(If you reach the bottom of the page,  hit "Next".  There's more!)


Bootlegging, Cordova Style

Cordova Mines has always prided itself on its successful mining and  its wide variety of community facilities - two churches, a first class school,  general stores (one owned by the mining company)  a post office,  butcher shops,  drug store,  bakery,  refreshment parlor,  livery stable,  Orange Hall,  shoe repair,  photographic gallery and a large company boarding house.

But that was not enough for "One-Armed Maloney",  who was trying to cope during the prohibition years.   With no saloon in town,  and plenty of thirsty miners,   John Maloney,  according to one newspaper article (no date),  found a cunning,  profitable career, avoiding the strong arm of the law.

The plug.jpg

"There is a building on skids beside the boundary line road (Vansickle Road) with "Jim Dandy" stamped clearly over the door,  but it is known as the "PLUG" where strong spirits are sold. (Real Whiskey),"  

"How the authorities in Havelock (Peterborough County)   get wind of this is a mystery.  They start for Cordova by horse and buggy, or democrat.  Word is received at the "Plug" via the grapevine that the authorities are on their way.  When they arrive,  the building is across the road in Hastings County.  Same thing happens when the Marmora authorities arrive."

For more on Cordova,  CLICK HERE.


One of the pleasures of spending time at the Historical Foundation is handling actual letters once held by someone of a different era,  voicing the concerns and stresses of the long gone writer. (Given the popularity of electronic communication,  this may be an experience that future historical societies will not be able to offer.) 

While filing away mystery documents  at the Historical Foundation,  we recently came across the following:

Dec 5,  Marmora  
Dear Sir
in ancer to your letter i am sorry to have you wating so long to tell you the plane reson. i have een sick and my husban has been out of job and i expet money this week and i will send it soon.  i have nothing to sell nothing, but the haush(?)
i am willing to pay and will  pay you for wating.  the ded mans words was to me that the essence of time did not matter as long as he was sure of it,  but i hope you will be kind enuf to wate for a little while and I will send it to you.                              I remain yours truly,  Mrs. Thrall

So who was this Mrs. Thrall who seemed to have hit hard times?

Well,  after a little research,  the only Mrs. Thrall we found in our area was Diana Houghton,  (daughter of William Houghton and Lucinda McMurray),   who married Harlan Page Thrall in Marmora on April 19, 1886.  He was a contractor, born in 1841,    the son of Simon Thrall and Lydia,  who had emigrated from the U.S.   He died in Marmora in 1902.

Diana Houghton (also spelled Haughton)   and Harlan Page had a daughter,  Lydia Thrall born in 1887 in Marmora,  who married Matthew Drummond,  a sailor on the Great Lakes.  It was a short marriage though,  as sadly,  Matthew died at the age of 28,  in 1909,  of consumption,  in the house of his mother-in-law,  Diana Houghton Thrall,  who by then was living on Peterborough Street,  in Norwood.

Was Matthew Drummond related to our modern Drummonds in Marmora?  Probably not.  Matthew's parents came from Ireland.  The Drummonds of "Drummonds Building Supplies in Marmora originated in Scotland.    But that's another story!

Back to the drawing board to find more answers.  In the meantime, though,  if you need to know more,   you can click below for family trees.

Bridge Over the Beaver Creek


The iron bridge crossing Beaver Creek 9 miles north of Marmora and generally called the Shanick bridge, was erected in the summer of 1912. It came in pieces to the Marmora railway station, was hauled to the site by teams and wagons belonging to Gillam and Murphy and assembled on the spot. Mr. Ed O'Connor. recalls that Arthur Murphy used a team of Mr. O'Connor's to haul sand and gravel during the construction. On the first river drive in the spring of 1913, the logs jammed at the bridge and it was later raised three feet. At that time Shanick was a thriving farming community of 40-50 families. The bridge is still solid in spite of its age but in dire need of repairs and a paint job.


The Norway-Deloro-Chile Connection

What do Norway,  Deloro and Chuquicmata, Chile have in common?

The answer is a young chemist,  hired from Norway,  by the Deloro Mining and Reduction Company, to act as a mill superintendent at the Deloro site.  Thormod Melvaer arrived in Deloro some time in the first decade of the 1900's.  With his wife,  Agnes Torvick,  they settled into family life,  with a daughter,  Agnes,  being born on July 1, 1912,  delivered by our very own Dr. Thomson.

By 1915,  we find Thormod was appointed a chemist at the Chuquicamata Mine,  one of the largest open pit copper mines and the second deepest open-pit mine in the world,  located 1,650km north of Santiago, Chile. The mine,  still operating, popularly known as Chuqui, has been operating since 1910.  There too,  Thormod patented his own process of copper extraction.

Thormod died in 1916,  and his grandson,  Harald Wentzel of Finland,  sent us two photos of the funeral,  along with the photo of his tombstone,   near the Chuquicamata Mine in Chile where he is buried.

But,  our story continues.....

Thormod Melvaer was accompanied in Deloro by his brothers,  Einar (foreman) and Finn (chemist).  Like Thormod,  Einar,  whose wifewas Agnes Andersen,  had a daughter, Solveig,   born in 1912 inDeloro,  this time delivered by Dr. MacKechnie,   It seems, however,  that Einar and his familyreturned to Norway.

Finn Melvaer, however,   with his wife,  Gertrude Berg,  accompanied Thormod to Chile, where two of their three children were born.  In 1924 he returned to Deloro and continued to enjoy life in the Marmora area,  becoming great friends with the Barlow family. (Clinton Barlow was head chemist in Deloro) Finn died in 1949 and is buried in Fergus, Ontario,  as is his wife, Gertrude, daughter, Mildred and son, Odin.

Their children,  Thorunn, Mildred and Odin,   attended Albert College in Belleville when the Melvaers returned to Chile,  and stayed with the Barlows during holidays. 

Thorunn married Fred  Beatty ( from the Beatty family that made washing machines )  They had 4 children Nancy, Carol, David and Tom.. Nancy was is an actress and was in many CBC TV shows..David was a professor at Trent University in Peterborough,  Ontario Canada    They owned a cottage on High Shore Road,  Crowe Lake 

For Ann Barlow's photos of Finn Melvaer and his family,  see "Your Gallery" - Ann Barlow Giddings  Click here

Agnes Melvaer,  daughter of Thormod,  sitting in the chair,  with siblings,  Ottar, Dagny, Magnhild, Eldrid 

Chuquicamata open-pit copper mine, Chile.



In 1909,  this picture was not only  an inspiration for creative writing in the "School and Home"  Magazine,  but was also used by the Marmora Fair Board to advertise.  But what is the origin of the painting? 

A little research  pointed us in the right direction,  where we found it was an oil painting by Marie Mizzie Wunsch,  a painter, born on 17 July 1862 in Gersthof (Weinhaus) in Vienna,   and  well known for her portraits of children.  She studied in Austria and Venice,  Italy,  but suffered poor health and died at the age of 36,  in 1898.  

The Original title of the work was "Affectionate Admonishment".  However,   the painting is also known as "The Conspiritors", "Haensel & Gretel", "Ein Geheimnis" or "Shared Secret".

Below:  More works by Marie Mizzie Wunsch

For more on the history of the Marmora Fair,



 Sept 1, 2 and 3, 2017


In 1890,  Charles Havelock Taylor (1859-1953),  a self taught engineer and geologist,  was working for the Canada Consolidated Gold Mine Company that was mining the Gatling Mine in Deloro.  He had previously proven his entrepreneurial talent in Bridgewater (now Actinolite north of Tweed)  as he wrote for a Royal Commission on mining:

" I have been working the actinolite mills at Bridgewater. I put up the works there, and I have three patents on the process, one for breaking the stone, one for pulverising, and the other for a composition for roofing."
C.H. Taylor, Prospector, iner, inventor.jpg

In Deloro,  however,  he worked to  improve the output of gold,  proving again his talent.  He wrote of the gold in Deloro:

"We are at present taking the gold out of the tailings of the Consolidated mine by amalgamation. Our process is a simple one and is not patented ; it simply consists in using a sodium amalgam. With our mercury flowers,  we use a copper amalgam. I do not think we get all the gold. In every ton we put through I think we leave $35 or $30; if assayed it will show that. By the first process the company adopted I do not think they got more than $7 or $8 a ton of concentrates, though it assayed from $60 to $70 to the ton..........In a building 40 feet square I can do twice as much as they can do with all their works at Deloro, which cover half an acre."

But Mr. Taylor's most ingenius idea came to him while working a dam in Quebec in 1895.  He noticed  water flowing over the spillway created air bubbles that became trapped under ice sheets at the bottom of the dam. The trapped air was compressed in the same way as air in a bicycle tire, causing the ice to bulge upward. And as an engineer, Taylor immediately realized the compressed air had the potential to be used as a power source.

And so was born the Taylor Air Compressor -  a system that required no electricity and has no moving parts. Set it up, let the river run through, and the system provides a perpetual source of air power.  


The first plant to be built was in a cotton mill in  Magog, Quebec followed by one in Ainsworth B.C..  But the most significant example of the Taylor  Air Compressor in Ontario is that installed by Order of the Dominion of Canadain the Peterborough hydraulic Lift Lock in 1899 where  the natural gravity fall of water powered the lock's internal machinery.

For more on Charles Taylor, written by his great- grandson,  Robert Hawkins,  CLICK HERE

Note:  In 1880, Charles Havelock Taylor,  while living in Montreal, met and married Helen Maria Pye (born 1866; died 1929). Helen bore Charles  three children:-  Eva born 1883; died 1962 ,  Arthur Havelock born 1894; died 1964 and Helen born 189?; died 1921.    In 1911,  Charles married Gertude Mabel Morgan,  and had 5 children together, Sylvia born 1915, Charles Havelock (Bud) born 19??, Phyllis born 19?? ; died 1941, Roy born 19?? and Ray born 19?? (deceased).
Robert Hawkins wrote:  I am a product of the first family  and have the Cobalt Daily Nugget from 1910 as well as hundreds of family photos taken in the late 1890's through to the 1930's. I have little or no history after 1910.    Joan (of the second family)   and Terry Mandzy of Madoc  have that data.

Terry Mandzy (Husband of Helen Taylor of the second family)  added more to our story.

 CLICK HERE for download


Trinity Anglican Church

Marmora Township  1897-1947                                                                                          Information supplied by Fred and Dorothy McGibbon,  and Mabel Clarke

On December 14th,  1897,  James Bailey and his wife,  Isabella Bailey,  donated land on the north west corner of the intersection of Centre Line Road and Beaver Creek  Road,  being  an acre and a quarter for a new church representing the Church of England.  Local residents in the Beaver Creek area felt the six miles to town was too long a walk for church.

Mabel Clarke remembered her mother telling her that William (or James) and David McCoy hauled the brick from Belleville on overnight trips by horse and wagon.  The congregation,  which  included the Derrys,  Loughs,  Downards,  Baileys and McCoys,   shared the services of the rector of St. Paul's Anglican Church,  Marmora.   The organist was Anne Bailey,  later the wife of John Langman.  She died in 1995.   

Lasting only 50 years,  the congregation  gradually dwindled in number until it was no longer feasible to keep it going.  According to Mabel,  Meg Downard and John Cochrane were the last members to work on keeping it open.

The Canons of the Anglican Church forbid the use of a closed church building for anything else,  and consequently contracted Mike Bobyk to tear it down.  He later used the bricks to build the house at 28 Main Street,  in the Village of Marmora.  The land was sold to Fred McGibbon for $20.00,  plus $3.00 for the deed.

Fred McGibbon described the church as an attractive red brick,  with rafters 28 feet long and the interior was completed with birch tonque and groove lumber.  The doors faced south to the Beaver Creek Road and the property was fenced erected by the McGibbons.

Fred,  with the help of Herb Bonter and Sid Snider,   built his house on the old foundation of the church,  however,  the church extended 12 feet  further west than his house.  It was later sold to his daughter,  Anne and her (unnamed) husband.

The records of the church are kept at theoffice of the Diocese in Kingston but are mixed in with those of  St. Paul's  Anglican Church of Marmora

1966 Cordova receives a Pope!

It seems back in September, 1966,  that the self-proclaimed Archbishop,  Guy P. Claude Hamel,  opened a church on Cordova Lake,  with the hopes of building an orphanage,  a residence,  a church and parkland,   using charitable funds.


HAMEL, Rev. Fr. Guy - Passed away on September 24, 2011 in his 78th year. Fr. Guy Hamel of Quebec, son of the late Wilfrid and Germaine Hamel. Dear brother of Denise Dewar. Cherished uncle of John and his wife Ivana. Great- uncle of Johnny and Matthew. Fr. Hamel was ordained in 1960, served in the Parishes of St. Ann's, Penetanguishene, St. Patrick's, Perkinsfield, St. Louis de France, Don Mills and Ste. Croix Church, Lafontaine. He never waivered in his faith or his dedication to his community, in a ministry that spanned more than fifty years. Friends will be received at Ste. Croix Church, Lafontaine on Thursday, September 29th from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Ste. Croix Church on Saturday, October 1st at 10 a.m. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill.   Published Sept 28, 2011 Toronto Star

Scott Wilson wrote and sent photos:   "As for the buildings that this article is referring to,they are still there on the south west side of the lake. It is a creepy place to visit. My grandmother Daisy Kelsh Roche told me of"The Bishop"and how he would walk down the lake in the winter with a staff and long flowing robes with the kids all following behind. They would try and sell clay ashtrays and nic nacs to the cottagers. I also heard he was put in jail over tax evasion and other illegal activities. There are still remnants of the kids drawings on the walls of the buildings."

Robin Maia Clewes added:   I remember going through that little white house as a child. Hard to believe any part of it would still be standing. The walls were covered in newsprint and children's drawings...it was creepy.

Gravenhurst Mayor Clairmont was a Marmora Lumberman

In 1854,  Ely Clairmont and his brother Charles Clairmont Sr.  both blacksmiths,  came to Marmora from Quebec,  to set up shop,  attracted  by the Ironworks. They built their house and blacksmith shop at the corner of Bursthall & Matthew Streets (site of the Esso),  and after a fire,  moved the house slightly north.                    (11 Bursthall opposite the town hall-click for more)

Marmora lumberman,  Joseph Clairmont, later  Mayor of Gravenhurst,  with daughter, Grace

Ely's son,  Joseph,  born in Marmora in 1855,  left Marmora around 1890,  and relocated in Gravenhurst,  where he was hired by the Rathbun Lumber Co. to manage a sawmill there.  He later became Mayor of that town.  His house still stands in Gravenhurst on the north-east corner of Bay and Mary Streets.  He went on to have nine children.

fmily photo Inside Mayor Clairmont's house in Gravenhurst

Meanwhile,  Ely's son,   Edmond,  who had joined Joseph as a lumberman in Gravenhurst,  went on to Ft. Frances, Ontario,  where he was hired to oversee the construction of the first saw mill in Rainy River.  When Edmond  was born on February 2, 1862, in Marmora, Ontario, his father, Ely,  was 35 and his mother, Domithilde (Matilda) , was 27. He married Rosellen GILLEN and they had seven children together. He then married Elmire Marie CADOTTE and they had one son together. He died on July 30, 1949, in Fort Frances, Ontario, at the age of 87.


Clarke Callear added:     This story is about my grandparents. I am the great-grandson of Edmond Clairmont and the great-great-grandson of the blacksmith Ely (aka Eli, Elie). I have more photos and stories and am happy to share. I also would like to know more about the Clairmonts (aka Clermont, Claremont, Clairmond) of Marmora and surrounding areas.
Of the 7 children of Edmond Clairmont and Rosellen GILLEN only 2 survived into adulthood. They were Hubert and Bernadette (neither of which had any children of their own). As stated above, Edmond then married Elmire Marie CADOTTE (of Massey, Ontario) and they had one child together. This was Joseph Augustus (Gus) Clairmont, my grandfather (born in Gravenhurst 14 Oct 1903)   DNA testing shows the Caldwell family (of Hastings County) is also tied in with us.

1952 U.S. Anti-Communist Fears Influence Marmora Union Vote

Marmora Herald Oct. 23, 1952

The Mine Mill was the nickname for the The International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers,  which  played an important role in the protection of workers and in desegregation efforts beginning in the 1916.  The union was known for its militant measures in dealing with opposing forces, and firm in its opposition to the politics that existed in the country during the Cold War.  By the 1950s, the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers had achieved establishment of approximately 300 locals, with about 37,000 total members in the United States and Canada,  but came under fire during the McCarthy era as representing communist interests.   The ongoing communist leanings of the Mine Mill leaders became unfavorable.  In 1967,  the Mine Mill merged with the  United Steelworkers of America.

 Local 598 in Sudbury,  Ontario, which had a contentious and sometimes violent history with the city's Steelworkers locals voted against the merger. It remained the last autonomous remnant of Mine Mill until 1993, when it merged with the Canadian Auto Workers.

From Wikipedia

Reeve Was A Runner Too!

            Click here for more on William Shannon              Scroll down to the bottom of the page

Those who knew Reeve, William Shannon,  have great respect for his gentlemanly manner,  his municipal achievements as Councillor, Reeve,  Warden and clerk-treasurer,  and his long service to various boards of the Village.  But did you know he was also an accomplished athlete?

Below is the 1928 report of his wins at Varsity Stadium.

For more sports information,  CLICK HERE


One of the greatest pleasures is the bond of friendship with others.   Today, despite the diversion of an electronic society, many fraternal organizations still struggle along. But  in Canada's earliest years,  these societies were the very heart of social life for many rural citizens. From the very early days, the Loyal Orange Lodge opened its doors in Marmora.  By   1907, a variety of societies tempted men from home in the evenings.  

  • The L.O.L  (Loyal Orange Lodge)  met every first and third Friday;       
  •  The A.O.U.W.  (The Ancient Order of United Workmen),  a fraternal organization in the United States and Canada, providing mutual social and financial support after the American Civil War met every second and fourth Friday . It was the first of the "fraternal benefit societies", organizations that would offer insurance as well as sickness, accident, death and burial policies.
  • The C.O.E.F. (Church of Evangelic Faith) met every second and fourth Monday;
  • The Mystic Lodge (an appendant body of the  I.O.O.F. - Independant Order of Odd Fellows) met every second and fourth Wednesday;
  • The I.O.F. ( Independant Order of Foresters) met the first and third Monday;
  • The A.F. & A.M. Lodge (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons)  met each Monday "on or before full moon at 9 p.m."
  • C.O.C.F.  (Canadian Order of Chosen Friends)   an organization that would pay old age and disability benefits.  They eventually evolved into the "Reliable Life Insurance Company"  based in Hamiton.

From the very day that fraternal societies first came to Upper Canada, brotherhood and politics went hand in hand. The first Grand Lodge, started in 1792, had R.W. Bro. William Jarvis as Provincial Grand Master. Wm. Jarvis also just happened to be Provincial Secretary to John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Indeed that significant position was later occupied by two other Grand Masters.

On a local level a move into the political arena was often preceded by participation in the fraternal orders. When Marmora Reeve, William H. Hubbell was elected warden in 1914, he could draw on his support as a member of the Marmora Lodge,  A. F. & A.M., the Orange Order and as the past occupant of important positions in the Mystic Lodge, the I.O.O.F., the A.O.U.W. and the Chosen Friends. Warden Hubbell further endeared himself to his colleagues when instead of just treating the local Reeves to the usual Warden's Banquet, he lead them by train to Toronto for the Good Roads Convention. There they all "distinguished themselves," from the hundreds of municipal councillors who filled the leading hotels, by their "comradery and jollity".

The ties between the fraternal societies and their chosen religion was even stronger than their ties with their chosen politics.  If a man excelled in the Masonic Order, he was likely to excel in the Protestant religion.  So when a beautiful day dawned, September 1, 1874, as expected, for the laying of the cornerstone for Marmora's new Anglican Church, it was also to be expected that a fraternal brother like Rt. Worshipfu.l Brother Colonel S.S. Lazier of Belleville should be there and in charge. Colonel Lazier was not only a colonel and a fraternal brother and a dignitary qf the Anglican Church, but also a Master of the Supreme Court of Ontario. He typified those whose influence entered all areas of endeavour. The "ladies of Marmora" presented Brother Lazier with a silver trowel to commemorate the event.

Before there ever was a Booster Club to boost the community, there was what the Marmora Herald cited as a group with a very opposite motivation.

"Has it ever struck you", the editor asked in 1906, "that most of us are active members of the Knockers Association, and that scarcely a day passes but that we are hitting someone a rap calling someone a fool, a schemer or a hypocrite or handing out some finer thrust in more elegant English".

 Progressives should not be down-hearted for 'The harder  you're thrown, the higher you'll bounce.'       No one's life was so good as to allow perpetual criticism of others.   'The sin of Eden is upon us all,' 

The Editor continued:

"Perhaps it is in a father who jags, or on the end of a mother's mean tongue, a brother's dishonesty or a sister who fell. They say that hell's hot, and if I read the Sacred Book right, the backbiter and the scandal monger will have the hottest spot in the main oven, when those poor devils who are drunkards and Magdalenes will be out in the draft near the door."

Thinking of committing a minor offence?

Think again.

In 1851 the County of Hastings passed  By Law #5,  believing it was only expedient and proper to provide for the proper correction of a person who was committed to jail for minor offences. They believed that such offenders should not spend their time in idelness during their period of confinement.                                                           

" Be it therefore enacted…………………

That any mechanic who shall be convicted and sentenced, shall during the period of confinement, work at his own proper trade, the County furnishing materials, and the produce of the labour shall be disposed of for the benefit of the County and the funds paid into the hands of the Treasurer,

And  that any person not a mechanic who shall be convicted and sentenced, shall during the period of his or her confinement be set at such works as the Guardian of the House of Correction shall deem advisable, and the produce of their labour shall be disposed of in like manner and for the same purposes as set forth in the second section of this by-law."

And don't think you can get out of the work too easily!  The By-law went on to say:

"And that it shall be lawful for the Guardian to confine any prisoner to solitary confinement in any   cell, who shall refuse to labour or work as required by the provisions of this By-law and pending such solitary confinement, the fare of such prisoner shall be bread and water."

We have yet to find the proof that this By-Law was rescinded!

A BAND OF RABBLE ROUSERS - The Callithumpians

In the past,  Marmora has had the privilege of experiencing the joys of a Callithumpian Parade,  but few people really know what it represented.

The English Dialect Dictionary states the word "Gallithumpian" originates from Dorset and Devon England  in the 1790s  describing  a" society of radical social reformers"  and "noisy disturbers of elections and meetings".

Callithump and the related adjective "callithumpian" are Americanisms.  In the 19th century, the noun "callithumpian" was used in the U.S. of boisterous roisterers who had their own makeshift New Year's parade. Their band instruments consisted of crude noisemakers such as pots, tin horns, and cowbells.  Today, the words "callithump" and "callithumpian" see occasional use, especially in the names of specific bands and parades. The callithumpian bands and parades of today are more organized than those of the past, but they retain an association with noise and boisterous fun.

Is it time to do a little rabble rousing and bring back the Callithump?

Click here for more photos


Comment:  Brian Casey: I remember loading up with apple's and getting a ride in to town with one of the Neals. Hitting an Orange men parade and Nan not letting me go in to town for the rest of that summer. That happened more the once 

1873 When Cornwall met Blairton

 It is estimated that 6 million people worldwide are descendants of the Cornish tin and copper  miners who emigrated from Cornwall,  England  between 1815 and 1915.  On July 13, 2006,  the mines of Cornwall were declared a UNESCO World Heritage

But how does this relate to our history?.  

The 1866-67 depression in England,  along with plummeting  world prices of tin and copper , created such poverty that the  famous miners of Cornwall were forced to come up with other solutions for work.  As it so happened,  Blairton  in   1872 was experiencing a rebirth with the American development of the Cobourg Peterborough Marmora Railway & Mining Company and the Blairton Iron Mine.

Enter John Laskey Aunger,  a Cornishman working in the Lake Superior Copper Mines in Minnesota, USA.  He was hired by the Blairton Company to manage the mine,  and in 1873 was sent to Cornwall to hire as many miners as he could find.  He returned with 75 Cornish men who made Blairton their home.

Mr. Aunger was a colourful character,  a man of principles,  an efficient mine overseer, a geologist,  a writer,  a politician,  a family man  and certainly a man of opinions


St Agnes Head, Cornwall


Just before the flow of Belmont Lake enters the mouth of the Crowe River,  the waters  used to pass by the  Sylvan Lodge.  The property was owned and operated by C.Roger Young and his wife,  Doris.  Coincidentally, the property next door, "Belmont House", was once part of the Young farm. 
The motel unit was later divided into sections, placed on lots and sold as cottages  along with the cabins.  Others were skidded on the ice and relocated elsewhere on  Belmont Lake and Crowe River and converted to  cottages as well. The Young family retained the lodge as a residence.

Wayne Vanvolkenburg,  who provided these photos,  recalls a local resident telling him that he went to dances at this location.   While probably  a "dry event",   he had a way of circumventing that!



Cathie Jones:  Roger and Doris had two children, Susan and Kent.   Dr. Bob and Lois Shatford, Audree and Glen Wentworth and Grace and Huey Christie all had cottages on this property in the late 50's and 60's...that is where I learned to waterski behind Shatfords wooden boat.  Rene Bourbeau and Jim Cummings used to come over and they all would play bridge...thanks for the memories..


In 1949, Albert J. Maynes and his wife Helen Emerson purchased a large residential lot  in the Marmora business section from Carl Heath. It was their intention to build a new modern theatre on the northern half of the lot. Albert instructed Ira Vesterfelt to tear down the 100 year old wooden framed house sitting in the middle of the lot.

BUT DID YOU KNOW that Mr. Don Ross  also had the intention to build a new theatre too?

It seems the Marmora Herald had an opinion that Mr. Ross took to heart.  As far as we know,  that theatre was never built.

Donald Parker Ross 1909



Malaria? Here? Really?

It is hard to believe that malaria was a problem in Ontario,  but during the early  1800's the disease was rampant.  At the time,  it was not known that malaria (often called ague or fever) was transmitted by mosquitoes.    In fact the common explanation was  "bad air",  hence the name  "Mal-Aria"  due to the many swamps in the area.

 It was not until August of 1897,  that Ronald Ross,  a British officer in the Indian Medical Service, demonstrated that malaria parasites could be transmitted from infected patients to mosquitoes.    Many had suggested that  the  original carriers were soldiers of the Engineer Corp that built the Rideau Canal,   while others have put the blame on the influx of Loyalist coming from the south.  We know now,  of course,  that it was one particular temperate  strain of parasite that could survive the Canadian winter in the bladder of its victim,  and the following spring,  hand over the potion to the next mosquito population.,  making it possible to spread through-out the Province.

In the  first Public health Report of 1882,  much coverage was given to the major outbreak in Madoc,  blaming dams for swamping lands,  dying vegetation,  and the bacteria of sewerage leaking into the surrounding soils. Recommendations to remove dams were not  welcomed by those profiting from the lumber industry requiring higher water levels.  

 Mr. E.D. O'Flynn,  secretary of the Board of health wrote:

"It is said that it is the intention of the Trust and Loan Co. to rebuild the dam  (referring to the Chisholm dam),  which if done and allowed to remain,  will be to invite the return of the Hydra-headed monster,  malaria,  with all its wasting and destroying influences.  As the residents of this village and vicinity have been sorely tried during the past five years by  a disease which like the plaque that passed over ancient Egypt leaving one dead in every house;  and having been severely taxed in doctor's bills,  enfeebled in health and shattered  in constitution,  the Board are of the opinion that it has now assumed such a serious aspect and become so important a matter,  that the Government should deal with it."

The malaria hot spots  in Madoc were spread around Moira Lake and included a pond in the village,  as shown by the black areas in the  1882 map included in the report. (below)

But the report also added "while at Marmora,  up the river in a north and west direction,  with high, dry riverbanks,  malaria appeared some years later than at Madoc,  and again,  at Doloro (sic)  it has this year been as bad as last."   

In 1854 William Minchen ( far right)  suffered fever and ague twice but survived.

Bessie Bramley Pearce (1856-1882) was known as the nicest girl in town.  She was married to the well known warden of the County of Hasting,  Josiah Williams Pearce.    She died of Malarial fever.

And in case you were wondering,  in 2013, a total of 210 confirmed cases of malaria were reported in Ontario in the integrated Public Health Information System.

(Original  text of the 1882 Annual Report of the Department of Health can be reached here.  Just click.)

So where is Barriefield? And what did it mean to Marmora?

It was 1814, before the birth of Sir John A. MacDonald,    when Kingston businessman and politician,  Richard Cartwright, divided part of his own land on the Cataraqui River,   opposite Fort Henry, Kingston,  to create lots for working people principally employed as tradesmen at the Royal Naval Dockyard.  In charge of this naval installation  was Commodore Robert Barrie,  after whom the Village was named.  

In response to the war in 1812,  and with the building of Fort Henry in the 1830's,   activity in the area was increasing,  and Barriefield became a significant pre-confederation Upper Canada Village and a true outpost of the British Empire, complete with nine pubs!  It is such an important piece of local history,  that it was designated as  a Heritage Village,  the first of such designations in Ontario.

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914,  Barriefield  was established as a military base, known as Barriefield Military Camp,  or Camp Barriefield.  Young soldiers were brought in from all around the area to train,  as noted in the Marmora Herald article (left)  dated June 1, 1916. 

On June 15, 1916,  it was reported in the Marmora Herald that there were  "over 107 cars and vehicles running to camp,  carrying the camp licence,  and these cars take in fares every day which amounts to about $2,000.00.  This means about $60,000.00 a month for car fares to and from the samp, spent by officers and men,  and all this goes into the City of Kingston.  Why,  the car drivers alone could pave the camp road,  and should have been compelled to pay something towards all things necessary to make the camp safe and comfortable."

The Herald further reported that "The Pearce Coompany Ltd. (Marmora)  have shipped a souple of car loads of lumber to Barriefield to be used in putting doors in the tents of the 155th Battalion.  As a result of the wet weather,  the tents are hardly habitable at present."  June 8, 1916

Training Camp - A Charles Bleecker photo

 c.1914  Charles A..Bleecker 2nd from left

1914  Blacksmith shop at Barriefield, 

In 1937,  the training camp (home of the Royal Military College)  expanded to the south of the King's highway,  and in 1966 was renamed the Canadian Forces Base Kingston. (CFB Kingston)

As for Barriefield,  it remains a quaint village  a  with a distinctive building style typically consisting of low profile one-and-a-half storey homes of wood frame or stone construction. Buildings are primarily single detached residences with a few semi-detached or row-type houses. Although many buildings and properties have been altered over time, and new buildings have been added to the Village, the overall nineteenth century rural character of the Village of Barriefield has been retained


Lumber has always been a lucrative business in Canada,  but  by the 1870's,  competition was so fierce that  rivers became crowded with  logs of competing companies.  Identification of logs became a major issue,  and the Dominion of Canada felt it necessary to intervene.

In her article,  "Logging Log Ownership",   Amanda HIl of the Deseronto archives writes:

 "In the days when logs were floated down rivers to be processed, it was important for the lumber companies to reliably identify whose logs were whose. The Timber Marking Act was passed in 1870 and required logging firms in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick to register a unique identifying mark and then to stamp the cut trees with that symbol. Between 1870 and 1990, some 2,200 timber marks were registered. Failure to register and use a timber mark incurred a fine of $50, while wrongly applying a mark to someone else’s logs was also an offence, with a fine of up to $100."
In 1874,  the Ministry of Agriculture published "The Lumberman's Timber Guide, "  to help lumber companies overcome problems of identification.  It included pictures of stamps for all registered lumber companies,  and a complete index.  The preface concluded that  "without a correct book of reference,  much trouble and loss must be sustained from ignorance of the Registered Marks by which the timber and lumber can be identified,  besides incurring the risk f infringing on those already adopted and registered."

.This  hammer’s mark (a six-pointed star) was registered by Deseronto’s H. B. Rathbun & Son on July 18, 1870. 


Lucky for us,   Ron Barrons from "back of Cordova",  donated the  stamp hammer of the  Gilmour Lumber Company,(pictured above)  one of the  major timbering companies of this area,  along with the Rathbun Lumber Company and the Page Lumber Co.  

The Gilmour Lumber Company was widely active in our area and north up to Algonquin Park.  For an excellent site regarding the Gilmour company's Dorset Tramway,  with 128 photos and text,                    click here!

T.P. Pearce & Co.  registered March 4, 1872