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Ayres [Ayers] Family

                                                        V. M. Ayres [Ayers].
Arkansas City Traveler, May 4, 1881.
We are informed, on good authority, that Mr. V. M. Ayers, of Illinois, who was at this city a short time since in search of a location for a mill, has finally decided in favor of Arkansas City, and will remove his mill from Henry County, Illinois, forthwith. Mr. Ayers and his family are highly respected in the community where they have lately resided, and we shall have much pleasure in welcoming them to our social circle.
Arkansas City Traveler, May 18, 1881.
A mill site with 20 acres of land adjacent and a 60 horse­power, with option of increasing the same if desired, has been leased by the A. C. W. P. C. Co. to Mr. V. M. Ayers, of Illinois, who was here for several days last week. Mr. Ayers has left the necessary authority for the immediate construction of a suitable stone building for a mill, which we presume will very shortly be under headway. This gentleman is financially solid, and we take much pleasure in chronicling this, the initial step, in the future important milling interests of our city.
Mr. Ayers has rented E. J. Godfrey's new house, and will shortly arrive here with his family.
Arkansas City Traveler, July 27, 1881.
We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. G. N. Abbott last week. Mr. Abbott will have charge of the mill of V. M. Ayers when completed, as well as assisting in its completion.
Work upon the foundation of the mill, in course of erection by V. M. Ayers upon the canal, is about completed, and the super­structure will be the next on the tapis. During last week Mr. Ayers received six carloads of material and a turbine wheel for the above and the work of putting the same upon the foundation and preparing the waterway, etc., will be commenced at once.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 3, 1881.
Mr. V. M. Ayers, the gentleman who is putting up the new flouring mill on the canal, southeast of town, called upon the TRAVELER last Monday morning, and helped us to spend a half hour very pleasantly. From him we learn that the work upon the superstructure is going on as fast as possible, and if nothing adverse happens, the mill will be enclosed and shingled in two or three days. Sixteen hands are now employed thereon, and it is hoped to have it in running order in about two months time. At first the mill will have four run of burrs, with a producing power of over one hundred barrels per day, but should occasion demand it, its facilities can be largely increased. Work upon the mill race is in progress, and the water-wheel will shortly be in position.
Arkansas City Traveler, December 21, 1881.
Mr. Ayers informs us that he expects to have his mill in shape to commence grinding about the middle of January. Workmen are now busily engaged in putting the wheel into position.
Arkansas City Traveler, January 4, 1882.
A side track is to be laid to V. M. Ayres mill on the canal, and the orders for its construction have been given to the R. R. company.
Arkansas City Traveler, January 4, 1882.

An accident occurred at the Ayers Mill last week which will unfortunately prevent the machinery being put in motion for at least thirty days longer than was anticipated and necessitate an outlay of over $500 to repair the damage done. It was hoped the mill would be in shape for custom work anyhow, by January 15th, 1882, but this unlooked for occur-rence will postpone that much looked for event at the least till the middle of February. It would appear that the tackle with which they undertook to lower the water-wheel into position was inadequate to support the strain, and breaking, precipitated the wheel, weighing some three tons, to the bottom of the wheel race, completely demolishing the outer race. The repairs will have to come from the East, hence causing the delay and expense above stated.
Arkansas City Traveler, February 15, 1882.
We are pleased to state Mr. V. M. Ayres received his new wheel casing yesterday and proposes to make things hum at his mill within a few days.
Arkansas City Traveler, February 22, 1882.
The Water wheel at V. M. Ayers' mill was safely lowered into position on Thursday last and the work of preparing the machin­ery and interior of the mill is being rapidly pushed forward. It is hoped all will be ready inside of two weeks from this date.
Arkansas City Traveler, March 29, 1882.
Ayres' Canal Mills are now in full blast.
Arkansas City Traveler, April 19, 1882.
                                                            The Canal Mills.
It is but one year ago that Mr. Ayres, the proprietor of the above mills, came to this section of the Southwest while in search of a location for a mill, yet last week saw, as the result of that visit, the successful completion and starting of the finest mill yet erected in this section of the country. Before entering into a minute description of the water-powered build­ing, machinery, etc., we will say a few words with reference to the novel features of the undertaking, the advantages of the gradual reduction process, and other improvements.
There are three methods of milling at present in use, which may be designated as “Old Style,” “New Process,” and “Gradual Reduction.” “Old Style” is that generally pursued by the majori­ty of small custom and grist mills, while the “New Process” consists in purifying and regrinding the middlings made in the old way, and may be said to be half way between the “Old Style” and “Gradual Reduction” milling of the present day.
Gradual Reduction, as its name implies, consists in reducing the wheat to flour, shorts, and bran, by several successive operations, or reductions, technically called breaks, the process going on gradually, each break leaving the material a little finer than the preceding one. Usually five reductions or breaks are made, though six or seven may be used. The larger the number of breaks, the more complicated the system becomes, and it is preferable to keep it as simple as possible, for even at its simplest it requires a good, wide-awake, thinking miller to handle it successfully. When it is thoroughly and systematically carried out in the mill, it is without question as much in advance of the New Process as that is ahead of the old style of milling.
The mill building is a frame structure of three stories in height, 30 x 36 feet, with a frame lean-to of two stories, 26 x 36 feet, the whole being mounted upon substantial stone foundation walls three feet in thickness. There are also an office and store room fitted with 4 ton scales separate from the mill proper.

The capacity of the mill, when in full run, is 150 barrels per day. Every convenience, for doing both custom and merchant grinding, is provided, the reels for which are kept separate, so that a man bringing his grist to mill can, if he so wishes, secure the flour from his own wheat and will not be kept waiting very long either.
The machinery of the mill is run by a 20 foot head of water, which sets in motion an American Turbine wheel, with a diameter of sixty inches, capable of transmitting sixty horse power. It is run in a forebay [?] of masonry, the outside measurement of which is twenty feet, inside 10 feet, further strengthened by four 3/4-inch stayrods anchored into the walls every three feet.
The interior arrangements of the mill have been made with a special view to the convenient dispatch of business, and the different parts of the complicated machinery which compose the Canal Mills is distributed about as follows.
In the basement we find the Line Shaft, which is driven by a pair of mitre wheels of nine inch base and 59 cogs with a pitch of 2-1/2 inches. One wheel is fitted with wooden and the other iron cogs, thus assuring comparative outlet in working. The burs frame is placed on solid masonry 30 x 8 feet and 6 feet in height, and supports 4 spindles, two of which  are fitted with bevel gear and two with belt and upright shaft with bevel gear. The cleaning machinery, run by a belt wheel on the main shaft, consists of a Barnard & Lease Separator, Eureka Smutter, Eureka Brush, and a Monogram Blower of the Steubenbaker pattern.
We also find on this floor a Corn sheller capable of shelling 2,000 bushels a day, by which patrons of the mill can have their corn shelled without any extra charge. One convenient feature is that the grain can be fed to the sheller direct from the wagon on the outside, or from the inside, as circumstances render conve­nient. There are wheat and corn bins on this floor, the former having a capacity of 2,000 bushels and the latter of 800 bushels.
We now come to the first, or main, business floor, upon which are found four run of stones mounted on a line hurst, three sets of rolls, one pair of reduction rolls, one pair of smooth rolls, for middlings, and a pair of corrugated rolls for bran. There are fifteen elevator stems on this floor, a steam generator, for heating wheat and warming hurst, two flour bins, one Barnard & Lease flour packer, and large corn meal and bran bin.
The first thing that attracts attention on the second floor are four bolting reels, two of which are 30 inches in diameter and 20 feet long, and two 32 inches in diameter and 18 feet long. Flour bin for packer, a corn meal bolt, middlings bin, and large bran bin. The counter shaft for driving the purifiers and bran duster on the upper floors are also in this part of the mill.
Upon the upper or third floor are six reels, two 30 inches in diameter and 20 feet long, two 32 inches in diameter and 18 feet long; the scalping reel 32 inches in diameter and 12 feet long, and the reduction roll reel 30 inches in diameter and 12 feet long. There are also 17 elevators, bran duster, purifier with all the requisite machinery for working the same to the best advantage.
We congratulate Mr. Ayres upon the successful completion of this enterprise, and doubt not the advantages, offered by him to the farmers of this section, will meet with a ready response. 
In this connection a word of credit is due to Mr. G. W. Abbott, of Avon, Fulton Co., Illinois, who has had charge of the construction of the mill. Mr. Abbott is a thorough mill wright, and the Canal Mills are a testimony to his ability.

We under­stand that Wm. Speers has secured the services of Mr. Abbott to get his new mill in running shape.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum