What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

Early County Growth Traced to Lumbering
By Trevor Doust

On August 2, 1856, the Wainwright & Bryant Mill was founded. The first man to run the mill was R. J. Nicholson; Wainwright & Bryant were the next owners.

When they organized the business, they appointed Thomas K. Litch as president, P. Taylor, C. C. Prescot, Michael Best, and R. J. Nicholson as directors, and Paul Darling as secretary.

Litch continued as president until August 18, 1866, (that could be why he was the richest man to live in Brookville at that time.) His house, which is now an art gallery, is located above Sheetz gas station. That was when I. G. Gordon was elected as the new president of Wainwright & Bryant Mill. He remained president until December 27, 1873. At this time Litch was re-elected as president and continued until his death in 1882.

The mill was located along the shores of the Mahoning Creek, where the Mahoning Navigational Company kept the creek navigable for rafts and other kindred craft. At the time, most everyone was in the square timber business. Along this creek every timber man and farmer at least ran one timber raft.

All of the work for taking out of square timber had to be done before the first snaowfall. The trees had to be cut into stacks, socred in, and hewn smooth and square. All of the waste, like sticks and pine needles, were hauled on bobsled by oxen or horses down to the creek until it was time to "raft in" and shipped out before the creek flooded in early spring.

The lumbering business was what brought most of the money to Jefferson County in the late 1800's and earlly 1900's.

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