18 McGill Street - Marett/Peacock house

In 1967 Mr. Arthur Sweet had written an historical review on the houses and businesses in  Marmora.  Here's what he had to say about 18 McGill: "The land forming the site of the present home of Mrs.F.N. Marett was bought directly from the Marmora Foundry Co., by W.E. and Robert Young in 1856.The property changed hands repeatedly as you will see. It went next to Daniel Young Sr., who again sold it to Jas. Kelly,  who sold to Ben Johnson. He sold to Elijah Johnston,  who sold to Curtis Johnston; the next to buy it was Abba Johnson. Then the family affair changed and it was sold to W.H. Bentley in 1883 when apparently the house was built.  

Canon Harris,  who served the Anglican Church for 44 years,   obtained the house from W.H. Bentley

Not long after the completion of St. Paul's Church, when the Rev. J. Godden was in Stirling the Rev, J. E. Halliwell was largely instrumental in the appointment of Rev. Charles Mountain Harris a graduate of Trinity College, Toronto asthe first resident incumbent of St. Paul's. No one could have foreseen with this appointment the long record of Christian service that was to ensue. After labouring with body, soul and spirit for over fortv-four years, he passed away aftera short illness to a far better rest. In his life, he was beloved by all, and in death his memory honoured. During his long rectorship,  he had seen .erected in his original parish two daughter churches, St. Mark's Rawdon on the 12th Line, & Holy Trinity Church. North Marmora

Marmora Herald    March 22, 1923

Out ofrespectto the memory of the late Canon Harris,  the bells of the Sacred Heart and the United Churchesalternated witih St. Paul's during the funeral procession.  The schools and all business places were closed also.

F.N. Marett & Jim   1929

Frank Newton Marett1877 - 1936

January 1927

Description written for St Paul's Anglican Church                                  Historical House Tour, 1995

One of Marmora Village's finest Victorian houses stands near the top of the hill on McGill Street. It was built in 1883 by David Bentley and is of red brick construction with lots of gingerbread (bargeboard) decoration. It is surrounded by an impressive looking rock and mortar fence.  

Some time later it was sold to Canon Charles Mountain Harris , Rector of St. Paul's Anglican Church , who used it as an office  in addition to living there during his incumbency of 44 years. The brick was likely supplied by the Nayler Brickworks at the east end of the village. A solid brick wall  consisted of two bricks, side by side, back in those days. Wooden poles were used for the roof rafters and square nails were used throughout the house.

When Frank N. Marett purchased the house in 1922, he had a huge cistern installed in the basement to accommodate the run-off water from the roof and eaves troughs  and  a pressure system to pump it up into the kitchen  and bathroom.   His son, Jim Marett remembers that the cistern in his father's house was quite an  attraction,  as cisterns were a relatively new thing back then. If there had been a prolonged dry spell before a rain, the sound of water running into the cistern was music to their ears. Drinking water was obtained from a well outside. 

Marett,  Don, Jim, Doug 1932

Three of the four Marett children were born in the house on Forsyth Street next to F.N. Marett store, which had been a gift to their parents by their grandfather, Josiah William Pearce, a well known businessman in Marmora.  

Jim can recall going into the store as a young lad and seeing wooden chairs hanging from the ceiling on the second floor which were marked 25cents on the bottom. Although classed as a general store, Jim feels it should have been called a department store because the stock covered just about everything, even caskets. Hardware was the only exception and that was taken care of by other stores in town.

When the family moved to 18 McGill street, the hearse was kept in the big barn at the back of the property. When it was needed for a funeral, a farmer supplied the horses to pull it. In winter, the wheels were removed and sleigh runners put on.

 Jim remembers how  it was very difficult to back the hearse into the barn. There was a lot of yelling and shouting, whipping of the horses and the horses  making,a lot of noise  in protest.  Sometimes the glass windows of the hearse would be broken in the melee.

a photo of a 1928 Overland

That type of hearse was replaced a few years later by an Overland motor coach.   "Every time a newer model was purchased, it was left outside in the back yard for a few days and all the men in the vi11age would come to look it over", Jim recalled.

A delivery truck was a necessary part of doing business in those days. Clerk Bob Scott worked in the store and delivered groceries, with Jim's help after school. By watching Bob Scott, Jim learned to drive and was able to get his driver's license at an early age. One funeral, in particular, stands out in Jim's memory. On a spring Saturday morning after the funeral, someone was needed to drive the pallbearers to Hastings Village for the interment meat. Jim was given the job of driving. them.

The burial over, his passengers elected Jim to drive them to the Royal Hotel for a few beers. This took considerable time so that by the time they finally arrived back in Marmora, the men's wives were waiting for them in a not-too-friendly frame of mind.  Jim's older brother Don was also having "a fit" wondering where Jim and his passengers were.  Jim drove up in front of their store and the men, all farmers, could hardly stand up when they did get out of the car.

Jim remembers the funeral of Arnold Walker well.  Mr. Walker had been the mechanic who maintained the hearse. After the casket was put in, the hearse refused to start and had to be pushed by another vehicle. Jim has memories of other funerals that were difficult; the hearse would sometimes get stuck in the snow or slide off into the ditch on country roads   Sometimes the motors in the coaches wouldn't start and it would have to be pushed;  another time the hearse upset with the casket inside. It sounds as though undertaking was a a hazardous business when Jim was growing up and helping in the family business.

Mr. Marett's partner in the funeral part of the business was Mr. Fred Wells,  who many will remember before he moved to Peterborough in the '50s.

PURCHASE BY NORMA AND CLIVE PEACOCK   1972

Norma Peacock with her sons,  Trevor & Clive and daughter-in-law,  Bobbi

On arrival in Marmora in 1972,  Norma and Clive Peacockembarked on an extensive renovation project to undo all the changes that had been made to the house converting the by-then triplex back to a single family home.   It took them more than ten years to accomplish this. They lived in the main part of the house and used the rooms at the back for their antique showroom. The business had grown so much since they opened it that they were now known across Canada for specializing in depression glass and having the largest range of antiques.

 One of the most striking aspects of the houseis the staircase.  The beautifully finished wood is proof that a very talented carpenter built it and the Peacocks spentmany hours of workinvolved in rescuing it from the pink paint which had been applied at some time.