There is one great picture that I’m wanting. If I never find another picture, I’ll be happy, if I can only find this one... --Picture of the tree that was cut near Alma in 1876, just over the Bolivar line on the Gadsby farm; older people say was a pine & an up-and-down saw was used to trim.

Hazel Shear notes on p.7 of her "Alma Story" book,

“It measured 16 feet long, 8 feet thick and was taken on a flat car to Philadelphia and exhibited in the Centennial Exposition in 1876.

There were pictures of this log on the flat car as it left Wellsville but we have not been able to locate one. There are many stories of its journey from approximately the Bolivar line just west of Alma village to the loading point. It was prepared at the Dalrymple mill.”

Below is a working sample of an up and down saw similar to the type that was probably used for this log. 


This sawmill sample is from the Old Sturbridge Village


America boasted over 31,000 sawmills by 1840.

From the 13th century until about the middle of the 19th, most sawmills consisted of a straight saw blade strung tight in a rectangular wooden frame, called a sash or gate. The saw sash is connected to a water wheel below it through a crank and by a wooden sweep or pitman arm (the latter taking its name from the man who, before sawmills made him obsolete, stood in a pit below a log and pulled a saw through the wood by hand to make boards). The turning motion of the water wheel is converted to the up and down motion of the saw by the eccentric crank. Some power from the saw sash is used to turn a large gear, called a rag wheel. This in turn moves the carriage which the log rests on, pulling the log through the saw. The saw cuts into the log on its down stroke, and the log moves forward again on the up stroke. After one board is sawed, the log carriage is run back to the other end of the mill, the log moved over, and another board cut. This process is repeated until the whole log has been sawed into lumber. Often a sawyer will square up two sides of a log first, then turn the log 90 degrees so that the flat sides are on the top and bottom. Then when he saws the log into boards they will all have straight edges.