THE POSTAL SERVICE
Although we have no information as to the whereabouts of Marmora's first post office, we do know that Anthony Manahan, investor in the failing iron works, was given the job of postmaster.
According to Grace Warren the second post office was located on the corner next to the present post office, in what was known as the Bowen building, with Daniel Bowen as post master in 1853 to 1865. The office was then moved to 3 McGill Street (next door to the former Lynch's Grocery) where David Bentley and Miss Angeline Bentley provided the services.
In 1899, Mr. John Shannon took over the Post Master position and set up the services in his store in the south end of the Dempsey Block at 20 Forsyth St., although administration was handled by daughter, Evelyn (Eva) Shannon. After Mr. Shannon's death in 1922, Warren Hickey was appointed the new Post Master in April of the following year. He arranged for the post office to move yet again, its fifth location, into Jim Shannon's Drug Store at 16 Forsyth, but not satisfied there, relocated the post office in December of 1924 into the Dempsey House, now Cook's Barbershop at 22 Forsyth.
The building of the new Memorial Building included plans for a new and spacious post office, and so it was that postal services were officially opened there on January 21, 1929, with Warren Hickey remaining Post Master, and George Robert Hartley and his wife Nina Prinner purchasing 22 Forsyth Streetfor a jewellery store.
When the lease expired on the Post Office in 1949, it was decided after considerable negotiations with the Federal Post Office Department, to sign a new extended lease. During this period, the Post Office was greatly enlarged to include all that portion of the building previously used as a fire hall. The floor in the fire hall was raised to the same level as that of the present Post Office. The rental was adjusted to $1,600 per year. In December, 1948 the Post Office became a government office building. It meant that the postmaster, James W. Hickey and his wife Mary Allegra Watson were now civil servants on salary instead of being paid a commission on the amount of business transacted by the local office.
Finally the Federal Government erected a new Post Office Building on the east side of Forsyth Street, Marmora's eighth post office, and the transfer of equipment from the Memorial Building took place during the first week of May, 1959
Two trains a day from both the east and the west Canada arrived in Belleville with mail to be sorted on to the various trains north. The 1889 Hastings County Directory lists the mail train service to Marmora as leaving Belleville at 7:am and arriving back in Belleville by 5:00pm. It seems mail to England was shipped once a week on the Cunard Line or the Canadian Line.
IMPROVED MAIL SERVICE PROMISEDMarmora Herald Nov, 29, 1928
The present mail service in Marmora and Deloro, as far as outgoing mails is concerned, has been very unsatisfactory. Practically all outgoing mails in Marmora close about noon, which means that a letter received in Marmora during the day from either the C.P. R. or C. N.R. trains cannot be answered so as to have the reply delivered in Toronto, or other points West, before the morning of the second day following.
At various times requests for a better service were made, but without result. A short time ago petitions from the Municipal Councils of Deloro and Marmora and also covering most of the business firms in both places were secured and were turned over to Mr. Chas. Hanna, Ex-M. P., with a request that he assist in securing an outgoing mail on the night C. P. R. trains, especially train No. 33 from Ottawa to Toronto. Mr. Hanna kindly consented to assist in the matter and made a trip to Ottawa where he interviewed the Postmaster General and other officials. As a result the following letter was received by Mr. Hanna last week from the superintendent of Postal service at Ottawa.
Ottawa, Nov. 22nd, 1928. Chas, Hanna, Esq., Belleville, Ont Dear Sir,- With reference to your recent interview in connection with an improved rail service for Deloro and Marmora, I beg to inform you the District Superintendent of Postal Service, Ottawa, has been instructed to establish a despatch of mail from Deloro to Marmora, daily except Sunday, to "Ottawa and Toronto train No. 33 in accordance with your request. Yours truly,
(Signed) G. C. Anderson, Superintendent.
The present service for incoming mails on the night trains on the C.P. R. was secured through the efforts of Mr. Hanna, and the fact Marmora is soon to have a fine new Post office, is also largely due to his assistance and his influence with the Postal Authorities at Ottawa.
Pat McCrodan wrote: Charlie Lockwood had a 55 Chevy, seemed like a cool guy. Apparently said he forgot his hat for his reason for entering after hours.
Marmora Herald Dec. 6, 1934
The Postal authorities have issued a warning in regard to placing unstamped letters in the mailbox attached to the door of the post office. It is no use placing coppers or money in the box to cover the postage, as stamps are not available and cannot be put on the letters at night, The public are also reminded that no local letters or cards, or mail for points south should not be placed in the box as the mail is not sorted at night. Everything in the box is locked in a mail bag and placed on the train and local mail will go to Toronto and return before being distributed. (This is still true today.)
Some things never change
Marmora Herald May 6, 1920
Rural mail carriers who made a four year contract with the government, are asking that their contracts be cancelled and a straight salary basis of so much per mile be substituted. The arguments are all in their favour. Little they knew what the future held in store for them when they signed the contract four yea rs ago. Today they are operating at a loss, a condition that ought to be speedily remedied.
MARMORA POLICE CHIEF ARRESTED IN MAIL THEFT
Marmora Herald - Aug. 30, 1956
About 5 p.m. yesterday Chief Constable Charles M. Lockwood was placed under arrest by the Provincial Police charged with robbing the mail. On Wednesday, August 15th, a bag of registered mail was found to have been robbed and a parcel containing $8,500 in American money and a number of cheques and other money was missing. Inspector W. T. Tayler of the Federal Postal Investigation Service arrived in Marmora the end of that week and was later joined by Detectives Robt. Wannell and Verne Whitley of the Criminal Investigation Branch of the O.P.P.
Chief Lockwood had escorted a member of the Toronto-Dominion Bank Staff to the Post Office with the package of money and he later had circulars printed with the serial numbers of some of the missing money for distribution to the various police around the country. He had worked with the investigating officers more or less since the robbery and his arrest must have come as quite a surprise to him.
Outside of the Bank staff and the Post Office staff, he was the only person who could have known the money was being shipped that day and as he lived over the Post Office, he could have entered the office from the inside of the building without being seen. The Post Office is closed Wednesday afternoons. It doesn't seem hardly creditable that a man who had been a police officer for as long as he had would think he could get away with a robbery, but apparently he took a chance. Meantime Marmora Village is again without a policeman.
Rural Mail Carriers Are Gathering Old Rubber
Marmora Herald Aug. 27, 1942
With rural mail couriers acting as rubber salvage. collectors, the rural rubber drive which opened Aug. 24 in outlying areas of Ontario and Quebec Is bringing to light a surprising variety of rubber articles put out by summer residents and country dwellers for collection destined for use in Canada's war production.
Mail carriers in both these pro- vinces are busy with the task of picking up and bringing in to . local salvage depots all the scrap rubber articles placed for collection at rural mail-boxes. Discarded tires and tubes from cars and tractors are rolling in to salvage headquarters to be re- claimed and reprocessed into vital war goods. Also in the collection are to be found old hot water bottles, swimming tubes, fly-swatters, rubber bathing- suits and running shoes. Every old rubber article is needed, say . salvage officials, pointing out that the drive, scheduled to end September 8, Includes the Labour day holiday, affording summer residents a good opportunity to clear out all old rubber before closing up cottages and camps for winter.
Farmers in the areas are also digging out the scrap which will help put the axe on the axis, Estimates of rubber returns on the drive are not available at this early date, although salvage officials hope to release figures shortly. Copies of the four-page printed card recently distributed to all box-holders and residents outlining the purpose and the needs of the rural rubber drive may be obtained at any rural post office.
City residents who receive their mail by regular letter carrier service are not Included in the rural postal pick-up service of rubber scrap as city collections would be too great a task for the post-office department in a single drive.
The rubber scrap collected in this rural drive will eventually reach Canada's rubber reclaiming plants to be sheared, hashed and treated with chemicals and put into production again re-appearing in the shape of vital war goods ranging from war-plane tires to munition workers' non-spark galoshes. The scrap rubber is urgently needed for these war uses, stress salvage officials, who are frank in saying that, as Canada's rubber stock- piles go up, the chances of Hitler and Hirohito go down.
PAST POST MASTERS
A Manahan Shown as POST MASTER IN 1832
In 1824 Anthony Manahan, Peter McGill, and Robert Hayes became assignees of the Marmora Iron Works, in Hastings County. Since its initial development in 1820 under Charles Hayes, an Irish businessman, the works had been plagued with problems, including the lack of a good transportation system between Marmora Township and the Bay of Quinte. McGill bought the works in 1825 and the following year chose Manahan to manage it, probably because most of the workers were Irish Catholics and because Manahan too had invested in the venture. He was unable, however, to make it show a profit; in October 1831 he left the works and returned to Kingston, having lost “several thousand pounds.” He went back into business there as a merchant and commission agent, “with doubtful prospects of success,” and began trying, without immediate result, to get a government job in addition to the magistracy he had received in 1829. (Dictionary of Canadian Biography - Click here for more)
D.G. Bowen 1853 - May 1865 Dismissal
Daniel Bowen was the great grandfather of Thomas Pearce. When he set up the post office on the south east corner of Marmora main intersection, the site was a small frame house surrounded by mud about which most people complained. Using the family resources, Mr. Bowen brought planks from T. Pearce's saw mill and, in his spare time, built Marmora's first wooden sidewalk.
Benjamin Johnson 1-7-1865 - 1873 Resigned
David Bentley 1-10-1873 - 14-5-1885 Resigned
Besides being Post Master, David Bentley was a Division Court Clerk & Manager of the Iron Works. He and his wife, Sarah Hodgkins, originally lived in the limestone building that later became the Royal Hotel at Forsyth & Madoc Streets. In 1883, Mr. Bentley built his home at 18 McGill Street
Miss Angeline Bentley1-7- 1885 - 19-10 1894Dismissal
Frances Carscallen 1-12-1894 - 28-9-1899 Unsatisfactory management
John Hughes Shannon1-11-1899 - 29-9-1922 Death
James Warren Hickey 17-4-1923 - 25 1 1958 Retired
Mrs. Mary Allegra Hickey 16-1-1958 Acting
Mrs. Mary A. Hickey 5-6-1958 - 15-5-1968 Retired
At the Annual Dinner Meeting of Zone 1 Canadian Postmasters Association attended by Post masters and assistants of the district held in the Corby Recreation Centre, Corbyville on Wednesday, October 30th, 1968. Mrs. Mary Hickey, who served as her husbands assistant for24years, and as postmaster of Marmora for 10 years, was presented with a lovely. desk clock and pen set by the president of Zone 1. Postmaster Arnold Stickle of Batawa,District Director of Postal Service; Mr. St. Germain and Director of Personnel, Mr. Smith of District Office of Ott- awa were also in attendance and gave the Hickey family greatpraise for their long and valued service. They also expressed their pleasure that Miss Phyllis Hickey is still serving with them as Assistant Postmaster of Marmora. Earlier in the year at a party given in her honour by her two daughters, Mrs. Hickey was presented with a beautiful oil painting by the noted Austrian artist J. Kuglar , a gift from friends and relatives. (Marmora Herald Nov. 7, 1968)
Miss Jennie Phyllis “Phee”. Hickey 16-5-1968 Acting
NOTES ON THE RURAL ROUTES
Malone Post Office
Henry Bowerman owned and operated a local grist mill while George Richardson operated the local store and also served double-duty as postmaster when the post office relocated into the store (though the 1st postmaster was DN Powell).
Thomas McCann, Post Master in Malone
BLAIRTON August 1, 1867 - October 26, 1929 Bates, Roger 1867 - 1876
DEER LAKE February 1, 1882 - August 7, 1915 Ogilvie, William 1882 - 1892
ROCKDALE November 1, 1888 - Dec. 23, 1912 Young, William E. 1888 - 1901
Bailey's Corners also known as "Shanick" Post office
The area around the intersection of Centre Line Road and Beaver Creek Road, sometimes referred to as North Marmora, Bailey's Corners and even Shanick at one time, originated as the Jones Settlement. Here you will find SS2 School House, known as the Jones School, still standing, but in rough shape. To the north of the school used to be a store and post office, and on the north east corner of the intersection, the cheese factory still stands.
Past post masters:
1864-1885 James Bailey - resigned; 1894-1898PeterSheridan - Closed 1900 1913 Miss Maggie Sheridan - Resigned;
By 1913 the name Shanick refers to the present location, north on the Beaver Creek
1913-1931 George Franklin - closed
PARTY AT ZION
A party to honour Charles Cronkright of 112 Hayes Street, Marmora, was held last week at Zion Church Hall. Mr.Cronk-right has just completed 25 years service as mailman for rural route 2, Marmora, His route has been extended 15miles since he started 25 years ago. Delivering mail to 75 families, Mr. Cronk- right noted that 12 families remain of his original customers. In the last five years he has never missed a mail delivery, and previously recalled two or three days' absence each winter due to blocked roads. A hundred friends, including Miss Phyllis Hickey and Mrs. Earl Leonard of Marmora Post Office, enjoyed the pot luck dinner in his honour. A presentation of a reclining chair was made by John Davidson and Everett Derry, with Mrs. Ford Chambers of Malone reading the address. At the request of Rev. Douglas Miller of Zion and St. Andrew's United Church, Bob Paranuik of Deloro showed slides of his summer trip to the West Coast. Appropriate words of appreciation were given by Mr. Cronkright. (Marmora HeraldNov. 2, 1967
R.D. Moore 18-6-1968 - 28-4-1989 Retired
Doug John Collison 29-4-1989 - 1990 Transferred to Norwood
ART AND ELSIE NEAL After 23 years, mail carriers retire
The people of Marmora'sR.R. # 4 are seeing a new face behind the wheel of the mail truck for the first time in 23 years. Longtime mail carriers Elsie and Art Neal have decided to retire, handing the route over to Edna Wilkes. Art has been on the route since it was Rural Routes 1 and 2 in Bonarlaw. In those days he used to pick up the mail for Bonarlaw and Marmora at the Bonarlaw station from the trains that passed through from Ottawa and Toronto at 2:40 and 3:40 a.m. Eleven years ago, the Bonarlaw Post Office was closed down and Art and EIsie took over Marmora's new R.R. 4.
"We're the only ones that have ever done it" Art said. Have things changed much in all that time? "I've seen people grow and get married, old people die off.... and an awful lot of people have moved in and out..When I started the Spry Settlement was full of Sprys; now there's only one left."
Art, who has lived south of Marmora on Highway 14 all his life, doesn't appear to be ready to fade away once he retires. He's going to get into more leather work, a craft at which he is already good enough to make belts and wallets to order for friends and relatives, and probably get some more carpentry in. At the moment he's waiting for the class to finish up his sun porch, a feature he figures is goingto save him some money on his heating bills this winter.
Art andElsie were thanked for their years of service by some of the residents on their route when Gerald and Audrey McFaul threw a party for them last Thursday morning and 25 or 30 people showed up. The Neals were presented an engraved tray and a'gift of money and there were more giftts ofmoney along the route.
Marmora Herald Nov. 5 1980