ONTARIO, Bethel A. E. Way, Collector of Coins Medals Tokens Indian Curios, 30.8 white metal numismatist card
What helps bring our hobby alive is research. The following is an excerpt from a book in preparation by E. B. Banning, Tokens of Esteem: Early Canadian Numismatists and their Tangible Legacies.
Albert E. Way (1872-1950)
Albert Edward Way was born on April 1, 1872 in Sophiasburg, Prince Edward County, Ontario. His parents were Israel Tripp Way (1839-1899), a farmer, and Mary Ann Foster (1841-1896), and he was a descendant of United Empire Loyalists of New York Dutch origin. His great-grandfather, Daniel Blake Way (1762-1840) had settled in Prince Edward County about 1781, making the Way family one of the oldest pioneer families in the county. The Way farms were a little northwest of the town of Picton (Canada Census 1881; 1891; 1901; Picton Times 1951).
As a young man, Albert served as a private in the 16th Regiment, Prince Edward Infantry and continued in the family occupation of farmer (Volunteer Militia 2010). On September 6, 1897, he married Annie Luella Mills (1876-1943), the daughter of a Sophiasburg storekeeper (Ontario Marriages 2010: MS932 reel 94), and the couple had two boys, Leo Foster Way (1899-1973) and Raymond Perry Mills Way (1910-1971). By 1901, Albert’s family was farming in Sophiasburg township (Canada Census 1901).
In 1903, the same year he became visible in international numismatic directories (Gnecchi and Gnecchi 1903: 511; Renart 1904: 1), Albert Way ordered his first numismatist’s “card” from the Cranston Company (Frey 1904c). Its simple design proclaims him as a numismatist from Bethel, Ontario, and his interests as “Rare Coins, Tokens & Medals.” Bethel is not a town or village, but a rural road about halfway between Picton and Demorestville.
However, coins, tokens and medals were not his only collecting interests. As shown on his second card, of 1904, he was also a “Collector of Coins, Medals, Tokens, Indian Curios”. Like fellow numismatist and resident of Prince Edward County, George Chadd, Way was collecting indigenous artifacts that could frequently be encountered in archaeological sites scattered through farm fields and along the county’s irregular coastlines.
In 1904, Way joined the American Numismatic Association, becoming member no. 581 in March (Heath 1904). He also advertised in The Numismatist:
WANTED—U.S. Gold dollars; 1849 C and D mint, 1850 O C and S mint. 1851 O mint. 1853 C and O mint. 1877 proof set. Dollars must be absolutely uncirculated. A. E. Way, Bethel. Ontario (Way 1904).
He repeated this advertisement periodically for more than a year.
For some reason, Way gave up farming and, in 1908, moved to 91 St Joseph St. in Toronto, where he got a job in the department store of the Robert Simpson Company (A.N.A. 1908b; Canada Census 1911; TCD 1909: 1127). He let his A.N.A. membership lapse by 1910 (A.N.A. 1910).
By 1912, Way had partnered with Daniel Schwalm, who ran a grocery store at 799 St. Clair Ave. West, to open a real estate office next-door, Schwalm & Way (TCD 1912: 1367). Albert also moved his family to Wychwood Ave., not far from the office.
The real estate business appears to have been short-lived, and Albert Way concentrated on running a grocery store, first at 384 (later 424) Oakwood Ave. in Fairbank, north of Toronto Junction (Canada Census 1921; TCD 1917: 28, 1721; 1922: 89). This was a new, working-class suburb. Way’s Grocery, at the corner of Oakwood and Jesmond Ave., is still a grocery today, although under a different name.
In 1922 or early 1923, Albert Way moved to Oshawa, Ontario, perhaps to be closer to one of his sons, Raymond, who worked as a clerk for McLaughlin-Buick and then General Motors, and daughter-in-law, Ina. Someone named William Jeff took over the grocery in Fairbank (TCD 1923: 75; 1924: 1800). Way lived first at his son’s house at 51 Nassau St. and then at 141 Colborne St. East, Oshawa, the 1935 and 1940 voters lists listing him as “salesman” and the 1945 one as “retired” (Ancestry 2012; Vernon 1928: 359; 1932: 284).
After the death of his wife Annie in 1943, Albert Edward Way died in Oshawa on May 5, 1950 at the age of 78 and was buried in Oshawa Union Cemetery (Find-a-Grave n.d.: 205894028).