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The Way We Were: the Story of the Way Family of Way's Mills, Part 11

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By the 1850s, residents in the Coaticook area, including Barsnton are fighting with Stanstead over the location of the Railroad running from Portland, Maine, into Canada. Daniel Way and Harry Hollister, are shareholders of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad (2 shares each!). Coaticook is chosen and the region develops quickly as a result of the economic boom that follows. Way’s Carding Works, as Daniel’s mill is then called, is prospering.

larger_way.atlantic.jpgUnfortunately, gristmill and sawmill owner Harry Hollister dies on August 28th, 1857, at the young age of 52. Nevertheless, the settlement is growing. Daniel Way’s next door neighbour is Ebenezer Sage Southmayd (b. 1799) who moved his family in 1829 from Wheelock, Vermont, to the banks of the Niger River. He is a tanner and shoemaker. In 1851 he advertizes in the Stanstead Journal " a first rate article of New York sole leather, for sale wholesale and retail."

By the end of 1852 brothers Lorenzo and Welles Way are also advertising in the Journal that they are "Manufacturing, and have on hand, a general assortment of Furniture, consisting of Bureaus, Tables, Stands, Bedsteads, Chairs, etc, which will be sold, for Cash or produce, as cheap as can be found in the Townships- Please call and examine before purchasing elsewhere." But in 1857, drawn by the promise of a brighter future in the Midwest, Welles Way moves to Fillmore County, Minnesota, with his wife Mary Libby, from Libbytown and his first 2 children (7 more will be be born in Minnesota). Lorenzo’s other brother, Asa, moves there the same year with wife Melissa Clement and their 4 children. Lorenzo is the only Way son left here.

larger_way.blacksmith.jpgBut there are new arrivals. Soon after 1851, Adam Cramer, (b.1832), arrives from Melbourne, Sherbrooke County, with his young bride, Emeline Miller. He is a blacksmith. His trade is essential to the growing village. Blacksmith Cramer is mentioned in the Canada Directory of 1857 which also lists amongst other names under Barnston Corner, those of Daniel Way clothier, Ebenezer Southmayd tanner and shoemaker, and farmers John Bellows and Simeon Clark. Lorenzo S. Way is called a painter and carriage maker. He’s probably competing with Walter Buckland, also listed in the 1857 Directory as a cabinet and carriage maker!

One of Ebenezer Southmayd’s daughters, Sarah, (b. 1823), marries Alexander R. P. Sanborn in 1849. Their farm is on Jordan Road. The artistically inclined Sarah has written a poem titled " My early home" which reads as follows (Stanstead Historical Society Journal, 1989, Vol. 13):

My home, my home, my early home !
I long once more to see
Its pleasant scenes, its childhood haunts
That yet are dear to me.
The rose bush by the garden hedge,
Oft watched with anxious care,
For the first opening buds of spring
To twine around my hair.
And oft I hear the joyous laugh
Come floating back to me,
Of many mates, in life’s young morn
O’er memory’s distant sea.
The shady grove, and meadows green,
The glen, the forest hill,
And every dear familiar spot
Are on my memory still.
The music of the crystal stream,
Still sounding in my ear
Where I have wandered with the friends
Remembrance yet holds dear.
Oh. I do love to pause and think
Of other years gone by –
Of happier days and dearer friends
Though not without a sigh.

The crystal stream of the poem may well be the Niger flowing by Sarah’s childhood home…and Mary Libby and Melissa Clement, missing their loved ones left behind in a small village by the Niger, may have recited such a poem to their children in far away Minnesota.

To be continued...