The McCaskill family left a large footprint on the establishment of successful mills in Shannon and Texas Counties of Missouri. Sparked by the era of a booming timber trade in the Ozarks, and helped along by new railroad lines, their influence spread.
The McCaskills migrated to Winona, Missouri in 1855. William McCaskill served in the Confederate army during the Civil War, following the footsteps of his father who had served under Andrew Jackson “Old Hickory” during the War of 1812.
William’s son, James McCaskill, worked with his father until his marriage at the age of 24. He married Alcy Summers, daughter of Jesse and Ditha Summers.
The Summers family were early settlers of the Texas County and the town of Summersville is named for them. The town is split by the border of Texas and Shannon County. James and his brother George operated both a prosperous farm and store in that frontier town.
Alcy passed away in 1881 so she did not get to see her husband add the grist mill to the operations in 1886. Local farmers had been making a ten-mile journey to Barricklow Mill (Bear Claw) for their milling needs and the brothers saw an opportunity. The mill was powered by steam and water was provided by the construction of a large pond out back.
To keep up with demand, a larger mill was completed in 1894, and a roller process was added. That mill still stands, complete with the milling equipment.