The origin of Abbott’s Mill can be traced to the fall of 1795 when local carpenter Nathan Willey entered into a contract to purchase land at this location. On April 23, 1802, Willey and several of his neighbors presented a petition to the Court of General Sessions stating that he had “at a large expense erected, and just finished” a grist mill on the site. Citing the many advantages to the citizens of the neighborhood, the petition requested that a new road be extended to the recently-completed mill.
Following Willey’s death in 1812 the mill was sold to James Owens, and then to Isaac Riggs. From 1821 until 1874 it was owned by members of the Johnson family, and while the property passed through the hands of several subsequent owners, it was known as “Johnson’s Mill” until it was purchased by miller Ainsworth Abbott in 1919. The core of the present mill building is believed to have been constructed on the foundation of the original structure during the latter portion of the 19th century.
The mill was operated by Mr. Abbott until shortly before the State of Delaware began the acquisition of the property in 1963. Abbott’s Mill was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Adjoining property was added to the Register in 1979. The site is now a part of the Delaware Nature Society’s Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, which offers programs and activities designed to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of our natural environment.
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The Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at historically significant locations and sites across the state. For more information on this program, please contact Sarah Denison at (302) 744-5016
Location: 2 miles southwest of Milford. North side of Road 620 (Abbots Pond Road), 20 miles east of the intersection of Road 633 (Griffith Lake Road).