Industry played a huge part in Tottenville’s history, probably the precursor to the not so distant past, when I met many original residents of Tottenville who never wanted to venture beyond Page Avenue. If it wasn’t in Tottenville, they didn’t want or need it. Back in the early 1900’s travelling was more difficult. Industry provided needs for the town right here in Tottenville through necessity. People living in Tottenville, worked in Tottenville, providing the necessities of life for the rest of Tottenville….the original “Mom & Pop” store concept, although back then it was mainly “Pop & Sons.”
Disosway’s was the only grist mill to serve Tottenville for over 200 years, begun around 1700 by Cornelius Disosway. A grist mill grounds grain, so necessary at that time. In 1786, Cornelius left the mill to his sons, Cornelius and Israel. As years went by, the name of the mill changed as the ownership changed, since most industries were family businesses named after the family that owned it.
In the 1800’s it was Butler Mills. Many years later, it became Cole’s Mills. The apparent last owner, W. Weir, added a saw mill in 1870, with the subsequent name becoming Weir’s Grist & Saw Mills. Shortly after 1900, the mill was entirely razed, removing it from the Tottenville landscape and concluding a long history as a business there.
Links to information:
Disosway’s Mill http://www.tottenvillehistory.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=24