OLDEST CONTINUOUS SAWMILL SITE IN U.S.?


| March/April 1969



Willard McGrath Sawmill

Courtesy of W. J. Eshleman, Territory Mgr., Frick Company, 722 East End Ave., Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602. Willard McGrath Sawmill (see story)

W. J. Eshleman

Territory Manager, 722 East End Ave. Lancaster, Pa. 17602

We who like to refer to the Golden Era of America, when man's labors were crowned with success or failure according to his abilities; believe this yardstick if applied today would go a long way to solve many current national ills.

In our machinery endeavors of that past era, it is most always of interest to learn of the oldest serial number of a machines as well as the hi Tory as far back as possible. I believe I have discovered the site of a sawmill with a rather interesting history which began sawing timber in 1667 in Havertown, now a part of greater Philadelphia.

We must realize that prior to the arrival of William Penn in 1682, claims of ownership had been previously staked out on this part of the eastern seaboard. In new Amsterdam the one legged governor, Peter Stuyvesant, with his Dutch settlers had filtered down along the Atlantic coast and established colonies at Lewis and New Castle, Delaware. Lord Baltimore also claimed it as a part of Maryland.

In the year of 1638 the Swedes, although very busy in Europe with the 'Thirty Years War' were not going to pass up an opportunity to establish a colony in America, and sent an expedition in the 'Kalmar Nyckle' which landed at what is now Wilmington, Delaware, taking possession in the name of Queen Christina, and established the colony of New Sweden.

In 1643 Lieut. Col. Johan Printz, a veteran of the 'Thirty Years War' arrived as governor of New Sweden. He weighed 400 pounds, and the Indians referred to him as the 'big tub'.