by Dave Lapha
October 31, 2004
The water mill was built on the site around 1790 by a Dr. Hunnelly. During the 19th century, many water mills operated in the hills and hollows of Kemper County, Miss. By the mid-1950s, only Sciple’s Mill was left. The mill was purchased by the Sciple family between 1830 and 1850. Since that time, there have been seven generations of Sciples working the mill.
For all but three months between 1973 and 1974, after a tornado virtually destroyed the mill building on November 26, 1973, the mill was in continuous operation from the time it was built. After the tornado, the mill was rebuilt on the original floor and foundation using as much of the original lumber and materials as could be salvaged from the tornado.
At one time in the mid-1950s, the water mill also grinned cotton at an output of 25 to 30 bales per day and sawed lumber at 10,000 board-feet per day. The mill is powered by a Leffel Water Turbine Wheel, which develops 250 to 300 horsepower. From 1790 until 1880, the turbine was made of wood but was capable of less horsepower. The clear, cold water for the mill comes from springs running out of the hills upstream. Inside the old mill building is a virtual museum of the 19th century. Tools and implements of every kind hang from the ceiling and the walls.
The mill is open 8am to 3pm weekdays, except during deer hunting season. There is no fee. On weekends, visitors can tour the grounds only. Corn meal, grits, fish-fry seasoning, and other products are for sale to the public. There is a cabinet for after-hours sales, and the cost of the product is placed in an honor box.
Sciple’s Mill is located 10 miles northwest of Dekalb, Miss. Take State Hwy. 39 North from Dekalb 3.5 miles to Kellis Store Rd. Turn left at the "Sciple’s Mill" sign and travel 7 miles to Sciple’s Mill Rd. Turn right at the "Sciple’s Mill" sign onto an unpaved road. The mill is located on Running Tiger Creek one-half mile after you turn off Kellis Store Rd.
From journal Camping and Sightseeing in East Central Mississippi