My great-grandfather, and grandfather and his brothers ran saw mills in Arkansas from the 1880s until the onset of the Great Depression. My great-grandfather lived 1840s-1916, and my grandfather (youngest boy of 9 kids), lived 1888-1988. My grandfather was very much a father figure to to me (I was 28 when he died). As I understand the family business, in the early days, the milll was somewhat portable, served mostly homesteaders in the Cadron Creek Settlement area north of Little Rock, and moved around depending upon where the timber was. Later, as the company grew, and they began to acquire or lease large tracts of timber lands, the mill would become a more permanent structure that was rarely moved, and when it did, it would stay put for several years at the new venue. As my grandfather described the operation to me, it was essentially a BIG truss-roof pole barn, without walls. As they grew more sophisticated and started operating under contracts, the lumber would be transported to warehouses for drying.
By the time this all came to an end, with the onset of the Depression in Little Rock, AR, one of the brothers was running the sawmill, one was a building contractor, one did roofs, and my grandfather (an accountant by training) ran a building supply company that sold everything you needed to build a house. The brothers built many a house in the Little Rock, AR area - a truly vertical integration operation. I remember noticing the rough-hewn sawmill marks on the timbers in my grandfather's attic in the house in built about 1928. He finished his career as a Constable (don't know if AR still has those, but they were elected LEOs, and served warrants, acted as Bailiffs, Notaries, and such), and then a Deputy Sheriff. He was 71 when I was born, and by the time I was aware of such things, he was auditing and doing inventory for quick stop stores for the franchise owners. I've got my grandfather's took chest full of hand tools, which I am currently restoring/repairing... I'll try to get some pics posted of it. It's probably not worth much as an antique (maybe a few hundred $), but it has great sentimental value to me. The only tool I actually use from it is a really cool mallet.