Memoirs of George Cheeseman


The Company Town

A company general store supplied the village to a large extent. It was run as a cooperative with year end discounts etc. and the proprietor operated in conjunction with the company and the store board. I don't recall if they were elected or appointed. This store handled the distribution of company turkeys at Christmas time.

The company maintained a lawn bowling green and clay tennis courts, and a swampy area in a small valley was leveled and developed into playing fields for English football and baseball The company sponsored a baseball team that played in an industrial league. The area became known as the 'sands' because there was a sandy area along a small creek that ran along the edge of the developed recreation area. Between this area and the main village street was a hill that was about 80 feet high and steep in places that was used for skiing and sledding. The company was the Deloro Smelting & Refining Co. which refined arseneous silver-cobalt ores into silver and cobalt metals and processed the arsenic into insecticides. The area also was the site of gold exploration that failed due to excess shaft flooding. The plant was situated along the Moira River which served the village as swimming holes close to home.  The pools were upstream from the plant above and below a 30 foot waterfall. Tailing from the refining process were disposed of  in areas around the plant on both sides of the river. A swing bridge and a car bridge spanned the river at the plant site.

The Deloro Dinky

The village was basically T shaped with the top of the tee being the south street of the village and the trunk of the tee grading up toward the north. Entering the village from the west you would see the school on the left followed by two management homes. On the south side was a replanted pine wood followed by the village hall and store at the trunk of the tee. Beyond the store was the tennis courts the bowling green and the General Manager's home. Across the street was a company lodging house for females, a lodging house for males and then a three story apartment behind which was attached a dining room for lodgers including staff accommodation. At the end of this branch was the general office for the plant which included a part time medical & dental offices in the basement. Beside the office was a road leading down to the plant itself.  The plant had a branch rail line connecting to the Trenton-Bancroft line about 11/2 miles west including their own small engine the 'dinky',  

From the store to the north up a small hill was the village gradually rising to the north with another small hill at the north end of town.  Hard maple trees and elms bordered the street part way and at the south end and soft maples were planted later along the street in the north end. 

 

 

To  the best of my recollection the houses  in 1937 were occupied  as follows starting at the store and proceeding north on west side;

  •  Shannon, Reagan, Judge, Cheeseman, Kerr, Brooks, 0 Neill, Eggett, Grey. Leal, Crawford, Corrigan, Mclnroy, Cousins, Brown, Simmons, Macrodan, W. Simmons, Quinn, Wiggins
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  •  then south on east side: Goodchild, Kilpatrick, Clemens, N.Smith, Mumby, Ethier, Gaffney, Smith.Mantle .Acheson, Trumble, Robertson, Yates, Paquette, Reynolds, Barlow, Buskard
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  • Starting at the school and heading east:    Bapty, EIliot, Haacke (store), Wright, (Gen,Mgr,) Smiths (club dining rm. etc) Nicholson (apt), Drew ,(apt) Watson, (apt) & McNalley beside Wrights on the road to the plant.
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  • Across the road bridge at the plant three families lived:   Cross  ,Kuryka  &   Mathews,  while upriver from the plant lived the Hegadorn,  Boudreau,   Koski,   Hawara families.



Some families raised pigs for food and the annual slaughter was quite an event with pig bladder footballs etc. One family kept a cow for milk I (Trumble) and the manure pile was a fertile place to get fishworms when my father would need some minnows from the river for a Sunday fishing trip.   We and others had a chicken coop.   Every family had a garden plot behind their house. There were also a few acres just north of the village where families could grow garden crops.The village was surrounded by farms of low to medium quality to the north, west,& south with some swampy areas south and rocky hilly Canadian shield land to the east.  

Workers Quarters

Other buildings in the village were used as garages and ice houses where ice was stored under sawdust for refrigerator use. A cheese factory was located about 1/2 mile west.  Our home up until 1937 was at the address 14 O'Brien Ave. It was an attached house,  two stories high with two bedrooms, .bathroom,  .coal furnace in the basement, .living room, dining room ,kitchen, front vestibule and a front veranda. It was constructed of blocks much like cement blocks but with a tan colour. There was a lane to the north and a narrow lawn along the north side of the house including a wooden sidewaik which bordered the house and led to the front gate which was in front of the veranda steps. A large maple tree grew in the front yard. The back yard led down to the garden which had a small hothouse,  a strawberry patch,  and an asparagus patch.   At the back of yard outside a gate was a lane leading to the Bapty & ElIiot back yards. Across this lane was a wooded area that was part of the Bapty yard,  and it was a maze of grassed paths. Almost directly out our back gate was a lane passing behind Bapty's leading to the back gate of the school yard. Beside this lane were swings (high & low) and a teeter-totter in a play field which was bordered on the north by a row of garages.

                                 My father came to Deloro from Toronto about 1920 to work in the plant office as a clerk and accountant and gradually worked his way up to become office manager. He had a steady job all through the depression,  making $175/month,  so we were pretty well off.  He and mother married in 1924 and lived with a farm family,  Richardsons,  where my brother Roy was born before moving to the village into the Robertson house. Later they moved across the street to the house beside the lane where I was born in 1928. In 1937 or '38 after my sister was born we moved to the larger Reagan house. 

My mother grew up in the Marmora area. Her ancestors were United Empire Loyalists who relocated to Ontario around the in the 1700s. She was the second family of her mother so to speak,  who was first married to a McQuigge,  then a Johnson, who both died,   and then she was married to an Adams  At that time when I first knew them,  they lived in Watertown N.Y. and had lived there,I believe, since the early 1920s.

      

                                                                                                  George Cheeseman,  2003