In 1945 Anson Lewis Elliott returned to New Ross after serving his country in the second world war. Prior to the war Lewis had spent most of his life working in the milling industry (first in Great Village, N.S., then in Kennetcook, and later in New Ross). During the war he had been a member of the forestry corp.stationed in Scotland. Milling seemed to be in his blood. It was of no great surprise that he felt the desire to aquire his own mill. His wife ,Ellamae, would (at his request) take the money he sent home and make payments on their house, feed the family, and set aside some for the purchase of a mill.
Upon his return home, Lewis spent a few years working in Halifax as a carpenter, driving a truck, and sawing staves at a local mill. In 1949 the opportunity arose to purchase a mill owned by Harry Lantz. The mill was located in Lake Ramsey near New Ross. This steam powered mill was purchased for the sum of 1,500 dollars.
The mill in Lake Ramsey directly employed 7 people, produced custom sawed lumber for local residents, barrel staves and heads. The hours of operation for the sawmill were 7 am to 5 pm, Monday to Saturday.
At the age of 13, Lewis's son, Eugene began working at the mill with his father. Eugene grew up and became a surveyor but within a short period of time he realized that, like his father, what he really wanted to do was to own his own milling business. In 1964 Eugene built a planer mill just outside the village of New Ross.
The lumber from the Lake Ramsey mill would be trucked to the planer mill to be dressed and then sent to the customer. The idea was that at some future date a new sawmill would be built at the planer mill site. At the age of 12, Eugene's son Peter began to work at the planer mill with his father.
In 1974 Eugene bought Ronald Barkhouse's sawmill located at the foot of "mill hill" adjacent to the village of New Ross. Eugene built a planer mill on this site. Lewis joined his son as sawyer and Eugene ran the planer mill. Peter worked with them after school and on weekends. Peter studied bookkeeping but, like his father and grandfather,decided his career lay in the milling industry and started running the planer mill in 1980.
Lewis, who had started his milling career at the age of 14, officially retired at the age of 60. He continued on as co-sawyer with Eugene and did all the filing until the age of 77 (1988).
The present sawmill has changed greatly since Eugene purchased it in 1974. Both the sawmill and the planer mill have been completely rebuilt and are now run by electricity instead of diesel. The company now directly employs 15 people. The hours of operation are 7 am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and 7 am to noon on Saturdays. The sawmill runs from 8am to 5pm Mondays to Fridays (this has been shortened from the original 54 hour work week at Lewis's mill). Production has doubled.
Elliott's Lumber has evolved from producing staves and rough sawn lumber for use in the New Ross and surrounding areas. The company now provides rough and dressed lumber made to customer specification and can be purchased in Canada, the United States, and Great Britian.