THE BLEECKER FAMILY
Photos donated by the Bleecker Family
The story of the Bleeckers in Marmora begins in the 1850s when George William Bleecker arrived with a wagon load of goods from Belleville to set up business.
According to Howard Bleecker, interviewed in 1978, George William married a "local girl", Sarah Mariah Johns, daughter of Bartholomew C. Johns. They boarded with Mrs. Brady, but by 1857 they were living and running the hotel (The Parkin House) They had nine children, several of whom died in infancy.
SARAH MARIAH JOHNS + GEORGE WILLIAM BLEECKER April 8 1839 - Feb. 17, 1929 April 27 1824 - June 17, 1895
- Charles Archibald Bleecker Sept. 1857-March 13, 1945
- George Bartholomew Bleecker who died in 1903 at 42 years, having married Miss Waterhouse, a niece of Mrs. Red Pearce, and having two sons, George and McLaren
- Fred William Bleecker - Aug. 15, 1868 to Oct. 1910. He lived in the brick house that later became the United Church Manse on the N.W. corner of Madoc and North Hastings St. He married Miss McWilliams, had two daughters, Thelma 7 Dora, and lived in California
- Maggie A. Bleecker, July 30, 1865 to May 2, 1889
- Minerva - her daughter was 'Jen" who moved to US with husband, George Malloy
- Gilbert Bleecker, who referred to "Sarah Mariah - The Bed's on Fire!". He was a jeweller in the U.S.
- Frank "Pete" - moved to the U.S.
George had bought the "hotel", now known as the "Parkin House", where he lived and ran the hotel. There he and his wife lived for twelve years and had the first five children. They later built the brick house beside it, where they lived before turning it over to their second son, George Bartholomew Bleecker, in 1890. Another son, Fred William Bleecker built a home at the N.W. corner of Madoc & North Hastings Street, which later became the United Church Manse. It is now a private residence.
Howard continued in his 1978 interview. "My grandfather (George William) started with a small general store, but I don't know where it was. A little later, he built and ran a store for many years where the Embers restaurant is now. There was that building, there was the big house which was his hotel and home (Parkin House) and the brick one. So there were only three buildings there at that time. In fact, when I first remember it, that's all there were. There was no building on the corner. I think the Sweets built the corner building in 1912."
Charles Archibald Bleecker
The first child born was Charles Archibald Bleecker, Howard's father. Together, George William and Charles Archibald were in business in town, and were Treasurers of the Township and the Village until 1945.
Charles Archibald Bleecker continued the business in the above store, running a tailor shop, making clothes from scratch. By 1890, two brothers had joined the workforce, adding a milliners store, with everything made locally. A lot of the cloth was brought in from McKye's in Montreal by George William. He would take a team of horses to Brockville (100 miles) and catch the train. In winter, of course, the goods were brought to Marmora by sleigh. The tailor shop closed in about 1903 when one of the brothers died and the family sold out to J.W. Pearce
George William Bleecker 1824 - 1895
Sarah Mariah Johns 1839-1829
Howard continued - "After Charles A. Bleecker went out of the tailor business, he went into the insurance business and was also the Treasurer of the Township and later the Village. From the 1860's or 70's, the Treasurer's job was either my grandfather's or my father's, until 1945. My father was also the agent for the Canadian Pacific in Marmora, because we used to do a lot of rail business. The C.P. Station was in Bonarlaw. The Marmora station was C.N., but there were two or three trains through here daily. The C.N. Station used to handle the business for Deloro. There was also a spur line running off the main line, which ran up into Marmora and continued up to Cordova, used for bringing in freight."
More photos of C.A. Bleecker, WW1
Cora Alice Bleecker 1865-1951
In Feb. of 1886, Charles Archibald Bleecker married Cora Alice Powers (March 27, 1865- Dec. 12, 1951). She was the daughter of Amos Powers and Dinah Burton, and her siblings were Addie (Adelaide), Albert who lived in Oregon and Lucy Shepherd of Windsor, Ontario.
Charles Archibald and Cora had three children:
- Ernest Carley Bleecker, known as Carl(March 20, 1887 - Nov. 23, 1913. Carl lived with Aunt Addie (sister of Cora) for high school in Brockton Mass., USA, and attended Harvard in Forestry. On March 28, 1907, the Marmora Herald wrote that Carl "has finished his first year examination at Harvard University. He won a scholarship of $150.00 and his standing was so excellent that he has been advanced a year in his course.
- Gilbert Roy Bleecker (Aug. 10, 1889 to May 5, 1982) Gilbert went out west to Michigan, Minnesota and Oregon, to work with his uncle Albert, Cora's brother, and the Powers cousins in Oregon
3. CHARLES HOWARD BLEECKER, known as "Howard", son of Charles Archibald an Cora Powers Bleecker, was born in 1902 in the home he always knew on the S.E. corner of Madoc & Victoria Streets. He left Marmora in 1915 to attend high school is London, living with Dr. & Jen Fidlar, and with Dr. Carmichaelin Peterborough for grades 11 & 12. . He worked for two years as an office boy at Deloro and then attended Queen's University, returning home in the summers towork at the Deloro Smelting plant.
On Oct. 6, 1944, he married Marjory Evelyn McInnis, having met in Meaford, Ontaario. From 1925-62, Howard worked for the Bell Telephone Company and lived in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. He returned to Marmora to retire in 1962until his death
Howard and Marjory had three children:
- John Gilbert Bleecker (March 30, 1947)
- Sarah Jane (Oct. 6, 1949)
- Margaret Susan (Peggy) March 30, 1955
Miriam Savage worked for Sun Life, coming to Marmora from Montreal after her parents died. Howard Bleecker brought her from Montreal to act as a housekeeper for his parents. She lived with the Bleeckers for 27 years, assisting at home and later in the Bleecker's office (CPR ticket agent, secretary for hydro and the insurance office). Upon the death of Howard's parents, Miriam was given the Bleecker business by the Bleecker brothers. She eventually bought the building at 3 McGill Street, which later became the Marmora Herald office, maintaining the business and living upstairs. In addition to all the above duties, Mariam was also the Village Clerk.
Pearl McCaw Franko wrote: Miriam was a lovely woman. Once a month as a young child I visited her to pay our $5.00 a month rent. She let me type on her extra typewriter, a thrill for me. Above that desk was a sign, "don't take life too seriously as you'll never get out alive anyway." When I went in training to become a nurse at 17 she was very encouraging and one day gave me $100.00 which to me at that time was an absolute fortune. She said let me know how you're doing once in a while but remember, "mum's the word" meaning it was our secret. I still consider her my guardian angel.