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The Way We Were: the Story of the Way Family of Way's Mills, Part 15

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larger_carnations_redoute.jpgWay’s Mills may be a remarkably healthy locality but as years go by, the early settlers of Way’s Mills are advancing in age, and by 1875 some of our founders have passed away. For example, Jacob Clifford, Daniel Way’s contemporary, has died in 1871. Death sometimes claims the young as well. Delia Way, Daniel’s daughter, and her husband Francis Clifford, Jacob’s son and the village carpenter, have 3 children : Isadora, b. in 1851, Henry Francis, b. 1853 and Edward Clarence, b.1863. Isadora dies in May 1875 at the age of 24. The Stanstead Journal reports :

«Ways’ Mills. Miss Isadora Clifford, of this place, died on Tuesday the 11th inst. after a protracted sickness of nearly seven years. At the time diphteria was so prevalent in these townships, of which many a bereaved family have sad remembrance, it fastened on this young girl just then approaching womanhood, and with relentless persistancy followed her in one form and another until she felt the sting of death, and the grave claimed its victory ; but she rests in hope, and the afflicted family may feel assured of the warm sympathies of the entire community.» Diphteria, a contagious disease, was a well-known killer in those days. In December 1874, the Stanstead journal had reported the death also caused by diphteria of 9 year-old Georgiana Truell, second daughter of Byron Truell, brother of local farmer Valorous Truell.

The Stanstead reporter goes on to write about Way’s Mills: «A lady called my attention to a fine carnation pink in her window the other day, it measures 3 ½ inches in height and has grown 1 inch in each 24 hours since it started this season, and has 40 buds nearly ready to blossom. All sorts of flowering plants and seeds can now be obtained so easy why not have more of them ? A thing of beauty is a joy forever.» This saying still holds true: there are to this day beautiful gardens flowering in Barnston West that would make the carnation lady of 1875 very proud…

In 1875, religious services in Way’s Mills are still being held in the school house. Once every four weeks, Reverend Dow, Adventist, comes to preach. Residents can as well listen to Rev. Patterson, Methodist. About the latter’s sermon of September 5th, 1875, the Stanstead Journal reports : «The earnest attention with which the sermon was received, was proof that the Gospel has lost none of its power but now as of old, the people hear it gladly.» A meeting is called to convene Way’s Mills residents on September 8, 1875, to discuss the building of a proper house of worship.

These are changing times in the Barnston area and in Way’s Mills. The early settlers are making space for the younger generation and farms are changing hands. On June 17th 1875, the Stanstead Journal reports : «Way’s Mills. W.S. Cutting has bought the farm of Cyrus Burbank for $3000. Mr Burbank is one of the pioneers of this town, (Barnston), and has lived on the farm now sold for about fifty years. Mr Cutting takes possession next spring.» The Stanstead Journal had reported earlier that «Mr. W.S. Cutting after an absence of 12 years in the West, has returned with his family, we understand to remain. There is room enough.».

Like Mr Cutting, Asa and Welles, the younger sons of Daniel Way, had gone out West in the mid-1850s, to Minnesota. But unlike Cutting, the Way sons will never move back to our village by the Niger River, even if there is «room enough». Sadly, when they do come to visit in late September 1875, it is because an important family member has passed away.

To be continued...