The Fifty Dollar House

(Marina Starkes)

My name is Millicent Way, I was born at Hare Bay, Bonavista Bay on June 25th, 1922. My father and mother were Samuel and Jane Collins. My father was a camp foreman with the A. N. D. Co. for many years. He also had a Saw Mill at Three Brooks. My father worked hard to support a family of four boys and four girls.

My husband, Lewis, was born in New York, U.S.A. His family moved back to St. John's when he was five years old. After his mother died, he and his father, Garfield Way, moved out to his grandfather's house in Butier's Cove, near Dover. We met in 1939 and got married two years later.

We bought a house in Butier's Cove for $50.00. Lewis and a few men launched the house across the water to Hare Bay. A block and tackle, and long skids were used to haul the house down to the water. To help the house float, oil barrels were placed around the floors and braced to the ceiling with two-by-four lumber.

A boat owned by Pearcy Wells, called the Sylvia Joyce, towed the house up the bay. It was an all night job. They arrived in Hare Bay around 1:00 am. The house was moored up in Little Island Cove for the night.

During the night a vicious storm came up. The house was no match for the strong Southern wind that blew into the little cove. When Lewis went down in the morning to check on it the only things he salvaged were a door and the ground pinion.

After that we built a small house with one bedroom, a kitchen, and a pantry. We lived there for five years. In 1949 we bought the Salvation Army Quarters for $500.00. We still live in it today.

When we were first married Lewis worked in the lumber woods. He cut pulp wood with a buck saw for ninety cents a cord. He soon became tired of not making enough money to support his family so he went to St. John's and renewed his U.S. citizenship.

From there, he joined the U.S. Army at Fort Pepperrell in Pleasantville. He stayed with the Army for two years and then joined the U.S. Air Force where he became a Staff Sergeant and moved to Washington, DC. He used to come home for two week leaves, but sometimes he was gone for a year at a time. One time it was thirteen months before I saw him again. The last place he worked was the Elision Air Force Base in Alaska. After seven years he quit the military because it was too hard on his family.

We had four children during this time and I found it very hard and lonely. Everyday chores like bringing water, scrubbing clothes on a scrub board, bringing in wood and coal kept me busy. Cecil Wiseman's sawmill was just under the hill from my house and he kept me in wood.

My family was good to me but I was very lonely and downcast during the long winter months. I found the weekends especially lonely but with a strong will and perseverance, I got through it.


  1. How much money did Millicent and Lewis Way pay for their first house?
  2. How many years was Lewis gone away from his family?

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