In 1775, John Newberry built a mill on Cross Creek at the northwest corner of what is now Old and Green streets.
The establishment and prosperity of that mill were largely responsible for the emergence of Cross Creek as a vibrant trading center. The mill was later taken over by Robert Cochran and then by Richard Cochran, who ran it until 1805. At that time, it was sold to John D. Eccles, for whom Eccles Park was named.
Although the mill was destroyed by the great fire of 1831, it was soon rebuilt on the same site. Between 1840 and 1882, the mill was operated by a man named McDaniel and by Clark Troy. In 1882, James Dobbin McNeill bought the mill and operated it until his death in 1927. It was then taken over by his son, George McNeill.
The mill closed in 1940 and was later almost destroyed by fire except for the first floor, which remained unoccupied for several years. The property was sold to the city of Fayetteville, which demolished the remains of the old mill and turned the land into a city parking lot.
On the McNeill Milling Co. stationery were inscribed these words: “This Mill Was Here Before The Town Was and Will Be Here When The Town Ain’t.”
One of the earliest recorded views is shown in the painting titled “Mill-Dam at Fayetteville.” The painting by Charles Catton, an English immigrant, is estimated to date from 1801 and 1819. It depicts the mill on Green Street, Eccles Mill Pond and residential structures in the background, as well as men casting for fish and watering their horses.