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The Way We Were: the Story of the Way Family of Way's Mills, Part 13

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union_soldier.jpgHaving paid tribute to the Hollister and Truell families, let’s go back to Way’s Mills in the 1860s. A post route from Barnston to Way’s Mills is established on July 1st, 1863. Ebenezer Southmayd Senior, the Ways’ neighbour, is Way’s Mills first postmaster. His son Ebenezer takes over as a dealer in dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, hardware, and much more !

South of the border, the Civil War rages on. It seems that our little town did get its share of wartime drama. An article titled "A Kidnapping Outrage" appears in The True witness and Catholic Chronicle in its issue of August 19, 1864. It reads as follows : "From the Sherbrooke Gazette we learn the particulars of a kidnapping outrage lately perpetrated, the parties connected with which are living in the township of Barnston. It appears that some two years since, a Frenchman named Leezer, deserted form the U.S. army and returned to his residence, near Way’s Mills in Barnston. Last week four or five individuals, one of them named Fox, and another, Cooper, waylaid Leezer, in a space of partial intoxication, and undertook to gag, bind, and put him in a waggon, to run him over the line, with the intention it is supposed of obtaining the bounty on him as a new recruit, or giving him up as a deserter. Leezer resisted them with all his might, until he received a wound in the arm or shoulder, when being quite exhausted, he gave in, and promised to ride quietly in the waggon, if they would not gag him. One of the party drove the team and two others stood one at each side holding his arms, and two others in a waggon behind. They rode in this manner for several miles, when approaching some buildings, Leezer drew up his feet and kicked the driver on to the dashboard, and as he attempted to get up knocked him out of the waggon between the horses feet. He then screamed murder, which attracted the attention of some men close by who came to his rescue. The kidnappers attempted to escape, but two of them we are glad to learn were secured, and taken before a magistrate at Stanstead. One, Cooper, was bound over for $1,000, and the other committed to jail in Sherbrooke." Wow !

Lorenzo is the only son of Daniel Way still living in Way’s Mills, as his brothers Welles and Asa have left the country for Minnesota. Although Asa is still nominally a partner in the business, the future of the family carding and woolen mills will rest on Lorenzo’s shoulders and that of his children. Lorenzo and Julia Ann have had four daughters, no sons: Amy Adelia, born in 1840 ; Alice, b. 1846, Ida, b. 1853 and Eva, b. 1855. The eldest, Amy, weds Lafayette Brown, a young farmer only 20 years old, on March 21, 1859. Lorenzo soon becomes a grandfather, as little Lilla is born in 1860, and Julia in 1865. Sadly, Lafayette dies at an early age, in 1866. His gravestone can still be seen in Way’s Mills cemetery on Jordan Road. The following year, in 1867, Amy Adelia remarries with a Mr Henry J. Johnson. Lorenzo’s new son-in-law will soon get involved in the business… not necessarily for the better. But for now, the mills are thriving.

Our growing village by the Niger River is mentioned for the first time in Lovell’s Directory for 1871 : "Way’s Mills – A settlement in the township of Barnston, county of Stanstead, district of St. Francis. Distant from Libbey Town, 1½ miles, from Ayer’s Flat, a station of the Massawippi Valley Railway, 5 miles, from Stanstead Plain 8 miles, fare 50c ; from Derby Line, in the State of Vermont, a station of the Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers Railway, 9 miles, fare 50c ; from Lennoxville, a station of the Grand Trunk and Massawippi Valley railways, 23 miles, fare $1.25. Mail bi-weekly. Population, including Libbey Town, about 225." One can see how important it was to be close to railway stations.

To be continued...