A Guide to the Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence, 1902-1917, n.d. Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence Ms1989-086

A Guide to the Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence, 1902-1917, n.d.

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1989-086


Special Collections, Virginia Tech

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

©2015 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Kaitlyn Britt, Student Intern, and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist, Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence, 1902-1917, n.d.
Physical Characteristics
0.5 cu. ft. 1 box
Chilhowie Milling Company.
The collection contains correspondence and business papers from 1902-1917, including orders, sample contracts, bills, receipts, and marketing papers between Chilhowie Milling Company and Virginia Iron, Coal and Coke Company, Nordyke and Marmon Company, Millers National Insurance Co., and the Norfolk and Western Railway Company.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence, Ms1989-086. Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence was purchased by Special Collections in 1989.

Processing Information

Initial processing and description of the Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence was completed prior to 2009. Additional processing, arrangement, and description of the collection was completed in September 2015.

Historical Note

The Chilhowie Milling Company was founded by Major Michael Tate in 1882 in Chilhowie, Smyth County, Virginia. Upon his death, James D. Tate inherited the company from his father. According to Chilhowie Town records the mill underwent renovations in 1897. According to materials in the collection, the Mill underwent renovation again in 1917. During the 1917 renovation, the company transitioned from coal powered machinery to steam powered machinery. In 1993, Chilhowie Mill burned in a fire and did not reopen.


"Smyth County." Byrd, Kimberly Barr; Williams, Debra J. Arcadia Publishing. 2005.

"Town of Chilhowie." Website http://www.chilhowie.org/sitecontent/index/page/Town%20History.2015.

Scope and Content

This collection includes correspondence between Chilhowie Milling Company and business partners over a two year period from 1916 and 1917, though there are limited papers in the year of 1916. Additionally, the collection includes business transaction papers that contain form orders, bills, receipts, and marketing aids.

At the beginning of 1917, between February-March 1917, Chilhowie Milling Company communicated with banks, Nordyke and Marmon (Flour Mill Engineers), Norfolk and Western Railway Company, and Millers National Insurance Company to try and move their company to a new building. In addition, the company communicates with Virginia Portland Cement Company about quotes per barrel of cement. At the beginning of March, cement costs 2.22 per barrel, but by March 17th the price raises 10 cents. By March 20th, cement is 2.42 per barrel in cloth sacks vs. 2.17 in paper sacks.

The primary negotiation between Chilhowie Milling Company, Nordyke and Marmon Engineering Company is concluded by the end of July. From April 1917 to June 1917, Chilhowie worked with Nordyke and Marmon Company to create a blueprint of the new mill building. At that Point Chilhowie Milling Company planned to transition from coal powered machinery to steam powered machinery. There were miscommunications between the companies with regards to machinery, build, and shipments primarily in the months of May and June. Though the companies still struggle with communication over shipment orders in July.

In late August and early September 1917, local businesses and livestock farmers contacted Chilhowie Milling Company about business transactions. Over the month of September, final machinery and siding were shipped to the company. Chilhowie Milling Company did not reopen until October first when all of the steam machinery was in place.

October, November, and December correspondence include price estimates and business proposals between Chilhowie, business clients, and colleagues.

Companies in the collection with whom Chilhowie Milling Company corresponded includes:

Bank of Glade Springs
B. D. Smith and Brothers Printers
Bristol Door and Lumber Company
C. A. King and Company
C. A. Shultz Manufacturing Company Incorporated
Crystal Springs Bleachery Company
Douglas Land Company
First National Bank of Roanoke
Ferger Grain Company
Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills
Grayson Supply Company
G. E. Little
Gruendler Crusher and Pulverizing Company
Gulf Bag Company
H. F. Lewis and Company
Hassinger Lumber Company
Invincible Grain Cleaners Company
Louisville Milling Company
Millers National Insurance Company
Mitchell Powers Hardware Company
Morgan and Hamilton Company
Mountain City Mill Company
Nordyke and Marmon Flour Mill Engineers
Norfolk and Western Railway Company
North Western Railroad
Owen and Barker
Phillips and Dillard
Portfield and Company
Rector, Braham and Taylor Incorporated
Rockwood Manufacturing Company
Rosenbaum Brothers
State of Virginia Dairy and Food Division
Troutdale Supply Company
Valley View Farm Corporation
Virginia Iron, Coal, and Coke Company
Virginia Leather Company
Virginia Portland Cement Company
Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company
W. J. Savage Company


This collection is arranged in two series. Series I: Correspondence includes letters to and from various business partners of the Chilhowie Milling Company, written between 1916 and 1917. Letters in this series are arranged in chronological order, with the undated materials at the end.

Series II: Business Papers consists of administrative and official records from the company, including notes, bills, receipts, vouchers, sample contracts, and other items. This series is arranged by material type.

Index Terms


  • Local/Regional History and Appalachian South
  • Geographical Names:

  • Smyth County (Va.)

Contents List

Series I: Correspondence, 1916-1917, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-1
  • Box-folder 1-2
    February 1917
  • Box-folder 1-3
    March 1917
  • Box-folder 1-4
    April 1917
  • Box-folder 1-5
    May 1917
  • Box-folder 1-6
    June 1917
  • Box-folder 1-7
    July 1917
  • Box-folder 1-8
    August 1917
  • Box-folder 1-9
    September 1917
  • Box-folder 1-10
    October 1917
  • Box-folder 11
    November 1917
  • Box-folder 1-12
    December 1917
  • Box-folder 1-13
Series II: Business Papers, 1902-1917, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-14
    Credits, Checks, Vouchers, 1917
  • Box-folder 1-15
    Freight Bills, Receipts, Records of Print, 1917
  • Box-folder 1-16
    Marketing Documents and Sketches, 1916-1917
  • Box-folder 1-17
    Notes and Estimates, 1916-1917
  • Box-folder 1-18
    Orders, August 1917- November 1917
  • Box-folder 1-19
    Sample Contracts, 1917
  • Box-folder 1-20
    Straight Bills of Landing, June 1917-November 1917
  • Box-fFolder 1-21
    Documents (pre-1916), 1902, 1906

    These two items were discovered integrated into the collection in December 2016 while the collection was being digitized. To maintain the chronological organization of the collection and to incorporate them under their correct dates, they were removed to a separate folder.