Since the History Channel aired its first episode of American Pickers in January of 2010, pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have been filmed as they travel across various regions of the United States on a quest to discover potential treasures. This Monday, February 14th, Johnson County's own Jim Wills will be featured as these now famous antique and collectible hunters make the trek to Mountain City to take a look at a millstone saved from the grist mill that belonged to Wills father, Earl.
Wolfe and Fritz, along with Danielle Colby-Cushman, operate Antique Archeology located in Iowa. Colby-Cushman runs the home office, researching items for sale and sends Wolfe and Fritz out to search for potential collectible items. From this home base, Wolfe and Fritz travel across America, digging through barns, sheds and homes searching for possible treasures. The show American Pickers features this duo as they travel from place to place, up and down the highways and back roads of America as they hunt for treasures that give them a look at life in America, now and in the past. For these pickers, their finds are not just objects, but a piece of American history. They search not just for typical antiques such as china, glassware and furniture, but memorabilia that represents specific times in the history of our country.
According to Wills, he was contacted by a member of the American Pickers crew in response to an online advertisement he had placed on Craig's list advertising a millstone for sale. Wills collects and sells millstones. He added a couple of months had lapsed from the time of contact until the day the crew from American Pickers came to film the episode. It took several hours to shoot the episode that will air February 14th. Wills explained they had to shoot and then re-shoot. Although Wills could not disclose the amount of the sale prior to the airing of the episode, he believes he received a fair price for the millstone. They were real nice guys, just like they appear on the show, Wills added.
New episodes of American Pickers can be seen on the History Channel on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. For Dish subscribers, the History Channel can be found on 120 while Direct viewers can locate the History Channel on channel 269.
Jim Wills father, Earl, was the owner of Wills Grist Mill, located in Mountain City heading out Route 421 on the way to Shady Valley. Many grist mills began to close during the 1950's and the early 1960's as demand for their services waned. Theirs was among the casualties of a newer age of convenience which saw most people buying their meal, flour, etc. at the local grocery store. Wills Grist Mill closed its doors in the mid fifties.