In the year 1917, the world was dominated by thoughts of the Great War. The U.S. had joined the theatre, declaring war on Germany while the Chinese declared war on Austria. The Canadian troops stormed Vimy Ridge in France and Billy Bishop had earlier scored his first victory, shooting down German Leutnant Theiller. Even T.E. Lawrence became famous that year when he joined the Arabian Forces and was thereafter known as Lawrence of Arabia.
That year the world witnessed the U.S. buy the Virgin Islands from the Danish for $25,000,000.00, the British Monarchy change its German surname to Windsor and Babe Ruth beat the NY Yankees for the Red Sox. Closer to home, Halifax was devestated by the explosion of the Mont Blanc killing 1700 people; The NHL enjoyed its first game: Toronto Arenas beat Montreal Canadians, and the Canadian Government enacted the Compulsory Military Act allowing conscription, but adding an order which forbid the recruiting under 19 yrs of age, formerly set at 16!
The local newspaper was full of war reports, recruiting, of movement of soldiers to Kingston and overseas, letters from the front, injuries and deaths. Lieut. Henry Reginald Pearce of Marmora was appointed recruiting officer for the 230th Forestry Bn., for Hastings County and opened an office at 16 Forsyth Street. He quickly secured a number of men and expected little difficulty in securing 100 men from the County.
Killed in action:
George Wright, David Emmorey, J. Cecil Feeney, George Sellyeh, Sam Smith, William John, Frederick Fry, Alex McFarlane Charles Conlon, George Davidson, Robert Nickle, James Caldwell.
Capt. E.M. Gladney, Michael McFarlane, Joseph McFarlane, Cecil Warren, Robert Southworth, Donald McCallum, Charles Clairmont, Harold Nayler, Lawrence Conlon, Earl O'Connor.
Everyone was involved, one way or another:
Jan. 18, 1917 "A very fine band concert and recruiting meeting was held in the hall last Friday evening and there was a large and enthusiasticaudience. Mr Geo. MacQueen was chairman and Capt. Ingram, Lieut. E. Geen (who had just returned from overseas where he had been in the trenches for over a year) and Mr. E. Gus Porter, K.C. M.P. gave addresses. Several new recruits were secured.
Jan 25, 1917 "Pte. Jos. McFarlin, who enlisted in Marmora 27 months ago and was wounded last summer, returned home last Monday. A large number of citizens met the train at C.P. R. Junction (Bonarlaw), and on their arrival in the village the school children had marched in a body to the Royal Hotel corner and cheered and waved flags."
On the home front, Women's Institutes, Red Cross Societies and Patriotic Leagues were working full steam ahead raising money for wool, managing the shipments of parcels of socks, food and cigarettes. In the week of Feb. 22, the Red Cross sent overseas 25 surgical jackets, 34 pairs of pyjamasThe Deloro Patriotic Society's financial Statement for 1916 showed receipts of $3,636.80
On May 24, 1917 a meeting was held in the town hall to form a Welcome League. It was moved by S.B. Wright and seconded by T.E. Laycock that it be named "The Great War Marmora Soldiers' Welcome League". The object of the League was to suitably acknowledge the dead, wounded and those returning home from the Great War.
But in other parts of the village, life carried on as normal.
Jan. 18, 1917 "Mr. W.A. Sanderson has purchased a fine new bus with which he will meet the trains on the C.P.R. and C.N.R.. The bus was built by Mr. S. Bertrand. It will accommodate 10 to 12 inside and one or two besides the driver on the front seat."
That same year, Mr. Hulin purchased an auto which was going to replace the horse-drawn stage for carrying mail and passengers between Stirling and Marmora.
There was no shortage of entertainment.
In April the Tom Marks Company(also known as Canada's own Marx Brothers) performed a Vaudeville performance to a full house at the Town Hall with songs, jokes, solos, choruses, and a play entitled "Are You a Mason?" Joseph, Thomas, Robert, Alex, Earnest, John and McIntyre, a dapper looking dramatic company of Perth, Ontario, brothers and their wives, travelled across North America bringing Vaudeville-style shows towns, both small and large. They now form part of a fascinating exhibit based on the photos of Peterborough’s Roy Studio Collection, entitled "Voices of the Town" at the Peterborough Museum.
On May 3, the Town Hall housed "The Suffragettes' Convention", a one act play, with the Deloro Orchestra playing at half time. On the evening of May 24th, the people of Marmora had the opportunity of seeing the official moving picture of the Battle of the Somme. Admission 15 and 25 cents and war tax" Another "motion picture play", The Battle Cry of Peace was available for viewing in November. And back in June, Marmora was most honoured to receive the great English violinist, Isolde Menges, (click for more) who gave an additional free matinee concert for the children.
Despite the war, the Township saw development. Deloro celebrated the opening of its new school in February of 1917. "A Fairy Play will furnish the entertainment and it should draw a packed house." and further north, the Beaver Creek Military Company was organized by a number of the farmers in the area for the purpose of operating a roller flour mill for their own use. Mr. William Pack was president, James Bailey, vice and Charles Jones, the secretary-treasurer. The mill was situated near Wm Bonter saw mills in the Twp. (Lot 19, Conc. 5)
New partnerships formed in the business section of town, and the Pearce Mill, which had burned down earlier, was starting to be rebuilt with the sawing operations already in action
The year, however, had its fair share of disasters. In March, the Cordova Mines suffered a terrible fire in No. 1 shaft and blacksmith shop, leaving three men trapped underground overnight, and the close of the mine shaft.
In June Marmora's Wolfe Station narrowly escaped being destroyed by fire as a result of C.N.R. telegraph wires becoming heavily charged from the Hydro-Electric Line.
July was the month that James Gallagher was killed while engaged in statute labour, when struck on the head by his fellow worker, Samuel Rogers, and by August, theDeerRiver had witnessed the tragic double drowning of two young lads, Charles Ronald Moloney and Wilbert Houghton.
Another young lad, son of Ira Outwater of Cordova, narrowly escaped death when he detonated a dynamite cap while holding the explosive in his hand. He lost the ends of three fingers and his thumb.
For more on the world events of 1917, click here to read another interesting web page, written by Jonathan Walford.