Cook's Old Mill Ownership — 1797 to 2008

Note: The following transactions were recorded from the Greenbrier County (GB) and Monroe County (MC) courthouses and may be found in the Deed Books (DB), Will Books (WB), Survey Books (SB), Trust Deed Books (TD) and Common Law Order Books (CLOB).

1774 Valentine Cook owned 650 acres by this time (Morton, 1916, p.81) and must have built the original mill before 1797, by which time he owned 1050 acres (GC-SB 3, p.314).
1797 Valentine Cook left "the Gristmill" to his wife, Susanna Cook, when he died in this year (GC-WB 1, p.133-134). This is the first reference to the mill.
1798 Susanna Cook must have turned the mill over to her son, Jacob Cook, when she moved to Kentucky (GC-DB 2, p.16-17). Land separated for the mill at this time was 100 acres (MC-SB 3, p.103-104).
1844 Jacob Cook left "my Mills" to his son, Jacob A. Cook when he died in this year (MC-WB 3, p.611-614). Land "with Mill" consisted of 55 acres, the appraised value being $950 (MC-DB O, p.300).
1857 Jacob A. Cook and brother, Riley B. Cook contracted with James Humphreys to build a new "Mill House and Mill" on the same site (MC-DB T, p.319). Here, "Mill House" refers to the building while the "Mill" refers to the machinery in the Mill House. The machinery was mainly constructed of wood and the mill was powered by a waterwheel.
1860 Jacob A. Cook was indebted to Riley B. Cook for $2560 and turned over the "Grist and Saw Mills" to his brother through a trusteeship. The mills with 55 acres, plus another 41 acres, with a total value of $3389, "was put in trust to secure Riley B. Cook which he will invest in the Mill property" (MC-DB T, p.674-675).
1867 Jacob A. Cook was unable to pay off his debts and the "Mill Tract" (mill and 55 acres) was bought on sale for $2500 by Riley B. Cook, together with 40 acres for $600 (MC-DB U, p.294, 411-412). Jacob still owed his brother $4,463.13, so why the owner of the mill was in debt is a good question, and why his brother had so much money is another question.
1868 Leffel Turbine Riley B. Cook and wife sold "one undivided half of their Mill Seat and tract of land" to the Hinton, Barley & Co., a three-way partnership of Anderson McNeer (1/3), J.D. Hinton + William Hinton (1/3), William H. Barley (1/3) for $1050 (MC-DB W, p.619-620). This company installed the two Leffel turbines about this time, one of which still powers the mill
1872 William H. Barley sued Riley B. Cook for $561.83 (MC-CLOB 3, p.190), opening a series of lawsuits which eventually involved the other partners as well as still other parties, and were continued until 1889. These lawsuits involved land in Summers County as well as Monroe County and the total amounted to $23,256.33! (MC-CLOB 3, p. 190, 342, 516)
1875 William H. Barley sold his 1/6 share in the mill to James D. Hinton & William Hinton for $2038.58, leaving them with a total of 1/3 share (MC-COB 2, p.532-533).
1876? Riley B. Cook, James D. Hinton & William Hinton apparently forfeited the mill and their total of 5/6 share was sold to Anderson A. McNeer, Richard T. McNeer & Anderson NcNeer in a public sale in accordance with a decree from the court.
1878 Anderson A. McNeer, Richard T. McNeer & Anderson McNeer failed to pay off the purchase bond for the mill (MC-COB 3, p.94-95, 125) and in 1879 the resale of the "Centreville Mill Property" was approved by the Chancery Court (MC-COB 3, P.202).
1880 Richard T. McNeer bought the mill in the resale but sale bonds executed by Richard T. McNeer, Anderson McNeer & James W. McNeer were not paid on time (MC-COB 3, p.303).
1884 Richard T. McNeer borrowed $2000 from Anderson A. McNeer in a Title Bond for interest in the "Centerville Mill" with about 3 acres, and it was paid back in 1885 (MC-DB Z, p.11).
1885 The whole of the purchase price for the "Centerville Mill property" was due but $2500 remained unpaid and Richard T. McNeer, the purchaser, and James W. McNeer, the surety upon his purchase bonds, were threatened with a resale by the Chancery Court (MC-COB 4, p.19).
1887 Richard T. McNeer obtained a Trust Deed worth $5500 for half interest in the "Centerville Grist Mill" with about 3 acres (MC-TD 1, p.109-110).
1889 James W. McNeer bought the "Centreville Mills", including Flouring Mills, Dwelling House and 3 acres at a sale and the deed was recorded in 1892 when the purchase price was paid off (MC-DB 30, p.425).
1894 James W. McNeer & Anderson A. McNeer and wives sold the "Centreville Mills", including Flouring Mill, Saw Mill, Dwelling House and 3 acres, to E.L. Dunn (2/3 interest) and C.M. Via (1/3 interest) (MC-DB 31, p.484-485).
1897 E.L. Dunn & C.M. Via and wives sold the "Greenville Roller Mills" and 3 acres to Tullius A. McNeer for $4800 (MCDB 33, p.409-410).
1905 Tullius A. McNeer and wife exchanged the "Greenville Roller Mills" with J. Nelson Harris for $900 plus a farm in Crozet VA (MC-DB 38, 486).
1906 Emma Harris and husband exchanged the "Greenville Roller Mills" with George W. Kesler for a 208 acre farm near Wayside (MC-DB 44, p.432-433).
1916 George W. Kesler and wife sold the "Greenville Mill Property", including 3 acres, to John "Jack" R. Johnson for $7000 (MC-DB 50, 302-303).
1943 John R. Johnson and wife sold the Greenville Mill with 3 acres to G.C. Lawrence, Horace B. Mottesheard & C.J. Fowler (MC-DB 76, 207-208).
1947 C.J. Fowler, Horace B. Mottesheard and wives, and Lettie Lawrence sold the Greenville Mill and 3 acres to Gilmer H. Wallace (MC-DB 83, p.298-299).
1952 The Greenville Mill with 3 acres was sold by a special commissioner and was bought back by Gilmer H. Wallace for $3000, the highest bid (MC-DB 92, p.422).
1952 Gilmer H. Wallace and wife sold the Greenville Mill with 3 acres to Frank Pitzer (MC-DB 92, p.480).
1956 Frank Pitzer and wife sold the Greenville Mill with 3 acres back to Gilmer H. Wallace and wife (MC-DB 97, p.165).
1957 Gilmer H. Wallace and wife sold the Greenville Mill with 3 acres to Aaron V. Canterbury and wife (MC-DB 98, p.310).
1964 Aaron V. Canterbury and wife sold the Greenville Mill, minus the milling equipment, to the BiRite Furniture Company, owned by Harold "Ernie" LaBelle for $1400 (MC-DB 106, p.90-91).
1972 Harold "Ernie" LaBelle disappeared and the business was continued by his son, John Davis LaBelle under the name Landmark Furniture Co.. In 1975, the skull of a murder victim was found in Wyoming County and was eventually tied to Harold LaBelle through DNA testing in 2006. (The Register-Herald, Feb. 14, p.3A).
1984 John "Dave" LaBelle gained formal possession of the Greenville Mill with 2 acres, in a sale in which he was the highest bidder with $16,750 (MC-DB 178, p.212-213), although the furniture business had been dissolved in 1981 (MC-DB 212, p.65).
1987 John D. LaBelle and wife sold the Greenville Mill with 2.05 acres to James P. Wells and wife for $27,000 (MC-DB 181, p.234). In 1991 the Wells' bought the 2 acre plot, with two houses across route 122, from Kenneth L. Copeland and wife for $40,000 (MC-DB 191, p.300). Finally, in 1997, the property across the millpond, 1.78 acres and formerly part of the mill property, was also bought by the Wells' for $6,712.40 from LaBelle (MC-DB 212, p.65).
2002 Alfred M. Ziegler & Barbara Waggoner bought the "Cook's Old Mill Property" including the above three parcels, with a total of 6 acres, from James P. Wells & Nancy J. Wells. (MC-DB 231, p.684).
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