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For 200 years a grist mill ground the grain for the bread of Cape Codders of this region.  It was located on the Marstons Mills River northeast of the junction of Routes 28 and 149 a site now preserved by the Barnstable Land Trust.

In 1704 the town of Barnstable gave John Stasye permission to dam the river below the existing fulling mill and build a grist mill.  A condition was made it must not damnify the upstream fulling mill.  The mill was soon acquired by the owner of the fulling operation, the first Benjamin Marston.  The Marstons owned the mill for nearly a century until 1813-1814 when half was sold to Chipman Hinckley and Ebenezer Scudder.

Twelve years later the Marstons sold the other half to Chipman's grandson, "the Old Warhorse" Nathaniel Hinckley, who owned the mill for most of the century, along with the mills on the Skunknet River.  One of these has been moved to East Sandwich by John Cullity and restored giving an idea how the Marstons Mills building looked.  Periodic floods washed out the footing of the mill, and Hinckley filled it back in with earth from the bank, leading to complaints of "land-grabbing" by his neighbor the blacksmith Revilo Benson.  Hinckley built a house on the road for his miller Charles Bassett (1796-1873) who ran the post office there.

Hinckley's Widow sold the mill to Albert and Walley Ryder,  the cranberry growers of Cotuit, who improved the bog on the river below Route 28.  Charles C. Fuller ran the mill.  The village storekeepers Leonard and Forest Hamblin bought the mill in 1914 and restored it.  The mill was finally abandoned about 1921.  In 1993 the site was given by Cape Cod Bank & Trust to the Barnstable Land Trust.  An archaeological survey and information display have been discussed.  A severe windstorm blew down the building about 1930, and floods washed away the wheel and much of the foundation, but part of the stone foundation can still be seen.

Sources:  Vivian Cushing "The Village of Marstons Mills"  The Seven Villages of Barnstable, Town of Barnstable, 1976 pp 219-220.  Nathaniel Hinckley, undated letter (c. 1880-?) to Revilo Benson Copy in Marstons Mills Historical Society archives entitled "Grist Mill". 


By Jim Gould

Grist Mill - 1909

Marston's Grist Mill - 1920

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