In 1936, the Homan family expanded the mill from a four-story, gambrel-roofed structure to what it is today. The work was done by Ike Simmons, a local millwright.13 Originally water powered, in its later years, the mill ran on a diesel engine.
Richard Homan, Virgil and Leafy’s second son, took over the milling business in 1946 after his return from World War II. Despite being a man of extraordinary experiences and accomplishments, his granddaughter, Hannah Byrd DuPoy, says that running the mill was one of his purest joys. He was proud of the mill’s buckwheat and enjoyed peddling it across the state.
Hannah wrote, “My grandfather passed when I was fifteen. My mom and I talk frequently about how much we regret not asking him more about his time running the mill. He was a fantastic storyteller and shared many tales, but we have so many questions about what would have been mundane tasks. Folks always say he could hear, from whatever floor he was on, if something was malfunctioning, and could correct the problem just as quickly.”
Regarding the mill, she wrote, “It’s as if, one day, everyone walked out and left things just as they were. It’s such a treasure to our family.”14
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