Memorial to Ted Hazen, master miller, millwright and friend
Two photos of Ted Hazen. On the left, a photo I took of him while giving me a tour of Bill Foshag's Dillar-Heaischmann. He proudly showed and explained to me that the stamp on the middle of the fireplace beam was made years ago using the flour cask brand. He shared the one on the right which was simply named "Teddy." These two photos represent how I want to remember Ted.
Ted Hazen (1949-2013) died on December 1, 2013 in Roswell, Georgia after a long illness battling cancer and various food allergies. I came to know Ted about seven years ago as a byproduct of my research into eighteenth century Quaker flour miller Thomas Livezey. My understanding of stone ground flour milling at that time was limited to what a typical elementary child knows. I found Ted though his Pond Lily Mill Restorations website. (http://www.anglefire.com/journal/pondlilymill/indexpage.html) I called and spoke with him several times about my research and need for technical help. I told him how impressed I was with the vast amount of technical information there was on his website. At first he was guarded as to what information I might use as he was very protective of this monumental resource he had created. I assured him I'd acknowledge him on anything I might use. I didn't use any thing then as two years of research elapsed before I started drafting my first article on Thomas Livezey (described elsewhere on this web site).
During that time we occasionally chatted via the phone but mostly by email. Soon he began to understand me, my motivations, intentions and the depth of my lack of understanding milling. The first three articles on Livezey that I published mainly dealt with the man with little devoted to anything about milling. Fortunately during that time Ted opened up his web site and personal milling archives to me like we had known each other since college. He gave me the basic and post graduate degree in milling. Fortunately as a researcher I saved, archiving all the emails we exchanged as many would go on for page after page. He would thoroughly explain the technical details on whatever he was sharing. In many cases he would quote from memory what he had on his Pond Lily Mill Restoration website. In some cases well after sharing something with me I'd ask him the same question again. Most people would have become annoyed but Ted never complained, he would just explain it again. Later when I began to realize I was starting to go in circles, I began revising the email subject lines we originally used to more descriptive labels so I could later retrieve his lessons. That became a blessing. Over our time together I archived hundreds of emails which I still maintain.
Along the way we became very good friends. Most of this time he was living outside of Carlisle, Pa (the first five years). I spent thirteen years living near Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, Pa not far from Carlisle. I was very familiar with that area; but before meeting Ted, I moved to a town near Reading, Pa. We often discussed getting together but never did. He had one challenge after another and I was working on the research and building-studying Windsor chairs. As most of us do, we'll have time to do that soon...but soon never comes. Two years ago he suddenly called me saying we needed to meet as he was moving to Georgia as his wife, Ann had accepted a new position. A few days before Thanksgiving 2011 I drove out to Carlisle where we met face-to-face for the first and only time. Ted took me to the Dickinson College cafeteria where we had a Thanksgiving lunch and he introduced me to mill owner Bill Foshag. (He and Bill would sometimes meet there for an inexpensive lunch!) Bill owned and was restoring the ca. 1805 Dillar-Heischmann Mill that was nearby. After lunch we went to the mill where Ted and Bill gave me the tour and neither stopped talking to me the entire time. These past two years were tough on Ted as he was away from the area he had come to really love as central Pa, home to dozens and dozens of old mills and his friend Bill. It was during this time that I continued writing articles on Livezey transitioning from describing who Thomas Livezey, the eighteenth century miller was, to explaining his mid-eighteenth century mill of which little was known. In fact little was known about any of them as nothing was ever documented. This seemed to make my relationship with Ted deepen.
Ted knew the later nineteenth century mills and milling technology but like all other mill experts I spoke with no one knew much about the very old, early North American mills. What they did know was derived by doing reverse engineering and best guesses. I discovered Livezey papers from as far back as 1747 with many related to his milling work. I shared many of these with Ted which shifted our relationship from student-teacher to being peers. The archaic milling terms Livezey used were common knowledge back then but had disappeared. No one was now alive who could define what they meant. They weren't to be found in any modern dictionary no matter how thick. In some cases Ted would hazard a guess and we'd discuss it over a period of weeks. For some I personally figured out the meaning and the student would teach the teacher. It didn't happen very often but the few times it did made me feel good as I was finally contributing to the master teacher's knowledge base.
During the summer of 2013 Ted began to complain that his food allergies were getting worse which caused him to loose considerable weight. He had helped me through the milling articles I had written and yes I did manage to footnote the heck out of what he shared with me and cited his quotes shared on telephone conversations. By then we called and emailed each other simply as friends calling at least once a week and emailing five or six times. It was then that I started becoming very concerned for him and needed to check in to see how he was feeling. Even while not feeling good he continued to share findings with me because his web searching skills seemed magical exceeding my own in ways that were embarrassing. In one case he discovered the oldest surviving photograph of Livezey's Glen Fern, an ambrotype, in a Library of Congress collection they had recently acquired and posted an index for. I traveled to Washington to see it and get that old photograph digitalized. It was used as the cover photo for that issue of The Chronicles, the journal I was publishing the articles in. I shared my digital image with him for his archives.
Sadly he was becoming weaker and weaker. Going back to the doctors they discovered internal cancer starting him on chemotherapy which made matters worse since he was struggling to eat. It was then that we spoke by phone even more frequently sometimes several times a day. I was becoming more and more concerned for his health but helpless since I was in Pa and he was in Ga. The next two months were very difficult for him (and me) as he continued to fail with doctors finding other medical concerns with cancerous tumors on his spinal cord leaving him unable to use his legs. He was started on a radiology treatment but stopped shortly before it was completed due to other symptoms he experienced. It seemed now that it was just a matter of time, a subject he'd discuss with me. But both of us hoped we were wrong. Then we started discussing his monumental milling archives separate from the Pond Lily web site and his final wishes. I listened but encouraged him to donate his vast archives and helped him to finalize donating it to the 1701 Newlin Grist Mill in Delaware County, Pa that was becoming SPOOM's archive location for their papers. SPOOM is the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills which Ted belonged to years ago. On his future desires, even though he often expressed a wish to be able to go back home, he knew deep down inside that the end was coming. Just after Thanksgiving Ann called telling me he had passed away on December 1.
Besides his mill books and papers he wanted to be buried back in Pa in Adams County, an area both he and Ann early loved visiting it often. The little town of Gettysburg in the county seat for Adams County. Arrangements were made for Ted's body to be flown to Pa and he was interred in the Evergreen Cemetery, the one at which President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the national cemetery. The National Cemetery containing a large number of buried Union soldiers who died as a result of that bloody three-day battle was formed from a section of the larger old public cemetery. I proudly attended and participated in his funeral service with Ann, her father, his wife and a Jewish Rabbi. Yes, Ted was Jewish and he wanted his final service to respect his religious roots. One of his requests was to be buried in his Park Ranger uniform which Anne lovingly attended to. His plot is less than 100 yards from where Lincoln delivered his address, a fact I believe would have made Ted proud. He helped me in selfless ways that in the process made him one of my very best friends. The last week he was still with us he sorrowfully shared with me his regrets that he would not be able to help me with more of my research. I told him I was past the point where I was writing about milling technology; but that wasn't what he was saying. On the next conversation he said he hoped that he meant to me half of what I had come to mean to him. I cried after hanging up the phone on that call as he completely blindsided me. All along I thought it was the other way round! I will sorely miss our frequent telephone calls and emails that have lite up the last seven years of my long research project ... but more than that my life. He was only 64 when he died but he accomplished a great deal in that one short lifetime. His Pond Lily Restorations web site will remain active and continue to be a vital source of technical milling information to anyone interested in this deep subject. This will remain a lasting legacy to this gentle very special man. He did not want anyone to mess with it so no one can add a memorial for him as I think there should be. So I decided to dedicate a section of my website as a memorial to my good friend, Ted Hazen. May he rest in peace......12/20/2013
Ted's Pond Lily Mill Restoration web site can be gotten to by clicking on: Ted's Site
To see his detailed biography, click on: Ted's Profile