The grist mill at Susquehanna State Park in Havre de Grace was originally built in 1798 and ground flour for domestic and international markets of the time. Source: Md. Dept. of Natural Resources.

This Week’s Kent County History Quiz Question: What is origin of Urieville Lake?

A. Built for public enjoyment
B. Built as reservoir for town water supply
C. Built as wildlife refuge
D. Built as millpond

This Week’s Answer: Millpond.

The early history of the site suggests that in 1710 Daniel Perkins (1685-1774) acquired the land and “the right to dam the stream”  to provide power for a grist mill.  It is also thought that his house and mill, which was nearby, were burned at the time of the Revolutionary War.  Perkins rebuilt the mill, but then acquired an adjacent parcel of land and built a new home in 1721 up the hill from the millpond.

Parts of this dwelling formed the basis of one of the existing examples of Kent County 18th-century houses.  It can be seen today from Rte. 213 near the access point of Perkins Hill Road to Rte. 213, and is known as “White House Farm” or, according to H. Chandlee Forman, the “Thomas Perkins House.”  Thomas Perkins (1720-1768) was Daniel Perkins’s son.  During this period the area was known as Perkins Mills.

The Grist Mill at Perry Point in Cecil County was built in 1750 on Perry Point Plantation, the peninsula that now houses the Veteran Administration medical center. Photo is of restored mill open to the public. Source: Preservation Maryland.

In traveling by the dam on MD Rte. 213 today, it is hard to imagine that in the latter part of the 19th century or earlier that the lake area had become known as Urieville and was the site of a busy flour milling community with an estimated 40 buildings in the village.  Three generations of the Urie family along with others in related businesses owned and operated multiple mills.  Only the foundation of one mill and the “miller’s house” remain today.  They are privately owned.

Urieville Lake, originally Perkins Mills’ millpond, was formed by damming Morgan Creek, a tributary of the Middle Chester River at the point where it is no longer tidal.  It is shaped like a Y.  The dam is found at the bottom of the Y.   The lake today is 35 acres in size with an average depth of  3 feet, and is home to a Department of Natural Resources fishery that encourages breeding of bass and bluegill fish, although other species are also among them.  The dam was rebuilt in 1955 as a restoration project and to “provide a base” for MD Rte. 213.

The Pilot thanks all the researchers that have left us such a rich legacy.

For an excellent background on the history of Perkins and Urie residences that relate to Urieville Lake, refer to Historic Houses of Kent County, by Michael O. Bourne and edited by Eugene H. Johnstone, 1985.

The Kent County History Quiz is a weekly local brainteaser sponsored by The Peoples Bank. Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey contributes to the quiz’s development. Our goal is to create an opportunity for local learning and discussion. If you have a quiz idea, send it to steve@kentpilot.org.