Frank Pastway Sawmill

Frank Pastway was born in Killaloe in November 13, 1903. He lived his early years in Madawaska where he attended school for only three days and then worked with his father on the family farm and in his father’s sawmill. At the age of 15 his family moved to a farm near Renfrew where Frank continued to work with his father and also assisted other farmers in their chores. In 1926, he worked for a short time in the Galetta Lead Mine but was forced to leave for health reasons.

After travelling to Saskatchewan with his brother Steve in August 1927 and working on the wheat harvest, the two returned the following year and worked together at Bruly Lake in Algonquin Park cutting logs using only cross-cut saws

Frank purchased his first sawmill in May 1929 for the then princely sum of $400.

In 1936 he bought the land the mill sat in which was on Waddington’s property after the mill burned. He used the mill to hash grain and cut wooden shingles. He moved the mil to Halfway and operated it there for a year. Fire destroyed the mill again in 1950, rebuilt it and working it until 1972 when he shut operations down and retired.

Frank married Stella Golka, (born May 8, 1919), on February 2, 1937 and the business was a true partnership for the Pastways. They had nine children; Michael, Raphael (Ray), Shirley, Gladys, Herman, Bernadette, Terry, Fidelis and Imelda. Stella was very involved in the business, cooking for the staff, looking after the books and helping out where necessary.

Frank purchased the mill in Barry’s Bay behind St. Hedwig’s Cemetery from Henry Chapeskie while rebuilding the mill in Combermere after the second fire. He then moved the mill to Harvey Lake, near Rolphton in the 1960’s where he sawed logs for Shaw Lumber. In 1962, the mill was rented to M.W. (Barney) Miller and Sons of Eganville. The Combermere mill employed over 20 men and could saw 32,000 feet of white pine logs in a 8-hour shift By 1947 Frank owned the largest fleet of trucks in the area. In the 1960’s White pine logs were harvested from Algonquin Park during winter months and stored on the ice until spring break-up when they would be boomed and floated down river to the sawmill. The mill was located on the … side of the Combermere over the Madawaska River.

COMBERMERE HERITAGE WALK, A PROJECT BY THE COMBERMERE HERITAGE SOCIETY INC. –  2014

www.heritagewalk.ca/combermere