Tucked in the rural forests of Darke County, Ohio is the historic Bear`s Mill, where buhr stone ground flours & meals are produced. Built in 1849 by Gabriel Baer, Bear`s Mill is one of the few operating water powered mills left in Ohio today. The site and it`s water rights were granted to Major George Adams by President James Monroe in 1824.
The 'jeanius squad' from All American Clothing Co. visited Bear`s Mill recently for a tour with Master Miller Terry Clark. He shared with us many legendary stories that we will be featuring on All American Life.
None were more legendary than ‘The Legendary Legend of Rufus McCooter…’
Rufus McCooter has been described as an unusual being that roams Bear`s Mill causing mischief with his pranks. He has been heard stepping through the building, shutting doors, and dropping objects. To date, nobody has seen Rufus McCooter.
While many are skeptical of McCooter`s existence, scientists have visited the Bear`s Mill property to track his whereabouts. According to Master Miller Terry Clark, paranormal scientists have spent the night to produce evidence of mysterious activity taking place at Bear`s Mill throughout the evening hours.
Current Master Miller Terry Clark theorizes that McCooter`s existence originates from a previous master miller at Bear`s Mill. According to Clark, when working the mill alone he sometimes forgets to shut the main door. When he does, McCooter will sometimes shut it aggressively for him as if he done something wrong.
Clark also tells us that he, himself will play pranks on visitors of the mill and say it was Rufus McCooter, leaving this legendary tale up for your own interpretation.
Whether it is Terry himself or a spiritual being, the legendary tale of Rufus McCooter is one we`ll never forget!
Terry and Julie Clark acquired the Bear’s Mill property in 1978 and ran it independently for over twenty years. The Clarks came naturally as caretakers of Bear’s Mill. Terry, having a fascination for old buildings and their workings was immediately drawn to the mill, and Julie, a potter, found the natural rustic setting of the mill and property appealing to her artistic senses.
In 1999, the Clarks started a non-profit organization to keep the historic mill open for the public to enjoy. But, in October 2013 Bear’s Mill and the surrounding property was purchased by The Friends of Bear’s Mill non-profit organization through funding received from a Clean Ohio Fund Grant administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission. Additional funds were provided by the Darke County Soil and Water District in return for a conservation easement guaranteeing the property would remain undeveloped and environmentally preserved. Further support was also provided by previous Mill owners Terry & Julie Clark. The Friends of Bear’s Mill are responsible for management, fiscal responsibility and operations, as well as maintenance of the 35 acres of woodlands, dams and levees on the Mill property. The Friends of Bear’s Mill now governs it with a goal is to keep the mill preserved and open for touring & educational purposes.
Visit the Bear`s Mill website today to help preserve its history! __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________