Watch as Lauren Shank and Austin Candler, students at Amherst County High School, perform "A Living History" of Brightwell's Mill. They take on the magnificent roles of Mr. and Mrs. Brightwell, who bought and operated the Mill, all those years ago. This video was a special opportunity for us at Brightwell's Mill, because it allowed us to work together with the community, to create something truly remarkable. It was also a way for us to communicate the historical significance of the mill, and the necessity for wanting to save it. 


A Big Thanks To: 

Clear Water Branch

ACHS Tech Club

Lauren Shank & Austin Candler


A Living History 

1826-
Earliest court records of the gristmill and sawmill, owned by William Burford

1833- 

Will of William Burford, leaves "the mill" to the Mays family until 1863. 

1920-

Harmon and Lessie(Mays) Brightwell purchased the mill and millers home. 

1942-

After the total rainfall of 7.97 inches, the dam was breached, and the mill was lost. 

1943- 

Mr. Brightwell with the help of the friends and family reopened, despite war time rationing. 


Through the Ages

Brightwell's Mill has been standing since before the 1820's, only once having been rebuilt after torrential rainfall in August 1942 breached the wooden/earthen dam, and carried everything downstream. The mill has served local farmers of Amherst and Nelson counties by providing 100% water powered, stone ground flour, and mixed feed, carrying the legacy of a time when "problems seemed simpler, and when men created food from the Earth". 

A Brief History

Preserving a historical landmark of Amherst, Virginia

Brightwell's Mill