Nathey Gristmill - built 1857/Bridge Dedication 2007

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"The mill cannot grind with the water that is past."
~ Daniel D. Palmer

Nathey Gristmill 1857

Warren Armstrong received his homestead on April 9, 1901:

 "Lot 4 SW ¼ of SE ¼ Section 6 and Lot 2 Section 7 TIS of R22W containing 153.30 acres, along the water on the East side of Boggy Bayou." (Note: The Nathey Gristmill was built on this property in 1857 when it was still public land. Those coming by water with grain for the mill to process could put in at Mill Creek on Boggy Bayou and walk the trail to the gristmill.)

June 6, 1903 - Warranty Deed:

"Warren and Lula Armstrong to J.W. Hutson (Hudson) the: 4 acres in the NE corner of Lot #4, and 1 Acre in the NW corner of the SW ¼ of SE ¼, all in Section 6 Township 1 S, Range 22 W upon which is located the water grist mill (Nathey Gristmill) and residence of the said J.W. Hutson."

December 11, 1911 - Warranty Deed:

"Jessie A. and Annie Edge of Niceville, Florida for $450 to Lafayette W. Willingham of Niceville, Fla., 4 acres in the NE corner of Lot 4 and 1 acre in the NW corner of the SW ¼ of SE ¼ all in Section 6 T1S R22W upon which is located the water grits mill (Nathey Gristmill) and residence of L. W. Willingham all being and being in Walton County."

Niceville:
"J. A. Edge and family have moved from the gristmill (Nathey Gristmill) to B. P. Edge’s farm on Weekly Bayou.” (The Breeze DeFuniak Springs 12/28/1911)

April 22, 1914 - Warranty Deed:

"Lafayette and Addie Willingham of Niceville, Florida to James W. Moore of Niceville, Florida for $450; Four acres in the NE corner of Lot 4 and 1 acre in the NW corner of the SW ¼ of SE ¼. All in Section 6 T1S R22W upon which is located the water grits mill (Nathey Gristmill) and residence of J.W. Moore."

The first proposed plat of Niceville drawn November 21, 1918 and filed March 24, 1920 showing the location of the Nathey gristmill at Trout Lake.
Niceville Plat 1918

January 5, 1920 - Warranty Deed:

"Jessie Dassinger, Clyde Dassinger and Mary A. Dassinger to Wm. L. McCollum & Co, Trustee for the Valparaiso Development Co., of Valparaiso, Fla., their: Four acres in the North East corner of Lot Four and one acre in the North West corner of the Southwest Quarter of the SE Quarter all in Section 6 TIS Range 22 W upon which is located the water grits mill (Nathey Gristmill) and residence of J.W. Moore. Also the following described and beginning at North East corner of lot four Section Six TIS R22 West thence running west six chains and thirty six links to point of beginning thence West one chain to corner thence South ten chains and Fifty four links thence East seven chains and thirty six links to creek thence North four chains and eighteen links thence West six chains and thirty six links thence North six chains and thirty six links to point of beginning all being in Okaloosa County, Florida containing eight acres, more or less."

Mill Picture

March 1, 1922 - Warranty Deed:
"State of Florida County of Escambia. This conveyance, by Wm. L. McCollum and Company whereof William L McCollum is sole owner, to James E. Plew, Certain real estate was vested in the said William L. McCollum & Company, Trustee for the Valparaiso Development Company, a corporation, and Valparaiso Development Company, an unincorporated association. The said VDC, an unincorporated association, the assignee and transferee of the rights of the said VDC, a corporation was adjudicated a bankrupt in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Florida, and through due and proper action of said Court Coveyance of all the assets of said bankrupt, both legal and equitable, was made to James E. Plew.
      Therefore, for $1 paid by James E. Plew, I the said William L. McCollum trading as William L. McCollum and Company sold to James E. Plew: 4 acres in the NE corner of Lot 4 and 1 acre in the NW corner of SW 1/4 of SE 1/4, Section 6, T1S R22W upon which is located the water grits mill (Nathey Gristmill) and residence of J.W. Moore. Also the following described land, at the NE corner of Lot 4 section 6 T1S R22W (etc.) eight acres." (On Warren Armstrong homestead)

Niceville, Florida: "Niceville bears the distinction of being one of the earliest settlements in Okaloosa County and has for many years been the center of the commercial fishing industry of the Choctawhatchee Bay region. In fact the industry is the basis of the community's prosperity and many thousands of dollars are annually paid to fishermen and plant employees. The Niceville Fish Co., operated by Mr. Claude Meigs, and the Spence Bros. Fish Co. are the leading commercial fishing industries and maintain pretentious fish warehouses and fleets of fishing boats. Niceville has a substantial business background, practically all lines of retail business being represented. Here also is located the High School of the southern section of Okaloosa County. The CCC maintains a large encampment just outside of the limits of the city. There is much historic background also in and around Niceville one being that of the story of an old mill built prior to the Civil War (Nathey Gristmill) and which is still located on the Golf Course of the Valpariso Country Club, which is adjacent to Niceville." (Source: The Valpariso News and West Florida Review December 20, 1939)

JJohn Nathey Obituary

Gristmill Stones uncovered 1957 and donated to Okaloosa and Walton County Historical Society, 1971:
Rolling Stones

Donation

Milestones


Mill Article BAy Beacon 2000

Congressional Record

Nathey Bridge Dedication 2007

WJN Inaugural Civic Hall of Fame

July 28, 2016

Civic Hall of Fame Inductee

WJN Pic Hall of Fame Mr. William John Nathey, nominated by Elisa Mitchiner. Nathey was born June 22, 1846 at the head of Boggy Bayou just one year after Florida became a state. He worked with his father to make Niceville a livable community by building a gristmill used by families from miles away. His family also owned and operated a cedar shingle business and transported their goods to Pensacola by schooners – the primary mode of transportation at that time.

Nathey and his wife, the former Mary Jane Bolton had 5 sons and 2 daughters and were among the first 30 charter members who established the Methodist Church now known as Crosspoint. He also donated land to allow roads and bridges to be built in order to promote commerce.

After his death in 1917 his widow continued to donate property to further develop roads and in 1924, his son donated seven acres of his inherited land for a new Niceville High School – the first in south Okaloosa County and the only school for the military families at Eglin Field. Today it is Edge Elementary. Portions of his old homestead are now Turkey Creek Walk – enjoyed by thousands each year.