A nice drive on a sunny day, south on the Preneveau Road (#50) and east on the 13th Concession will take you to the remains of the Village of Stanwood. You can return to Marmora continuing east on the same road, following your nose along Allan Mills Road, Callaghan Rapids Road and the Tiffen Road back to the #7 Highway.
The following are excerpts from the book “Gleanings”, published by the Campbellford-Seymour Heritage Society.
STANWOOD is a tiny hamlet on Concession 13, Lots 18 to 20. The derivation of the name is uncertain but one elderly resident claims to have been told that it was named for a settler called Stanley Wood.
STANWOOD UNITED CHURCH Previous to the Methodist union in 1884, there were three Methodist classes meeting in the Stanwood area. The Bible Christians worshipped in a small frame church, sometimes called the White Church, located near the cemetery on land donated by James Jacobs at Concession 13, Lot 20, west half, about a half-mile north of the present building. The Episcopal Methodists were situated near the old blacksmith shop, just east of the store on Concession 13, Lot 20, east half, later the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hay. The Weslevan Methodists did not have a building. Their services were held in the homes of their members and in the school house.
Until Zion Church was built at Petherick's Corners in 1878, many people from the Petlierick's area walked to the White Church. When a minister was not available, Amos Barnum and other laymen led the service. In 1884, after a prolonged debate, these three communions united and, henceforth, were known simply as the Methodist Church. This union occurred during the pastorate of Rev. Dingman. Prior to that time, the following ministers had travelled the circuit Rev. J.C. Ash, Rev. David Potter, and Rev. T.J. Edmison. It seems likely that the Bible Christian (White) Church closed at this time, and that the congregation of the three former denominations met in the former Methodist Episcopal building until the present church was erected.
WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS OF STANWOOD UNITED CHURCH
There was a Ladies Aid until the 1920s when it disbanded due to lack of support. In June 1929, Daisy Sparkes, a teacher at Stanwood School, organized the Stanwood Sewing Circle. Six meetings were held that year with a membership of thirteen. The officers were: President - Daisy Sparkes; Vice-President -Mrs. Dan Brown; Secretary— Mrs. Carman Redden;Trcasurer Etta Peiherick; and Organist, Mrs. Stanley Keller. These women completed nearly 250 quilts. They were given to the Salvation Army, used in the war effort, and packed in bales to be sent to refugee areas and to the far west. The Sewing Circle continued until 1962 when the United Church Women was formed.
By 1899, Dan Brown had built a blacksmith shop on the east side of the factory. For many years, the smithy would be busy as he employed his skills shoeing horses, shaping plough points and repairing tools. The journal of the Allan family, who operated the mill and store, records payment to Brown for setting wagon and buggy tires and sleigh runners. Threatened by fire more than once, the frame building, insulated with wood shavings, contained all the right ingredients for a conflagration. In 1942, the building caught tire and burned to the ground.
MODEL OF THE STANDWOOD STORE created by Peter Evegroen
The current building at Stanwood, also known as Bethel East, was built in 1903 on land purchased from John S. McKeown and his wife on November 18, 1902. The trustees were James McAlpine, Joseph McKeown, Billa Loucks, Hamilton Johnston, Charles D. Lawrence, Thomas H. Rowe, Daniel Loucks, James Aikens, and James E. Johnston. The erection of the church was made possible through the generous support of the community. Not only did the members provide financial support but they also assisted in hauling stone from the Crowe River for the foundation, brick from West's Corners and lumber from Marmora. The masons were George Alfick and C. Hoskins and the carpenter was Alfred Dunk. The church was completed during the pastorate of Rev. Charles Fusee, who passed away while serving on the charge. Following the dedication service, a fowl supper was sponsored by the ladies to assist with the cost. Tables were set up in the basement and also in the new buggy shed, which had been built at the same time. Over five hundred people attended the event. Each lady of the congregation was asked to cook between ten and thirteen fowl and to bake the same number of pies. The new Stanwood Church was part of the Seymour Circuit from 1903 until 1925.
At this time, during the pastorate of Rev. C.D. Daniels, another union took place between the Methodists, the Congregationalists, and most Presbyterians, which formed the new United Church of Canada. Stanwood became part of the Springhrook Pastoral Charge along with the former Presbyterian Church at Rylstone. This placed Stanwood in the Belleville Presbytery. This affiliation continued until 1968 when Stanwood was reunited with the Seymour Pastoral Charge in the Cobourg Presbytery.
John Mackenzie operated the first store and post office. It was located across from the present United Church but moved later to the north side of the intersection with Crowe River Road. (Another reference mentions that In 1891 the Post Office and general store, operated by Amos Hubble at Stanwood, was lost in a fire. Presumably it was rebuilt)
This store also served as the post office until 1913 when rural mail delivery commenced. It was a typical country store with barter being an acceptable form of payment. Eggs were the most popular product used in exchange for store goods. Mrs. Amos Green picked wild gooseberries and exchanged them at the store for a set of knitting needles. As motor cars became more numerous, a gasoline pump was installed in front perilously close to the road. On at least two occasions, it was knocked over by errant drivers. Following Mackenzie's tenure, successive storekeepers were Garnet and Emma Redden, Jack and Maggie Rowe, and finally, Albert and Gladys Hay. The store was a popular stopping place for students from the Stanwood School with a few pennies to spend on sweets. Licorice pipes, jawbreakers, chocolate bars and other treats filled the glass-topped display case which sat on the counter. Flour, oatmeal and sugar were sold in bulk from large barrels. A few chairs circled the wood stove in the same area, a local version of the "Hot Stove League." It was a popular spot for local lads to relax and discuss the current gossip.
STANWOOD CHEESE FACTORY The first factory at Stanwood was on Concession 12, Lot 20, on the John Lain farm, just east of the house. In 1895, James Johnston built a new Stanwood Factory across the road on Concession 13, just east of the store, which he operated for a number of years. Evidently, the first cheesemaker also raised a few hogs as there are frequent notations in Miller Allan's journal for periodic sales of chop to feed the pigs. He sold to Mel McComb who operated it until it was sold to a group of shareholders. Some of the later cheesemakers were Howard Dafoe, Roy Brown, James Woodcock, Jim Gray and Gerald Thompson. This factory closed in 1952 and the building has been torn down.
VICTORIA ORANGE LODGE #1338, located on Concession 13, Lot 20, a short distance north on the sideroad was another popular gathering place. In addition to its function as a lodge hall, it was used for many community social functions. Newly married couples were frequently treated to wedding showers there. Square dances, a popular and inexpensive recreation during the depression years, drew crowds from the community and beyond. Local musicians sawed away on fiddle, stroked guitar or plunked on the piano. There was always a caller eager to guide the dancers through the square in his own inimitable style. It was common practice to pass the hat before the evening ended to collect a token of appreciation for the entertainers. Among those Ii provided music or called off were Ed Anderson, Clark Haig, Annie Dutton, ii it, Simpson, Harold Brunton and Robert Lisle.
S.S. # 9 - STANWOOD SCHOOL
The school was erected on Concession 13, Lot 19, SeymourTownship in 1882. Daniel Rowe was the contractor and the cost of the brick structure, wooden seats, and blackboards was $500. New seats were installed in 1912 along with slate blackboards. In 1915, a lot was purchased from D. Akins to enlarge the playground. First Chairman of the School Board was R.D. Rutherford, who also acted as Secretary. Among the early settlers were Peter Loucks, J.H. Lisle, James McAlpine, Henry Redden, J. Dewey, L. Brcau, J. Jacobs, H. Deacon, C. Keller, T. Levecque, W. King and Daniel Rowe. Some of the Secretaries down through the years were John MacKenzie, C.D. Lawrence, Harold T. Rutherford, Thomas McKeown, Robert Lisle, C. Stephens, H. Dickinson, C. Rowe, and Warrington Hay. Teachers from 1882 were Annie Stanbury, Alex Todd, J. Little, Isaac Brooks, L. Little, Della Sanderson, Mrs. C. Lawrence, William Skitch, Frank Sanderson, Thomas Murphy, Miss Hudgins, Amelia Jane Van Volkenburgh, Miss Jordan, Annie Stephens, Arthur Armour, Miss Currie, Miss Weatherill, M. Anderson, WR. Atkinson, Mr. Reynolds, A. Arnold, Miss Duff, Mrs. W. Rutherford, Daisy Sparkes, L. Mime, Mr. MacCrimmon, G.A. Philp, Eleanor Johnson, Madeline Lisle Simpson, Mac Hay, Gwen Rutherford, D. Amblin, Cora Reid, Rosena Grills, C.M. Bongard, H. Baker, Eva Fraser, F. Aithouse, R.G.Wilson, G. Clancy, Vivian Graham, and Doris Stapley. Thomas Murphy, who taught in 1902-1903, went on to become an M.P.P. and Minister of the Interior in 1937. Graduating students who entered the teaching profession include Annie Stephens, Arthur Rowe, Dorothy Redden, Madeline Lisle Simpson, Jerry Boise and Mac Flay. Russell Rowe, a pupil of S.S.#9, became a teacher before moving into provincial politics as representative of Northumberland and Speaker of the Legislature.
Average enrollment was thirty to thirty-five pupils for the eight elementary grades. For a while, during the 1930s, the first two grades of high school were also taught, increasing the already hectic schedule of the country school teacher. Pupils faced long walks to and from school - over two miles in many cases. Winter time could be difficult as only the main roads were ploughed. When snow drifts clogged side roads many pupils would resort to travelling the fields. One teacher, Miss Sparkes, often snowshoed from her home to the school - a two-mile trek.
A big box stove squatted near the back of the room. It was surrounded on three sides by a solid wooden screen, the inside surface of which was lined with tin. The older boys were detailed, a week at a time, to keep the stove fueled. There was an unspoken competition among the "firemen" as to who could stoke the hottest fire. The pinnacle of success was reached when the super-heated tin liner caused the wood screen to start smouldering. This created a break in the tedium of study. Pupils would dash outside and fetch in buckets of snow to cool down the screen. These diversions could be staged one or two times per winter without the teacher becoming suspicious.
During the winter months, the children were allowed to bring a dish to the school to heat for lunch. The stove top would be covered with a variety of cookware before the noon break. Savory smells filled the air as baked beans, creamed corn, scalloped potatoes, hamburger, macaroni, and sausages bubbled, burped, and sizzled.
Two large blackboards covered the wall on each side of the platform which held the teacher's desk. Above the blackboards were two pull-down maps, one of Canada and one of the world. Additional blackboards lined each of the side walls. Shelves on the back wall provided space for the small library, and storage for the brown bags, lard tins, and honey pails that carried the lunches. There were a few coat hooks, with the overflow often spilling onto the floor. The addition of an entry porch provided the extra storage space.
In the mid 1930s, the local school board paid for some of the school supplies. This practice was discontinued after a few years, but while it lasted, was a bonanza for pupils. Scribblers, pencils, erasers and rulers, bought in volume, were secured in a cupboard. The free supplies were doled out carefully and extravagant use was discouraged. One lad, who had a habit of chewing pencil ends as he agonized over his school work, could he seen occasionally writing with a very short pencil stub. lie had used the pencil at both ends and was not yet eligible for the next issue.
Junior graders looked forward to the time when they would be allowed to use pen and ink. Initial enthusiasm was somewhat dashed when they finally got to write with the scratchy straight pens. Sharp nibs punched holes in the paper and released blobs of ink unexpectedly, while ink-stained fingers struggled to master the cranky instrument. Fountain pens were starting to appear - the"Cadillac" of pens. With considerable relief, the straight pens were retired and new Sheaffers and Parkers were used.
Recreation at school followed seasonal patterns. 'Shinny' and sleigh riding were predominant winter activities. Icy road conditions brought out sleds and sleighs. Lunch hours would be spent racing down the hill just west of the school. Ending the run at the base of the opposing hill, the children would climb to the top and swoop back again toward the school. Boys with home-made bobsleds became instantly popular, as requests for rides were numerous. When warmer weather prevailed, there was a trek to a nearby bluff. The steep slope was ideal for 'bottom sliding'. Once the snow was 'butt' packed into deep smooth ruts, the students were ready for action. Overnight freezing would provide a fast icy slide. The bluish tint to the slides was easily explained, as most of the boys wore denim overalls, which now had bleached-out seats.
The 'shinny' brand of hockey was played on many surfaces --on frozen ponds, on crusted fields or on the packed snow of the school yard. The shinny battles continued until hare ground and mud replaced winter's snow and ice. By that time the National Hockey League playoffs were winding down and it was time to toss away the home-made hockey sticks. The hockey heroes imitated by the teams were retired for another season. The list of favourites were mostly Maple Leaf stars such as Syl Apps, Gordie Drillon, Turk Broda, and Red Horner.
Stanwood was probably one of the few rural schools to have students playing cricket. The inspiration came from Jerry Boise and English boys' magazines which featured cricket items. From illustrations, the players were soon carving out their own cricket bats. Broom handles disappeared from home to reappear as wicket stumps. Thread spools, filched from sewing baskets, were turned into the "bails" that topped the wickets. The British would say "it's not cricket," but certainly it was the Canadian version.
An occasional visit by the school inspector was cause for students to be on their best behaviour. Although Mr. Martin was a quiet, unassuming man, the teacher was usually a little tense until he made his report and left. Sometimes the teacher would organize a spelling bee or a geography match. A spirited contest would result as pupils strove to impress inspector and teacher alike.