When Colonel George Rogers Clark woke his men, early on the morning of June 29, 1778, they left their overnight camp, at the ruins of Fort Massac, with a sense of urgency. This sense of urgency prevailed as they marched northwesterly up the trail that was no more than a buffalo path. As the sun was setting that day they had covered forty miles. Tired, hungry and thirsty, they came to a large flowing spring of clear cold water. Here they camped for the night. The D.A.R. marked this second campsite with a bronze plate beside State Highway 37, nineteen miles south of Marion.
Two Pulley brothers, Burton and Daniel, came to this same spring in 1854 and built a two story flour mill. The mill was most modern and unique because it was powered by steam. People came from miles around and stayed, often all day, just to see the magic of the new power.
John Bell Hudgens built a general store near the mill. So did W.M. Perry. Pulley’s Mill Post Office was opened in Perry’s store October 28, 1864 and gave the hamlet its name. The post office was closed July 14, 1905. The mail was carried from Carbondale to Pulley’s Mill on horseback by John McIntosh. There was a large blacksmith shop in Pulley’s Mill. It did a thriving business until the farm tractor replaced the horse. Dr. Jesse J. Fly practiced medicine there and Dr. John McIntosh practiced dentistry, until he died in 1928.
Pulley’s Mill flourished as a trade center for farm trade and a milling center for several years. Then it began to be eclipsed by Goreville four miles to the south. John Bell Hudgens bought the mill from the Pulley Brothers. After operating it in Pulley’s Mill for several years, he moved it to Goreville. Then Pulley’s Mill declined.
Today there is no business in Pulley’s Mill. There are 14 houses, two of which are original houses of the village. One of them is a two story house that was the home and office of Dr. John McIntosh. There are no signs of the mill. The spring is filled up with mud and trash. The good gravel ford is as good as ever. The old trail runs about a hundred yards west of State Route 37. There is a church in Pulley’s Mill. It is the only public building in the town. Montgomery Brothers have built a slaughter house just south of the creek and are processing meat there.
(Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois, by Glenn J. Sneed, published 1977)