The North Carolina Visitor Center




Trade, TN

The Trade Tennessee Grist Mill

All photos and illustrations by Pat Johns ©2009 - present
All Rights Reserved

April 2009

Trade is the oldest town in Tennessee. In the early 1770s it was a trading area for Indians and fur traders and is located on an old buffalo trail. Daniel Boone also followed this trail into East Tennessee and later to Kentucky.

Today Trade is still a very small town on the road between Boone North Carolina and Mountain City Tennessee. Each year it sponsors the Trade Days Festival honoring its early history and in 2008 it opened The Trade Grist Mill, a restored version of a local flour mill.

According to the Mountain City newspaper, The Tomahawk (see link below):

      "Thomas Jones built the original mill shortly after 1802. It was bought several years later by Pleasant May and his wife Callie Wilson May. While the Mays owned the mill tragedy struck when Callie was caught on a revolving shaft and dashed to her death on the floor of the building. W. R. Snyder and his wife Clara Lou bought the mill in 1915 and moved there in 1925. Their son Pete operated the mill for many years before his health failed."


The mill was purchased in 2004 by Dennis & Diane Foley who donated the mill equipment to the local museum. The new mill was built through the efforts of many and opened in August 2008.

The mill is operated by James Miller, a man with a long family history in this business. He worked in a mill in Abingdon, Virginia and both his father and grandfather worked in mills.


Today, the mill grinds (and sells in its store) whole wheat flours, rye flour, flax seeds and flours, corn meals, soy flour and new favorites popcorn meal and popcorn grits. Some of the equipment used in the mill was made before the Civil War.

The grains for these products are purchased from local growers. The shop in the mill also sells locally-made jams, jellies and crafts.

The Trade Grist Mill is open Thursdays through Mondays from 9 to 5. Their phone number is (423)727-3007

For more information, see links below.

Links to references in this article:


This article originally appeared in Watauga Lake Magazine: