1695, Joseph Wood, in open court acknowledged a deed for nine acres - the mill tract - to Bethel. The next year, Dec. 8, 1696, John Bethel sold to Samuel Carpenter, the noted merchant of Philadelphia in those early days, a half-interest in several tracts of land, one being nine acres on Darby Creek, "Upon which last-mentioned piece of land there is three water grist-mills and a fulling mill lately erected." In the same deed it is stated that on the same day of the date of the deed to Carpenter, Bethel had purchased from John Blunston "all that millcat race or Trench digged in and through the said Blunston's land and meadow, from the said Darby Creek toward the said mills." This mill-race to-day follows the course "digged" nearly two centuries ago through Blunston's land. There seems to have been some defect in the deed made to Samuel Carpenter in 1696, for on Jan. 14, 1698, John Bethel, by his friend David Lloyd, acknowledged in open court a deed to Samuel Carpenter, "for the moiety of Darby Mills with the Houses, Improvements, and impliments thereunto belonging," the deed being dated Oct. 13, 1697. Previous to the sale to John Bethel, on the 9th of Twelfth month, 1687, the road leading from Darby to Radnor was laid out. In the assessment made in 1695, the Darby and Chester mills were each rated at one hundred pounds, and they were the most valuable properties in the county.
In Gabriel Thomas' "History of Pennsylvania," printed in 1698, he mentions "the famous Darby River, which comes down from the country by Darby town, wherein are several mills, viz., - fulling-mills, corn-mills," etc. On a draft of the Queen's road from Darby to Chester, now in possession of Hon. Jacob Serrill, of Darby, made in 1705, these mills are distinctly marked. John Bethel remained at these mills until his death, which occurred before 1708, for on the 26th of August, in that year, John Bethel, of Darby, miller, son and heir of John Bethel, late of Darby, also a miller, confirmed the sale of a part interest in the mills to his brother-inlaw, Job Harvey, "Stuffor." This deed recites that John Bethel, Sr., was seized in his lifetime of all those water-, corn-, or grist-mills, and a fulling-mill, "commonly called or known by the name of Darby Mills," and John Bethel, Sr., in his lifetime had sold to his son-in-law, Job Harvey, one-fourth part of the messuage "whereon the said Job now dwells, and also of said fulling-mill." From this it is evident that John Bethel, the younger, was carrying on the grist-mill, and Job Harvey the fulling-mill at the time John Bethel, the elder, died. About 1725, Job Harvey purchased the fulling-mill on Ridley Creek, now the site of the Media Water-Works.
In 1747 the Darby Mills were owned by Joseph Bonsall, of Darby, who, on November 3d of that year, conveyed to Richard Lloyd three full parts of five and a half acres of land, and of the "water-, corn-, or grist-mills, commonly called Darby Mills," with the bolting-house, bolting-mills, and other appurtenances. The fulling-mill was not mentioned in the deed. In 1764, Richard Lloyd having died, and his widow married to Lewis Davis, the property was vested in Lewis Davis, Isaac Lloyd, and Hugh Lloyd, the two last named being the sons of Richard Lloyd. From 1764 to 1802 the mills were assessed to Isaac Lloyd, who, in 1782, built a saw-mill, and from 1802 to 1814 to Richard Lloyd, at which date they were the property of Thomas Steel. While the Darby Mill was operated by Isaac Lloyd, Capt. James Serrill was one of his apprentices, and learned the trade of a miller.
The first mention of the name of Steel is in an assessment of the county in 1766, in Upper Darby township, when James Steel was assessed on a grist-mill. He is later followed by Thomas Steel, who appears in Upper Darby until 1814. He removed to Darby township the next year, where he had the old Darby Mills. In 1826 the capacity of these was thirty to forty thousand bushels of grain, and of two to three hundred thousand feet of lumber per annum. They were owned by Thomas Steel until 1861, but while he held title he had sold them several times, but for some reason was compelled to take them from the purchasers. On one occasion they were sold to an Englishman, who tore out the grist-mill machinery, with the intention of enlarging the buildings, which he failed to do, and Thomas Steel was compelled to refit them at a considerable outlay of money. In 1861 the property, including the fulling-mill, was purchased by Simeon Lord, and occupied by Joseph L. Saeger. On July 2, 1862, they were destroyed by fire. The same year Simeon Lord built Mill No. 1, which, on May 15, 1867, was partially burned. Again the owner repaired the mill, which he operated as a worsted-factory for several years, when they were sold by the sheriff to John Cattell, who enlarged the building and sold the property to William A. Griswold. It is now used by the Griswold Worsted Company (Limited) as a worsted-factory. Mill No. 1 is a three-storied stone building, three hundred by forty-five feet. In 1880, William A. Griswold erected along the creek, and a short distance farther down, Mill No. 2, a four-story brick building, one hundred and fifty-seven by fifty feet, for the manufacture of silk yarn. The machinery in these mills is driven by two engines of one hundred and sixty-five horse-power each. The Griswold Worsted Company (Limited) was organized in 1882, and the mills are at present operated by that company.
Oakford Fulling-Mill. - The early history of this mill is given in the sketch of the mills of the Griswold Worsted Company. It was a part of the Darby Mills from 1695, the date of its erection, until its destruction, in 1859. It is not mentioned in the deed from Joseph Bonsall to Richard Lloyd in 1747, but in 1764 it was owned and operated by Isaac and Hugh Lloyd, sons of Richard. In 1766 it was oper-