In 1703 Benjamin Clark of Medfield deeded to his son Edward one-half of his quarter of a grist mill on the Charles River.
This proves that the mill, on the site of the later Sanford Mill, was in operation at this early time. In 1706, Deacon
John Whiting of Wrentham paid 48 pounds for this mill.The grantors were Benjamin and Edward Clark, one quarter; Joseph Metcalf,
one quarter; Isaac Wheeler, one quarter, and Eleazer Ellis, one quarter.
With the exception of Edward Clark, these men,
all of Medfield, were the builders of the grist mill. None of them ever lived in Medway.
The property was described as
"All our rights, title, and interest in a grist mill and lands appertaining, with the irons, stones, dam, housing, and implements
in and about the mill. Said mill standing upon Charles River in Medfield and upstream said River from a place commonly known
as 'The Bent of the River.'"
The Flat in Medway at the bottom of Village Hill was always called "The Bent."
came the "Bent Bridge" at Walker Street, and "Bent Street" in the Populatic Lake section known as "Latic."
Soon after Deacon
Whiting bought this property, the later site of the Sanford Mills, he put his son Nathaniel in charge.
The Deacon was
born in Wrentham in 1690, and in 1710, he married Margaret Mann, daughter of Rev. Samuel Mann of Wrentham. He then built a
dwelling east of the mill that burned in 1811.
The Whitings were a race of millers - Nathaniel-1 in Dedham, John-2 in Wrentham,
and Nathaniel-3 in Medway New Grant.
Deacon Whiting was a Captain, and served in the French and Indian Wars. He was Selectman
for several years, and was a prime mover in the establishment of the new precinct of 1749.
He was an original member and
Ruling Elder in the Second Church, owned several slaves, amassed a comfortable fortune for his day, and settled his two sons
in mills of their own.
The Deacon died in in 1779 aged 88, and is buried in the old cemetery in West Medway.
The second mill built on the site was the White Mill - a cotton thread and fabric mill built in 1811. The White
Mill was razed to make way for the current building in 1881. Sanford Mill was used for wool manufacturing and later
candle-making. It was converted to condominiums in 1989.
A wooden walkway was constructed over the dam to allow passage to Franklin on the far side of the river.
sources: BIOGRAPHY: http://www.medwaylib.org/EarlySettlers.htm and Images of America: Medway by
G. Hoag and P.Howker.