Starch Factory

 

Starch Factory

                In 1881, Donald Farquharson, Esq. grows an interest in the Starch industry and informs the Community that a factory shall be erected in Westville. A meeting was called for all the farmers in the vicinity in order to discuss an agreement for the supply of potatoes. “Messrs. Farquharson & Stewart, of Westville, have called a meeting of the farmers of Lot 65, at the Dominion School House, on Wednesday the 16th, 1881, to lay before them a proposal to build a starch factory in Westville”.[1]The farmers of the Afton Community were quite pleased with this decision, as the introduction of a new factory will ensure their potato production will continue to yield a profit.

                Farquharson was a savvy business man and his decision to build a starch factory was not whimsical; he researched the industry carefully by traveling to the United States. The trip south of the border was aimed at collecting information with regards to starch factories, and to procure a man to superintend the one to be erected in Westville.[2] We know the Starch factory plans had been graciously accepted by the members of the community; however, the exact date of the factory’s erection is unknown. It was certainly constructed by June of 1881, as an accident was reported at the starch factory. It was regretfully mentioned in the Patriot, that Theophilus Stewart, met with a very serious accident. “He fell off one of the starch factory buildings and was picked up insensible. His injuries, however, are not very serious, and we are glad to know that he is progressing favorable under the skillful treatment of Drs. McKay and McLeod”.[3]  An 1883 edition of the Examiner states that Messrs. Farquharson and T.A. Stewart are running their starch factory at full blast; yet they cannot keep at pace with the farmers who are hauling potatoes. The rush is so great at the moment that some days, that farmers have the dissatisfaction of hauling their loads of potatoes back home again.[4] This is a true sign that business in the area was booming, and the starch factory has become a success just two short years after the initial proposal to the community.

   The starch factory provided the community and farmers with the opportunity to grow as an industry. Potatoes were becoming the main vegetable crop on the Island which has proven to last more than a century, as it is still a profitable product to cultivate today. The Starch factory likely closed its doors before 1920, along with most other factories in Westville. All that remains of factory is a photo of the starch factory whistle, compliments of Bill MacEwen.

 



[1] Patriot. Volume: 8. February 12, 1881. Local and Other…

[2] Patriot. Volume: 9. May 18, 1881. Local and Other…

[3] Patriit. Volume: 9. June 13, 1881. Local and Other…

[4] Examiner. Volume: 21. November 7, 1883. Long Creek Notes

 

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