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Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence,

Identifier: Ms-1989-086

Scope and Contents

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


  • 1902-1917, n.d.


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

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


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)


The collection contains correspondence and business papers from 1916-1917, 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.


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.

Source of Acquisition

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

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

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.

Chilhowie Milling Company Correspondence, 1916-1917
Kaitlyn Britt, Student Intern, and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
2015 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-09-02: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US