At about the time of the Britain acquisition, the independent, small gristmills were beginning to be threatened by larger scale operations made possible by much cheaper transportation. The Britain family continued to operate the mill and to support subsequent generations, but expansion of the mill had ceased by then.
John Britain hired his nephew, Alva Britain, a millwright and miller, to operate the mill. About three years later, Alva moved his family to Monett, MO, to manage a larger mill. To replace Alva, John Britain’s daughter, Bette, who was the bookkeeper and office manager, learned to operate the buhrs and flourmill.
Eventually, John’s son, “Wash” Britain assumed responsibility for the milling operations, moving his family back from Seattle, WA. He was creative and a good merchandiser. He made, mixed, and marketed the first locally produced self-rising flour. He then switched to feed stocks for poultry and cattle. He installed a power unit for operation during times of low water.
In the mid-1940’s the mill’s dam was dynamited, perhaps by fishermen or perhaps by farmers concerned about flooding. Wash Britain by then was in poor health and had serious trouble in finding trained help for the mill. He reluctantly elected to discontinue commercial operations, resulting in the mill’s gradual physical demise.
After over a century of successful production and a center of community life, the mill was retired, yielding most of its machinery to scrap dealers.
Earliest Days 1840-1856
Belated Cellar Rehab 2016