At different times in the twentieth century, there were Mauser Mill facilities scattered throughout the Lehigh Valley: in Northampton County at Treichlers, Northampton, Bath and Howersville; in Lehigh County at Laurys Station, Catasauqua, Allentown and Macungie (technically never a part of the Mauser Mill Co.); in Carbon County at Palmerton; in Luzerne County at Hazleton. I am still working on my research of the facilities at these locations.
Here is a visualization of these sites as an ArcGIS online story map.
The company was largely controlled by the Mauser family (The principle family members involved in the operations of the Mauser Mill company are highlighted in bold.) The death of J. Mark Mauser in 1924 led to a protracted legal battle over his considerable estate.
Timeline of the company
1879, There is a discrepancy in dates, but using this year as the starting point, George S. Mauser bought the mill at Treichlers Station, formerly owned by George W. Bogh, of Catasauqua. For a while the milling business was conducted under the name of George S. Mauser & Company until incorporated as Mauser Mill Company in 1902. At Treichlers, George Mauser also operated the slate factory formerly owned by George S. Coffin, and he had the general store.
Step-by-step the company grew after this initial purchase of the Treichlers mill.
21 December 1892, George S. Mauser & Co. purchased the Schall Mill in Laurys Station for $12,600.
In 1902, articles of incorporation for the Mauser Mill Company were approved in Pennsylvania for a company “to manufacture flour, prepared foods, corn products, meal, and feed.” The company headquarters were located at Laurys Station. As the company expanded with the addition of other mill sites, the corporate documents would be amended to reflect those expansions. The original capitalization was for 4000 shares at $50 par ($200,000). Harry J. Lerch was treasurer. Shares were divided as follows:
- Jacob B. Mauser, Treichlers 400 shares (husband)
- Anna A. Mauser, Treichlers 3300 shares (wife)
- J. Mark Mauser, Allentown, 100 shares (son)
- George B. Mauser, Treichlers, 100 shares (son)
- Harry J. Lerch, Treichlers, 100 shares (son-in-law)
January 1905, the Mauser Mill Company bought the former Laubach mill (Northampton) and took possession 1 January 1905.
July 1911, the Mauser Mill Company purchased the flour and feed establishment on North Cedar Street in Hazleton from the Horace Schweppenheiser (1836-1911) estate.
April 1914, The Hower Milling Company in Howersville, PA, changed hands again, bought by the Mauser Milling Company.
April 1914, the Mauser Mill Company purchased the flour and feed business of the late D. O Straup (1860-1914) of Palmerton
The original structure was built by George B. Shelly in 1898 for sand, flour, feed and grain storage. It measured 180’ x 30’ with three annexes.
1917 Mauser mill purchased the George Shelly property in Allentown for use as a warehouse, feed operation and store.
By 1919, the Mauser Mill Company had operations at Treichlers, Danielsville (Howersville), Hazleton, Laurys, Northampton, Palmerton, Allentown (and East Penn). Mauser & Cressman had facilities at Bath (1866) and Catasauqua (1895).
3 August 1924, death of J. Mark Mauser, president of the company
1926, Hazleton property sold.
1928, Howersville mill sold.
By 1936, it was three mills (Treichlers, Northampton, Catasauqua) and 2 branches (Allentown and Palmerton—these two were just feed mills).
1937, Laurys Station mill burned to the ground.
1943, Northampton property sold.
1958, Allentown site sold.
1959, Bath site sold.
1962, Catasauqua site is vacant, not sure of exact date of sale.
In July 1966, Nebraska Consolidated Mills purchased the Mauser Mill Company, including the Treichlers Mill and the Mauser Feed & Grain Corporation in Palmerton.
1967, Palmerton Feed & Grain, a subsidiary of Xtra Factors, Ephrata, PA, assumed ownership of the former Mauser Feed & Grain Corporation in Palmerton. Xtra Factors was a company focusing on animal feed and feed supplements.
February 1971, Nebraska Consolidated Mills changed its corporate name to ConAgra. That year ConAgra purchased Martins Creek, Alpha Portland Cement (closed in 1969) plant #4 for $167,000 and began to convert the former cement plant into a flour mill that was brought online in 1973. Through the 1980s, ConAgra operated three mills in eastern Pennsylvania: Martin’s Creek, Treichlers and Red Lion in York county--the latter two are local soft wheat.
In 2013, in a complicated merger of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling (which was a 2002 joint venture between Cargill and CHS Inc.), Ardent Mills took over operation of the three Pennsylvania mills. As of 2020, only the Martin’s Creek site is still in operation.
During its heyday, The Mauser mills located along the Lehigh River drew water from the Lehigh Canal to power the mills. The water was inexpensive, and payment for the water use was formulated in a 1902 agreement with the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company which owned and maintained the canal. See List of Water-Rent Deeds and Agreements of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (1902). For example:
- Treichlers, Mauser Mill Company, lease agreement, term 20 years from 1 July 1901, expiring 30 June 1920, grantee Anna A. Mauser, estimated 70 HP, 4576 ft3 per minute, $700 per year to be paid semi-annually
- Slate dam (Laurys Station), a deed dating to 9 June 1840, grantees Laury & Newhart, estimated 20 HP, 150 in2 per minute, $750 per year, Mauser Mill Co.
- Northampton, lease agreement, 1 August 1881, grantee Samuel Laubach, 40 HP, $600 to be paid semi-annually, present tenant is estate of Samuel Laubach, flour mill
- Lower Catasauqua, lease agreement, 26 February 1895, term 15 years from 1 April 1895, expiring 31 March 1910, grantee National bank of Catasauqua, 70 HP, $500 to be paid semi-annually, present tenant is Catasauqua Mills, flour mill