Radford University Instructor Ricky Cox is the co-author of the recently released book "The Water-Powered Mills of Floyd County, Virginia: Illustrated Histories, 1770-2010."
Cox, who teaches English and is on the staff of RU's Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, wrote the book with the late Franklin L. Webb. He said he hopes readers will gain a sense of the important economic and social roles once filled by local mills in farming communities.
"Frank Webb began research for this book in the 1980s. We met in 1992 while I was researching the use of Meadows portable mills in Floyd County," Cox said. "We worked together documenting water-powered mills until his death from cancer in 1996. He left me his notes and photographs, which I added to and put into narrative form between 1996 and 2010." The book contains more than 100 photographs of mills, millers and dams dating from the 1910s.
Webb was a Floyd County native, as is Cox. After his retirement, Webb devoted his time to documenting more than 140 mills, many of which he came upon or heard about while trout fishing.
After Webb's death, Cox retraced and filled in gaps in Webb's work, continuing to interview people and collect photographs. Radford University Professor Emeritus Barbara Ewell was a reader for the manuscript and helped to compile the index. The book was published by McFarland & Co. and released in June.