Koke Mill was on Spring Creek, near the present-day Koke Mill Road crossing.
One of the best-known local mill names today, Koke Mill has one of the most complicated histories of ownership. It went through more than a dozen owners or co-owners between 1837, when Jacob Early petitioned the Sangamon County Court Commissioners to build a mill dam across Spring Creek, and 1859, when Eliza Burns won ownership of the mill in a lawsuit. (At one point, the co-owners included James F. Reed, later one of the leaders of the ill-fated Donner Party.)
Burns sold the operation along with other property for $5,000 to Anne Burton in 1861, and Burton sold the mill site a year later to William Keefer.
After 30 years of operation, the mill was purchased by the individual whose name would remain associated with the historic mill site long after its abandonment. On May 10, 1866, William Keefer sold the mill to William Koke for $800.
Koke ran the mill independently for a time, then leased the business. He sold the property in about 1900 to the DuPont Powder Company, and the mill burned in 1903. Like Carpenter’s Mill on the Sangamon River, the site of Koke Mill became a popular picnic and fishing spot.
Original content copyright Sangamon County Historical Society. You are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society.
Thank you for the article on the Koke Mill. That was my great-grandfather Koke that owned it. I believe he may have owned it, sold it, and bought it once again, and then sold it again. I have some articles and such around somewhere. I have an old old picture of him also.
I’m interested in finding more information about Koke Mill and would enjoy seeing some of the articles and photos you described in this old post. Would that be possible? I’m doing some historical research for a personal project. Thank you!
Tammy: Curtis Mann, who wrote the Koke Mill entry (and others about old mills in Sangamon County), directs the Sangamon Valley Collection, the local history collection at Lincoln Library. He’s the perfect person to contact for information on Koke Mill. Call him at 217-753-4900, ext. 5634.
Thanks so much for your quick reply! I will call…
This was my great great grandfather’s. We have a picture of the mill at home. Always great pride in the family on this history. It was exciting to find this article.
It’s exciting to have another reader too. Thanks for the note.
My family line- Rickard – was a prominent Springfield family with ties to Lincoln. I came across a picture that had Koke’s Mill scribbled on it. I’d be happy to scan and send it if someone is interested… Dick Roppé, Hemet, CA
I would love to have a copy of the picture. Thanks