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The Way We Were: the Story of the Way Family of Way's Mills, Part 14

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On December 26th, 1871, Daniel Way appears with wife Keziah before the notary public and sells to son Lorenzo almost all the land he owns by the Niger River, including the family dwelling, for twelve hundred dollars. On the same day Daniel sells to his other son Asa the remainder of the land for eight hundred dollars. In addition, Asa and Lorenzo each get an undivided half of the the woolen mill and the machinery used for carding wool and dressing cloth. The sales are made subject to Lorenzo and Asa taking responsibility for the maintenance of Daniel Way and wife Keziah during the remainder of their lives, and for the payment of their funeral expenses. This condition of sale involving the care of one’s parents was a current practice in those days. The witnesses to the transactions are Lorenzo’s youngest daughter Eva, Asa’s son Hervey (b. 1850), and Henry J. Johnson, husband of Lorenzo’s eldest daughter Amy.

larger_l.s._ways_woolen_mills.jpgLorenzo and Asa are now the owners of the business. But their father Daniel is still actively involved. On June 13, 1872, Daniel and his sons borrow two thousand dollars from Hiram Davis, «dealer», to be repaid within two years together with 10 percent interest. As security, they mortgage in favor of Hiram all of the land, dwellings and the mill. The Ways also put up as added security «three new carding machines, one spinning jack and one loom» which they agree «to put into the mill within thirty days». The deed is witnessed by Ebenezer Southmayd and his son, who are sworn in as such by Valorous Truell, then a justice of the peace for the district.

The mill is heavily mortgaged but the Ways have invested in additional machinery and business is booming. On June 1st, 1875, Lorenzo and Asa advertise in the Stanstead Journal : «Way’s Mills Woolen Factory. Have all kinds of Woolen Goods on hand to exchange for wool. Custom Carding, Spinning and Cloth Dressing done to order. Wool manufactured by the yard or on shares. Wool sent by stage will receive prompt attention.» On September 9, 1875, The Stanstead Journal states : «Ways’ Mills. The Messrs Way are sparing no pains to make it to the advantage of farmers to patronize their woolen mill and the budgets of wool daily arriving reminds one that frosty winter will not find the Townships people wholly unprepared for its advent.»

Lovell’s Directory of 1871 lists these farmers for Way’s Mills : Israel Blake, Solomon Bowker, Jacob Clifford, John Coffy, Charles Davis, Antoine Dean, Sylvanus Griffin, Marshall Jones, Charles Libbey, John McDonald, David Redway, High Odbert, Alexander Sanborn (husband of local poetess Sarah Southmayd), James Standish, Valorous Truell, Lewis Vaughan, Alby and Reiley Wyman. Some amongst them are probably loyal «patrons» of the Ways’Woolen Factory.

Another farmer worthy of mention is Hezekiah Otis, who, upon selling his farm and retiring, was honored in January 1875 by the Stanstead Journal: «Way’s Mills. Mr Otis is one of the early settlers of this place being eigthty years of age. He was a U.S. soldier in the war of 1812 and consequently a Pensioner of that Government. He now lays aside the cares of this life that he may without disturbance calmly contemplate the life beyond. The number of aged people in this community has often elicited the remark from strangers that it must be a remarkably healthy locality, there being no less than thirteen persons whose ages range from seventy-five to eighty-three.» The 1875 chronicler would marvel at the demographics for Barnston West in 2010. And he might poetically attribute local longevity to the clear waters of the Niger River, our very own Fountain of Youth!

To be continued...