The history of the Kirkcowan waulkmills is inseparable from that of the Milroy family.
This was a fairly widespread cottage industry during the period of 1750 to 1850, with the raw cotton being supplied by agents from Ayrshire who then collected and paid for the finished work.
There was a copper mine where copper ore, as Malachite or Choleopyrites was worked.
According to Ian Donnachiets book, “Industrial Archaeology of Galloway,” this is described as a “small single—storey smithy” on the bank of the Water of Malzie.
On the River Bladnoch, one mile northeast of the village, this mill may have at an early period had connection with the Glaisnick estate which pertained to the Gordons of Craichlaw.
In 1837, the following businesses and occupations within Kirkcowan parish were listed in Pigot Directory:
After the Glasgow Dumfries and Carlisle Railway had joined with the Glasgow Paisley Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway to form the Glasgow and Southwestern Railway in 1850