The grist stone that was used in Amherst’s founder Jacob Shupe’s grist mill, now preserved at his Homestead and New Indian Ridge Museum, was the subject of a study June 13 by Dr. Joe Hannibal, Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his team of interns.
Dr. Hannibal is studying millstones, more specifically their material and whether they were locally quarried or imported from France. His study in this area originally began through a survey of old gravestones.
“Chert,” Dr. Hannibal stated, “became the favored stone type after locally found granite was used.” He stated that this local granite most likely originated as “glacial erratics” from Canada, being pushed here during the last Ice Age glaciation event. During his time here at the Homestead, he described his study, telling us that tiny fossils found in French buhrstones were unique to material found in that region and could be differentiated from more local sources, because of the presence or absence of those indicator fossils.
After a couple of hours spent thoroughly studying the stone, using hand lenses, determining the stone’s makeup, and taking precise measurements, Dr. Hannibal confirmed our research that this stone was carved from a large glacial erratic boulder that originated from the Canadian Shield. It was pushed down here during the last Ice Age Glaciation event, and later Jacob Shupe chose this stone, found along Beaver Creek, out of which he carved this mill buhr. It is runnerstone, which sat atop, nearly touching, the stationary bedstone that rested in the mill floor. Shupe’s mill, the first in this section of the county, was started c. 1813.
An abbreviated tour of the New Indian Ridge Museum was taken, before the research team had to leave to study another mill stone at another site in the Western Reserve. We thank Dr. Hannibal and his team for coming out to view the stone and look forward to the future published data.