As the Liberty Paper Mill was bustling with activity, Abijah Burbank was struggling with his new paper mill, built near Worcester in 1776 to accommodate – among others – the publisher of the Massachusetts Spy – Isaiah Thomas. The need for paper for Thomas and for the good of the country, was so severe that on May 31, 1775, a convention of delegates from the towns in Worcester County convened to pass the following:
Resolved: That the erection of a paper mill in this county would be of great public advantage, and if any person or persons will undertake the erection of such a mill and the manufacture of paper, that it be recommended to the people of the county to encourage the undertaking by generous contributions and subscriptions.
A year later, Burbank took out an advertisement in the Spy to announce:
The subscriber hereby informs the public that his paper mill in Sutton is finished and ready for business. The benefit that such a work will be to this country, at this time is well known to everyone. Therefore, it is hoped they will assist the carrying it on, by saving all their Old Linnen and Cotton Rags for which cash and a good price will be given, at said paper mill.
N.B. Cash and a good price will also be given for old rags at the printing office in Worcester.
The ad is dated May 8, 1777.
Zenas Crane was born the next day.
Their paths were destined to cross.