the sale, Oscar Stewart of Clarinda, auctioneer. The Clarinda Herald, Clarinda, Iowa, December 2, 1915


Old Mill Sold – Quite a large crowd gathered in Hawleyville last Friday afternoon to witness the selling at auction of the old Collier mill that has stood upon the river bank for so many years. First of all was sold some lumber, oil, saws and various other articles. The two mills, the scales, and the mill site all went together, Ed Hakes being the purchaser. It is unknown as yet whether Mr Hakes will tear down the buildings or will start again a milling business in Hawleyville. The proceeds from this sale go to the heirs of the Collier estate. The Clarinda Herald, Clarinda, Iowa, December 2, 1915



Hawleyville Mill Gives Way to Grow More Corn for Modern Mills


Beecher McAlpin of this city its historian

The old water power flouring mill for so many years in the possession of the late A.M. Collier of Hawleyville, and one of the old land marks of Page County, is being torn down and the lumber carted away by E.G. Strong, a son-in-law of Mr Collier into whose hands the possession has fallen.

The old mill has a history, as has everything. If its walls could talk they might tell volumes concerning the happenings of the pioneer days of the little village of Hawleyville, at whose gates it is located; for at Hawleyville was the first settlement in this county made. Beecher McAlpin of this city, who was among the earliest settlers of the neighborhood, has kindly given us a few of his early recollections in which the old mill figures. Thinking they might be of interest to our readers we are copying them as follows:

“On the twenty-eighth day of May, 1856, I first had the pleasure of seeing the Nodaway river at this place. I was then a good, little boy, sixteen years old, with no bad habits. In some respects I was a type of George Washington. He couldn’t tell a lie, while I could but would not. I will there fore try to tell you about the old mill at this place.

It was the first mill erected in this part of Page County. It was a saw mill built by Elisha Thomas in 1849 on the north bank of the east Nodaway River which at this point gives a head of nine feet. In 1851 Henry McAlpin and A.M. Collier purchased the site and added rude grinding machinery including a run of burs and a home made bolt which was run by hand. This usually run on low as gasoline was scarce and high in price.

We had plenty of gas but it was the kind that would not burn.

In 1854, the mill was sold to Dr A.H. and Thos H. East. A few years later, Truman Curtis and Thos East bought the property and in 1859 erected a new, up-to-date flouring mill. As soon as the new mill was completed, the old timer was put out of commission. Say, if that old mill could have talked, (as Uncle Jeff Bracken says) and told the truth, its story would sure be one worth reading.

The old mill was patronied [sic] over a radius from five to forty miles. It was Hopman’s choice, go to Hawleyville mill, grate your corn in its season, eat hominy or go hungry.

Now I am told that Ed Hakes has purchased the old land mark, torn it down and also removed the damn, where I have fished many times along with so many associates who have passed over to the great beyond.

In 1856 there was not a bridge on either East or West Nodaway River and not a foot of railroad in Iowa. Today we are told there is not a foot of land within her borders where a man cannot stand but he will be within ten miles of a railroad in some direction.”

Mr Hakes after buying the old mill sold his purchase to E.G. Strong of this city.

Page County Democrat, Clarinda, Iowa, Oct 26, 1916