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From Iron County Chronicle, Vol. 9, No. 4, Fall, 1989, published by the Clarion County Historical Society.

As early as 1802, lumber was being taken from the region that would become Clarion County.  The first sawmill in the area was constructed by James Laughlin and Frederick Miles at the mouth of Piney Creek. Laughlin and Miles also own the distinction of being the first company to construct lumber rafts and use the Clarion and Allegheny Rivers to transport the lumber to Pittsburgh.  The first "run of lumber" to Pittsburgh was accomplished in 1804.

Following the success of Laughlin and Miles, the focus of the industry shifted to the richly wooded slopes in the region of Turkey Run and Callensburg.  Areas further south never possessed the abundance of pine and hemlock found in the northern half of the county.  The lumber that was available in the southern half of the county was stripped away by the iron industry.  By mid-century, the focus of the industry had shifted to the northeastern section of the county.

Cooks Mill at Mill CreekOne of the largest lumbering operations, the Marvin-Rulofson Company, was located at the mouth of Mill Creek.  This company produced 60,000 board feet per day.  By 1887, more than 160,000,000 board feet had been cleared from the company's tract, leaving an additional 90,000,000 feet still to be felled.  By the same year, 50,000,000 board feet of pine had been removed from the nearby Blake tract.

The Cook family dominated the lumber industry in the Clarion-Jefferson-Forest County border region.  Beginning with the purchase of several tracts of land in northern Jefferson County, John Cook built a lumber empire that, through his sons, would remain in operation until 1910.  The family would give its name not only to Cooksburg, but to Cook Forest State Park, the largest remaining stand of virgin white pine in Pennsylvania.  Along with the noted lumber operation in Cooksburg, the Cook family (under the name of A. Cook Sons Company) purchased the Marvin-Rulofson Company mill at Mill Creek.  The Brookville American newspaper of March 22, 1906, noted that

The largest deal in timber that ever took place in Clarion County was closed in the office of Corbett & Rugh, attorneys for Marvin-Rulofson Company, on Friday evening last week.  At the same time, the largest check ever issued in Clarion County, to our knowledge, was given by A. Cook Sons Company to Marvin-Rulofson Company, $200,000.  The delivery of the check took on a romantic character.  The delivery was the gracious act of Mrs. A. W. Cook, to which Mr. Marvin responded in a very happy manner, calling for the applause of all present.

A century ago, the county's lumber production ranked third highest in Pennsylvania (behind Lycoming and Clearfield counties).  In one year alone, the county's fifteen mills and twenty- two saws cut 23,000,000 board feet of lumber, 30,000 shingles, and 29,000 pickets.  Lumbering remained a significant economic factor in Clarion County throughout the 19th Century.  In the 20th Century, however, the industry rapidly declined.  Between the lumber industry and the lumber taken to fuel the iron furnaces, the deforestation of the county was swift and, in many areas, complete.  Soon after the turn of the century, lumber production in Clarion County dropped to 7,500,000 board feet per year.

From True Tales of the Clarion River, edited by George P. Sheffer, originally published in 1933; reprinted 1971 with supplement.

The last run of rafts down the Clarion River was Saturday and Sunday, May 22-23, 1915.  When the Piney Dam closed in the Spring of 1924, the Clarion River was no longer used to float lumber or any other products to Pittsburgh.

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