The pioneers needed wood to build houses, barns, furniture, and wagons. Before sawmills were built, the pioneers had to get the wood from trees in the forest by themselves. They would cut it into logs or planks that they could handle. After cutting it, they had to shape it to use for whatever they were building. They would saw big boards for houses or they would chip small sheets away from a big stump for shingles on a house.
When the sawmills were built, it became easier for the pioneers to get the different sizes of wood they needed for different projects. They built houses a lot faster. They used water power or animal power to make the saws go.
When they had to get the logs to far away places, they put the logs in a river to transport them.
Sawmills were dangerous places for the children because they could get caught in the saws or get caught in a pile of wood that had collapsed.
This is a piece of wood that Kourtney sawed the pioneer way. In the summer of 1999, she visited an Amish settlement in Illinois where they had a sawmill set up. Kids could learn about how wood was cut in the pioneer days. This sawmill used horse energy. Kourtney rode on a big horse that went around in a circle. The horse was hooked up to a pole that was connected to a saw that cut through a big log. This was a souvenir from the sawmill.