windmillBenjamin Boyd shared his family’s history with wind mills in a 1942 newspaper article  for the Fall River Herald. Although Boyd’s Mill stood in Portsmouth for many years, it has been moved to Paradise Park in Middletown and has been carefully preserved by the Middletown Historical Society.  The mill stood nearby West Main Road in Portsmouth by Mill Lane.

In the article Boyd states that  John Peterson, a retired ship captain, built the mill in 1810.  Boyd comments that the millers are very much like “sea captains” in the skills they need to manage the mills in bad weather.  The timber came from Wickford across the bay.  The article gives many details about the construction of Boyd’s Mill.  The main shaft is twenty-two inches in diameter and nineteen feet long and is made of hard Georgia pine. The Boyd Mill is unusual in that it has eight arms – each  thirty one feet long.  The arms carries sails twenty-eight feet four inches wide. The Boyds bought it after their Bristol Ferry mill was blown to pieces in the Gale of 1815. Boyd shares how difficult it was for millers when Rhode Island farms switched from growing grain to truck farming. To keep going, the Boyd family promoted the famous Rhode Island Johnny Cake meal. Their meal was shipped as far as South America.

The entire article is well worth reading.  You can find it under the “Collections” section of the Portsmouth Historical Society website:  portsmouthhisrorical.org.  Look for the Scrapbook images.

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