History of the Old Mill

The Old Mill Foundation’s name refers back to the early days of Cambria.


In 1844 John Langdon and his four sons started a saw mill in Duck Creek, using a hand operated pit saw. The first saw mill had as its proprietors, Samuel Langdon and Jonas Warnke. The raising of the mill was quite an event with men coming from a ten mile distance. The first “pitman” to the mill was made out of cherry tree which grew on the edge of the creek. Jonas Warnke cut it down, hewed out the pitman in the rough and when it was planed, sanded and greased it shown as it rose and fell driving the saw through the oak logs. That lumber sold for $8.00 a thousand. ( A pitman was a shaft that connected the water wheel to the saw.)

image4141In 1845 the Langdon’s built a dam at the site of the sawmill. Records show that the land was conveyed to Sam Langdon on June 14th, 1845. They also show that in the winter in 1845, John Dodge, and Ervin & Sam McCall were among those who joined in the effort of building the dam. Upon the completion of the dam, Mr. Langdon built a frame grist mill and borrowed money for the equipment from James Bell. Mr. Bell later took over the property after foreclosing on Langdon’s loan. Mr. Bell sold the property to John Ap. Jones in 1851. The frame mill was washed out in 1858. In 1859 John Ap. Jones built the stone mill that remained as a vital past of the Cambria History until it was destroyed by a fire on August 2, 1941.