Jolly Mill – Pierce City, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

Jolly Mill

Pierce City, Missouri

First crafted during the 19th century, the mill was fully restored in 1983.  

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Jollification, Missouri was a town built around the thriving Jolly Mill. Harnessing the water of Capps Creek, the mill functioned as a distillery and rest stop for stagecoaches. It is rumored the mill was named by the town drunk, who would show up every day for his “jollification.”  

After the American Civil War, the town of Jollification (aside from Jolly Mill) was burned to the ground by Baldknobbers, a legendary Ozarkian gang of men in black and white striped horned masks. John Isbell, owner, and founder of Jolly Mill was an enslaver and exploited enslaved people to build his mill. Other businesses in Jollification housed Union prisoners of war. Baldknobbers, at the time, were affiliated with Union forces.

The mill continued to be used as a distillery until 1875 when a federal tax on liquor was passed, and Isbell threw in the towel. In 1983, W.F. Haskins purchased the mill with the dream to create a public park. In the late 1990s, the mill was ready for grist grinding demonstrations.

Know Before You Go

Mill operates the first Saturday of every month April thru October.


Park is open from dawn until dusk, year-round, $5 charge due at the entrance. Self-pay. Very well-maintained bathrooms. Great place to take kids for the day.

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February 10, 2023

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