McKnight (1905:373) provides an example of a typical saw mill in use in northern Pennsylvania in the first half of the 19th century.

"The early up-and-down saw mills were built of frame timbers mortised and tenoned and pinned together with oak pins. In size these mills were from twenty ot thirty feet wide and from fifty to sixty feet in length, and were roofed with clapboards, slabs, or boards. The running gear was an undershot flutter-wheel, a gig wheel to run the log carriage back, and a bull wheel with a rope or chain attached to haul the logs into the mill on and over the slide. The capacity of such a mill was about four thousand feet of boards in twenty-four hours. The total cost of one of these up-and-down saw mills when completed was about three hundred dollars, one hundred dollars for the iron used and two hundred dollars for the work and material." (Pioneer history of northwestern Pennsylvania.)PioneerSawMill

Detailed descriptions of several mills were published in the newspapers when they were advertised for sale by the Sheriff of Elk County when their owners got behind on their taxes. These descriptions provide a glimpse into the status of milling technology at the time. A grist mill/saw mill on Toby Creek had been claimed and offered for sale by the Hopkinton Bank of Westerly, Rhode Island, suggesting that the operator had defaulted on a mortgage or other loan. The mill was described as "two-story grist mill, twenty-six by forty feet and containing two run of stones, one saw mill, forty by sixty feet and leanto sixteen feey by thirty feet, one one-story-and-a-half frame dwelling house, painted white and about twenty-six feet square, two two-story frame dwelling houses sixteen feet by twenty-six feet. Two-story-and-a-half frame dwelling sixteen feet by twenty feet, one fram barn twenty-six feet by fifty feet, together with outhouses and about six acres improved and known as the Hellen Mill lot." (Elk County Advocate, September 1864)

A saw mill in Spring Creek Township on the tract known as Warrant 2963 was also included in the above sale. It was described as "sixty feet by eighty feet and containing a gang of saws, one upright and one circular saw and a shingle machine. Four dwelling houses, two of which are about twenty-four feet by forty feet and two about 18 by twenty feet, one frame barn about twenty-four feet square and other out buildings and two acres improved"

There is no mention of a steam engine at any of these mills, so it is likely that they were waterpowered. These mills were sold in 1864, which suggests that the Civil War may have had an impact on these small operations. As men and materials were shifted around throughout the war, labor shortages, particularly for wood cutters, may have hindered mill operation as mill operators, wood cutters, teamsters and others were drafted into military service.

By 1866, steam engines were available in northern Pennsylvania, but, as the following ad shows, drilling interests were beginning to compete with timber.

For sale! Stationary and portable engines with new patent piston, complete for saw mills or boring for oil -ALSO- Portable saw mills with two rotary saws rigged for sawing any sized logs. ALSO - DRIVING PIPE, manufactured in Sandusky, Ohio and delivered at any station on the rail road cheaper and better than can be furnished by eastern maufacturers. For further information, address by letter the subscriber at Ridgway, PO, Elk Co., Pa., or in person at Spring Creek, on the Clarion River. Wm. Q. Swarts, Agent. (Elk County Advocate, January 1866)