Sir James Matheson pursued a scheme to turn Peat into Paraffin.
It began in 1852 and lasted 22 years before closing due to embezzlement in 1874.
Searching for evidence in the censuses of 1861 and 1871 reveals the following:
Paragen Works No 1
John Makay, 30, Pargine Labourer
Mary, 25, Wife
? , 2
Ann, 4 months
Paragen Works No 2
Donald Morrison, 32, Mason
Effy Morrison, 27, Wife
Donald, 3 months
David Lewis, 70, Tinsmith
David ? , 54, Engineer Smith
Clearly ‘Paragen’ is a transcription error, but were these people part of the peat to paraffin process?
Henry Carter, 62, Manager of Lewis Chemical Works and Fire Works Jardine James Matheson
Annabella Macleod, 42, General Servant
Donald Macleod, 16, Servant
Creed Chemical Works Bothy
Donald Mckennan, 25, Labourer at Chemical Works
John Smith, 24, Labourer at Chemical Works
Christina Morrison, 54, Working at the Chemical Works
Happily, the results from 1871 are rather more reliable and give us the names of the Manager and three of his employees.
Whether Henry Carter was directly involved in the events that led to the demise of the Lewis Chemical and Fire Works remains unknown.