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In the 17th century early European fur trades arrived in what is now Macomb County. They traveled along the banks of the Clinton River into the area now called Ray Township. They were surprised to find large, fort-like structures along the river.

Native Americans told the fur traders these structures had been there long before they had arrived. What was their purpose?

It is unknown what purpose these structures served or even who built them. Some archeologists believe these fort-like earthworks may have been related to sacred rituals, even sacrifice. The mystery of these structures remain to this day.

oldmillTime passed and the white settlers arrived.

The mill was constructed in 1847. It first operated as a grist and feed mill. It passed through multiple owners before being purchased by Fred B. Wolcott in 1878.

Wolcott rebuilt part of the mill, adding new machinery and another barn to the property.

According to "Michigan History Magazine," dated 1994, Fred B. Wolcott was said to be a strict disciplinarian whose six sons were permitted to attend school only through the eighth grade. After that, the boys were expected to work in the family business.

workersThe Wolcott Mill was known for its high-quality flour. A number of large Detroit bakeries, including Acme Pie and Oven King Cookies, used Wolcott Mill flour for their pastries and desserts. The mill closed in 1967 and opened as part of the Wolcott Mill Metro Park in 1989.

Wolcott Mill is one of the oldest historic grist and feed mills remaining today.

Also on the property are two barns complete with antique farming equipment and a restored Model T dump truck.


Volunteers and employees have, for many years, quietly spoken of the unexplained phenomena occurring at the mill and on its grounds. Reports of footsteps in the barn and upper floor of the mill when no one else is around. The faded vision of an apparition wandering the grounds.

One of the recent encountered occurred two years ago. An employee was cleaning up in the old mill when they head footsteps on the stairs. They looked up and saw a pair of boots and legs on the stairs but no upper body.

In 2014, during our first investigation of the mill, investigators felt their hair pulled. One individual even reported feeling pushed from the back as she moved toward the mill stairs. Reports of a lady in white was briefly seen wandering through the trees. A few EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) have been recorded.

What causes the activity? It is unknown at this time.

Although records are lost of those very early years, it is likely both boys and men were injured and possibly died in the hard life of a mill worker Of course, it could also be members of the Wolcott family. This mill was their life and perhaps their spirit remains with their business.

The Wolcott home once stood to the back of the lot (the foundations can still be seen in the back of the property). There is a death record that indicates at least one Wolcott child, less than 1 year of age, passed away in the home. Perhaps members of the family remain attached to the grounds where their ancestral home once stood.

It may even be the very energy attached to the land and its early Native American residents. The flowing waters of the Clinton River holding and releasing memories of the past.

Hopefully, as our investigations continue, we will better understand who and what haunts the grounds and buildings of Historic Wolcott Mill.