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Persons prevented

Posted by Lou Sorrentino on August 29, 2007

What are the likely alternate meanings of the Colonial phrase "persons prevented" (from grinding at it).

Context - I found a broken colonial period millstone
below a colonial gristmill at the exact site mentioned here in 1781 East Haddam CT Devil's Hopyard". An article written a long 106 years later in 1881 says Revolutionaries tossed the gristmill millstones into the waterfall in the attack. Is there another likely meaning than the obvious, that the mob "prevented persons from grinding", by tossing it in the falls, which broke it?