Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Brookeville Woolen Mill

Brookeville, Montgomery County, Maryland
Founded and owned by David Newlin, c. 1812-1826


An outbuilding associated with the mill. M-NCPPC Historic Preservation office, Montgomery County Planning Department.
In December of 1812, Brookeville resident David Newlin purchased a 12.75 acre parcel of land about a mile east of Brookeville that would eventually become the Brookeville Woolen Mill.1 During the War of 1812, the United States enacted embargoes that blocked the importation of British goods such as manufactured wool and cotton. As a result, domestic production once again became a viable business option, and millers such as Newlin tried to take advantage of the rising demand for domestic woolen goods. To capitalize on the new demand, Newlin opened his woolen mill to his neighbors, and it became fully operational by 1819.2 

Despite a short period of prosperity for Newlin, the embargoes were lifted at the end of the war, and the profitability of domestic woolen manufacturing took a steep downturn.3 The overhead cost of building and maintaining his mills was enormous, and the local demand for his manufactured goods could not have been high in a town of only fourteen homes. Transporting these textiles to markets was another added expense in this landlocked area. While mills in the Baltimore environs could rely on inexpensive urban labor and easy access to waterways, Brookeville provided none of these sorely needed advantages. By 1826, Newlin had sold the failing woolen mill to Jehu Price, who would in turn run into financial troubles and be forced to sell the mill in 1832.4

For a  more detailed description of Newlin's mills and their operations, see the biography of David Newlin.

Jackson Gilman-Forlini and Kyle Bacon, DAR Research Fellows, 2012


  1. MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURT (Land Records) Deed, Aquila Taylor to David Newlin, December 9, 1812, Liber Q, p. 179 [MSA CE 148-17].
  2. Advertisement, "Brookeville Woolen Factory," The Georgetown Messenger, June 15, 1816; Fourth Census of the United States, 1820, Manufactures (Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1965) p. 199, 22, 239: In this census, Newlin states that his mill had been in full operation for "about one year," and that it was "for the use of the neighbors & customers."
  3. Newlin's personal property remained stagnant throughout much of the years following the War of 1812. He owned very little silver plate (a status symbol) compared to his neighbors and he purchased many of his household items and furniture second-hand. Therefore, it seems likely that his profit margin was negligible at best, and negative at worst. For examples of personal property valuations see: MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF THE TAX (Assessment Record) 1813 and 1820 Assessments, Districts 1 and 4, MdHR 20,115-3-1 [MSA C1110-3, 01/18/14/019]; Newlin purchased many household items between 1803 and 1819, which are documented in bills of sale stored with the Montgomery County land records. These items were taken from the private estates of his neighbors and were presumably for personal use. For an example of one such purchase, see MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURT (Land Records) Bill of Sale, Cesar Williams to David Newlin, November 15, 1819, Liber V, p. 20 [MSA CE 148-23].
  4. MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURT (Land Records) Deed, Jehu Price to Amos Farquar, August 24, 1832, Liber BS 5, p. 279 [MSA CE 148-31]MARYLAND HISTORICAL TRUST (Inventory of Historic Sites) Brookeville Woolen Mill, M: 23-69, Montgomery County [MSA SE5-17396]; No official record exists for Newlin's sale of the mill to Jehu Price. However, Price is marked as owning the property in the following record: MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF THE TAX (Assessment Record) 1826 Assessment, District 4, MdHR 20,115-3-1 [MSA C1110-3, 01/18/14/019].

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