The water wheel was one of the most advanced pieces of technology available in the early 1800s. For the everyday life of the settler, the water wheel was a valuable community asset. The most common form of water wheel was connected to gristmills which was located near water and connected to a water wheel. In turn, the water wheel harnessed the power of water to turn the large grinding stones attached to mechanisms.
Local settlers such as George Ward used the gristmill to grind wheat into flour. During the early 1800s, the closest gristmill was located in Delaware. This was quite far from Ward’s home and required a lot of work and planning to transport wheat and flour to and from the mill. However, without the water wheel, flour had to be ground by hand. Eventually, George Ward’s family constructed a gristmill on the creek near his home.