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The spirit of the pioneer of the mill, Giovanni Perosio

Juan Perosio Parodi's work, ancestry in Uruguay of the first Perosio

(Articles of the daily “El Telégrafo” of Paysandú, Uruguay of Sunday April 23 rd 1989).

The wheel that milled the water.

“Now that the autumn he goes milling the time”.

There is as a dream of peace and of memories in that place.

Next to the stream San Francisco that there traces their arch surrounding the hill where they are the ruins of the“Burn Mill ”.

There the man knew how to tame the potent water, with the stone control and for the progress and the utility .

That place and the name that was with sign of marked fire in and! he speaks popular. For that accident, common in the mills of that time, the place forgot the name of the beautiful stream in which leans back. And he passed to call himself, with that admiring sign that you frame the name and the epithet: Burnt mill! .

And the fire overcame this way to the water, the smut shone what a the sun and the boil of the work ceased suddenly, made ashy and silence.

It was a beautiful place and it continues being magnificent landscape. Now with that tint of peace and serenity that it puts the autumn, although it is not autumn. The difference resides in the silence.

An entire world of carts

Of that time, loaded with grains, meekness of oxen and to incite of whistles and noise of voices. It pauses and push toward the Molino Perosio. Carts with mules become obstinate in going up the hill, and the flower of the lips cartwrights singing in the morning. Some caravan of carts that arrived loaded with wheat for the road that she came from Esperanza. (Pretty name that of that population, for a work with earth roots and aspirations of dreams!) This way, in big complaining carts the matter was transported it prevails for the flour milled in that mill .

Next to the stream and in the eddy of the hill. Strategically located, because it was a work heart. Known by their work and quality in the whole north of the Black River and their adjacent ones.

And there next to the hug of San Francisco's water that today contemplates silent, it awaited them Don Juan Perosio's wide smile. Pleasant smile as the flour and good as the bread. He had been the initiator of this whole magnificent work of the wheel that milled the water so that the flour grew in flower.

The hydraulic force

That Mill of the Sacred one, San Miguel, of which will speak in another note, was the first step in the one on the way to the flour that the visionary Juan Perosio.

The second great step, the culmination of its dream, was San Francisco's Mill. In both mills, the pulse was the water. The muscle, the wheel and the push were in the water, they came from her.
For that reason those mills of flour had heart of sweet water .

Looking for the water and the appropriate place, Don Juan Perosio settled down on the San Francisco at the beginning of 1870. That establishment was baptized with the name of Mill de San Roque.

To dominate the water, it built enormous stone walls. Then ... the water opened up road another time and envelope the stone plants and memories they grew.

It is related that Don Juan Perosio looked for the appropriate place a lot, before transferring his mill of San Miguel or of the Sacred one, to San Francisco's new establishment.

It looked for the water above all. To give him power it braked it with an enormous wall of stones. To dominate her he made it travel a great curve that him same it dug among the mount. It achieved this way the potent water, but in dominated eddy.

It looked for, also, a halfway place of the city and of the field.
The industry should be in the field, near to the places where the matter takes place it prevails. But connected to the great city for where the market was channeled. A road that was passable for the transporting in carts, drays and lighter vehicles. A high place in short that it dominated the stream and the surrounding region. A stone hill or of hard rough that supported the heavy machinery and the to go and to come from vehicles, shot animals, constructions and works.

And all this and even more it found it in the stream San Francisco, to the height where it built their “Mill of San Roque”. There it also found the beauty!

The practical beauty, to be able to work without traffic problems. Where the water leaned back to the hill like affectionate. So affectionately that it was able to catch it and to bring it, like with the caress of the hand, so that she made walk the wheel of the mill.

And then she scattered in motive force for the veins of that machinery, with eddy rumor and flavor to bread. But the fire was also!

The old floury occupation

It doesn't care a lot if the cereal was before the vine or the wine before the bread. Both vital foods were born of the miracle of the human necessity that heightened the gift's of God grace .

Yes, from the man's first step on the earth the cereals were in the door of their life. In the threshold of Don Juan Perosio's life it was also from a first moment, the production of flour, soul of the wheat.

Don Juan Perosio was experienced floury, of italic origin. He had learned the lesson of the mill in the I hum maternal riverside of the Pó. And in the one hurted and their father's fruitful task, farmer of lands avoids and miller in the valley of the river.

He brought their lesson here this way suck and their affection for the mill. Here to these lands “sanduceras” where so many Italians brought so much well. Lands that were then wide and deep, for the work and for the dream... Times in those that the son inherited of the father farmer, a mystic interest for the work... and a plow!

With a plow

With their melodious grill, because the wood took it out of the near mounts, he opened its first furrows. Seed of hope fructified in the blond miracle of the wheat. Work hard, watered by the sunny perspiration. But it not only allowed him to survive but to project and to create.

Don Juan could this way, to fructify his dream miller. Don Juan Perosio: specialist miller. Future millers' teacher. From their laborious seat of the “Mill of San Roque”. next to the San Francisco, where, next to him, other millers were formed. It is a history that we will continue developing. While now I contemplate this beautiful still of the “Burnt Mill”, the soul of that old mill that he washes their memories next to the river San Francisco.

Miguel Ángel Pías.


The burnt mills

Of the same school of millers, the first mill that we already said called himself of the Sacred one, or San Miguel, the big millers sanduceros that laid the foundation among us this important industry came out. There they were formed as operatives, among other Juan Perosio, José Molinari and Cesar Fraschini.

They learned in the experience accumulated in so many days of to work the wheat and to elaborate the flour. In the first times, times so hard as the stones of their mills. So hard and difficult that almost all the floury mills finished burnt. For several reasons that they finished in insoluble problems. The use of the combustible wood-coal that presupposed the danger of the open fire.

Then, the later change to the use of the vapor, the constructions based on wood, the absence of near elements to combat the fire... Anyway, Perosio was founded and he worked intensely in its mill of San Francisco, later we will give more details. But, let us say it from already, their mill finished burnt. And of there the name with which he baptized him the town. But the only one that died from the fire was not . Also in the streets “Entre Rios” and Washington, Don Francisco Gutiérrez Zorrilla built his mill, called “Mill of Ugly” and also Mill of “Santa Carmen”. It also finished burnt.

José Molinari founded another mill in the outskirts of the city, then: in the street “Treinta y Tres Orientales” and “Rio Negro”.Mill that also finished burnt and that people baptized with the name of “Mill of the Mystery”, for other reasons that we will explain in her moment .

The ruins of both mills are today in our city and they have been used as trade, housings, carpentries and until temples. But people don't call them with the nickname of “burnt mill”. Perosio burns yes, alone to him he has baptized him to him a: “The burnt mill

The first times of San Francisco's Mill, of Don Juan Perosio, era of water, hydraulic, like we have pointed out. It took advantage of the current of the stream. it deviated it, it tamed it, it went up it and from there, domesticated, it threw it on the wheel that put in movement axes and engagements that they carried out the mill.

A high stone dike intercepted the step of the stream. Three buttresses and two floodgates tamed the water.

That water was the one in charge of making rotate axes and machineries. The spare water was deviated then by another smaller channel that will augment another time the stream that continued singing free, for the slope. And also cheerful, to have contributed for a space of time, to manufacture the matter anything it prevails less than of the man's bread.

In the first exposure Agroalimentare realized to Paysandù in the summer of 1880, Giovanni Perosio he introduced some of the products drawn by her mill and they got all the first and seconds prizes in their branch, gold medals and of silver. There was also a prize for the manufacturing farmer and for her workers. It was besides an incentive to continue on the road of the progress .

Animated from these circumstances and from her optimism, Perosio widened her jobs and planned new activities. The most important was the change of machineries from the primitive hydraulic strength to that new to vapor. Also in this case all depended on the source but more indirectly.

The burnt mill
Publication in the newspaper "El Telégrafo" of Paysandú of the day Sunday 23, April, 1989
Courtesy of “El Telégrafo” newspaper of Paysandú, Uruguay.
The burnt mill
The burnt mill
The burnt mill
The burnt mill
The burnt mill
The burnt mill
The burnt mill
The burnt mill

When the fire sprouted

But at the little time, while Perosio worked arduously, between noises of pulleys and machineries, a flame language sprouted, the one that fed the great boiler. Then it was stretching out and in some minutes he took the suspenders, the shelves, the timber and it was a total fire. It shared their anguish with their collaborators: screams and the intents of wanting to turn off them. Neither with the stream friend's water he could make anything.

The fire conquered to the water and that work place and production became the reality and legend of the “burnt mill”
But this didn't win the untamable Italian that after few it founded to Fireplace de las Palmas a new mill: the mill of St. Rocco, where it deposited all her worries and her knowledges. But this is another history. That of another mill, the same man and the same struggle. “The eyes that they saw him they saw what anybody he will see” the poet Feran Silva says. You pour that are applicable to this situation on which has engraved the name of “burnt mill” indelible.

And not only to the eyes of Giovanni and her workers. He knew to convert her pain and her suffering in a push to restart. The eyes of stone, the tall finestrelles of the old building of the mill, that today contemplate there blocked in the time. Still they are part of the timber of the roof nailed in the stone, blackened but what they have not fallen because her the stone embraces them that is everywhere.

They paid a tribute of fire and they am as the ancient servants of the glebe that died working. Today, the “burnt mill” is a beautiful place that the man he has looked, as a part of mountain, hill and source so that the future generations can relive some that spirit. Spirit of enterprise that is not folded up in front of the worse circumstances. As the spirit of the pioneer of the mill, Juan Perosio .

The place is a sad bridge between the yesterday and the today of pulleys and wheels of mill. Subjectively beautiful, objectively sad. The pain is in that wheel of shovels, without strokes of the water. Their happiness is in that stream that bubbles free low sallows and among the stones. And in the life of the children that they trace small you dam in their bed .

The old wall is already nothing else that a broken barrier. As the dependences of the mill, broken and burnt, in spite of the hard stony walls of a meter of thickness. Witness of a time in the one that, with their work, the man, of the mud created a flower. In the stone a rose of sparks flourished and of the water... good, of the water, it created a hymn that flowed of flower of flour and sure promise of bread .

Miguel Ángel Pías
(writer and uruguayan poet).

The photographies of the Burned Mill are gentility of Andrés Oberti
of the newspaper "El Telégrafo" of Paysandú, Uruguay.

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