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



Between 1872 and 1887,  two brothers from Hamilton,  Edward and Charles Gurney,  built an iron foundry on the location known today as 500-522 King Street West, Toronto.  In his wonderful website on Toronto history,  Doug Taylor describes the price of progress "as the natural playground was to be buried beneath an enormous industrial complex"  (Click here to link to Doug Taylor's website on Toronto history)

1927(Toronto Archives)

            500-522 King St West today

"Viewing these restored buildings today, it is difficult to imagine them being a part of a bustling, sooty, industrial complex, with hundreds of workers labouring in hot, fetid conditions to tend the furnaces, shovelling coal to keep the fires alive. It was an era when workers possessed few rights. Wages were poor and hours were long, usually nine or ten hours a day, six days a week. Lung disease and work-related illnesses were common."



In March of 1937,  Mr. S.A. Lowe,  owner of the Royal Hotel in Marmora,  decided to make improvements to the hotel,  one of which was a new heating system.  Putting in a call the the Gurney Foundry Company resulted in the delivery of a three and a half ton furnace within 48 hours,  and complete installation within another 24 hours!  For Mr. Lowe it resulted in half the fuel costs.

If anyone has the opportunity to visit the basement of the Royal Hotel,  we'd be interested to know if it is still there!





A visit this week by Jim Chard at the Marmora Historical Foundation resulted in his donation of a Marmora artifact that some would describe as "just a lump of rock".  But close inspection reveals that it represents a moment in time when the life of the Iron Works came to a halt,  never to fire again.  On one side of the specimen are the remnants of the slag from the last firing -  coarse and black,  with still a little iron present,  as our spherical magnet indicates in the photo below (right).  On the other side are some fire bricks,  the only remains we have of the furnace itself. Lucky for us,  Jim knew what he had found.

It was 1821 when Charles Hayes built the massive structures that billowed smoke over the whole village day and night,  siphoning off the metal from the ore.  It was 1824,  when he gave up trying to make the failing project work,  and went back to Ireland.  Several attempts to profit were made thereafter,  and finally in 1856 the operation took its final breath and the great water wheels came to a halt.

Just click here to read more of this story of struggle and defeat.

Click on photo to enlarge

click on photo to enlarge

Who was Charles Edward Goad?

Listed in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography,  Charles Goad was a significant personality in late-19th-century Canada as  a civil engineer and publisher  of, amongst other things,   fire insurance plans.  He produced a staggering number of coloured diagrams of cities and towns  around the world,  including Marmora in 1893!



Fire-insurance plans, which would become Goad’s principal field of endeavour, were diagrammatic maps of urban areas produced for the use of fire-insurance companies. The measured drawings of streets and structures helped insurers determine risk for policies and assess the extent of liability in the event of fire. The plans recorded street names, widths, and numbers; fire-protection facilities; the materials, shape, height, placement, and use of buildings; and the locations of openings, types of stored materials, and areas of high-risk activities on industrial sites. They were originally made as required by insurance companies, but the expense of surveying, other fieldwork, lithography, and stencilling with watercolours, combined with relatively limited demand and the need for frequent revisions because of rapidly changing urban morphology, meant that few copies were produced. (Dictionary of Canadian Biography - Click here for the link)

The above map indicates the placing of stores,  including the hardware and post office on the site of the present BMR gift shop,  and a hotel next door,  one of four hotels drawn on the maps.

Here's to the River Gangs!

A story by Margaret Monk,  written in 1967

During the river driving days,  three companies drove their logs with the same gang of  men all on the one drive, with the logs being sorted out just below the  iron bridge on Beaver Creek, (recently replaced) about a mile north of the village. This was done according to markings: (Rathburn marked with a "star"; Gilmore with a "G". and Pearce, a "P").

The lumbering industry at that time covered only pine, hemlock, spruce and cedar, as  hardwood lumbering did not come into being until later. Hardwood could not be included in the river drive because it would sink, and therefore, portable saw mills were used.

Lumbering was a full year's employment with men going to the bush in October to cut logs, skid them, draw to river or lake. Then as soon as the waters opened, the same men would drive logs to the mills then go into the. mill to help saw them.

The last cook of the Pearce river drive that can be recalled was Bill Rose, father of the late Mrs. Myrtle J ones and Mrs. George Ken.  Walking boss was Jacques Wilkes, father of Mrs. Garth Sabine.

Other mills were operated by William Bonter and Sons, owned originally by the family of the late Louis Briggs and continuing to operate until 1925; and Lynch and Ryan who began operations in 1907 and carried on for 20 years in the northern part of the township and the Coy Mill in Shannick.

Click here for more about the lumbering industry in Marmora

The Thomas P. Pearce Co.

1911 Dam building by Cordova Co & Pearce Co..

The Coy Mill in   Shannick:  Left to Right - Bob Warren,  Bruce Johnston,  Jack Coy,  Buck Warren, Leo Provost Sr.,  Bob Provost,  Stan Brooks?,  Gary Warren,  Tony,  Vic Provost,  Bob Nobes,  Tom Johnston,  Vic Brooks,  Harold Nobes,  Peter Lucas

  Remains of Bonter Saw Mill

Remains of Bonter Saw Mill

Outdoor hockey? Can you imagine!

Story by Gerald Belanger

Around 1895 and for the following fifty years, Marmora had a reputation as one of the most enthusiastic members of the Trent Valley Hockey League (TVHL) in Central Ontario. Before covered arenas made their appearance in the area, crowds would stand around the ice surface, no matter the weather, and nothing seemed to dampen their enthusiasm. The only way to attend games away from home was horse drawn vehicle , cutters or sleighs. Sometimes nearly as many local hockey supporters travelled to Stirling, Madoc or Campbellford as those that would attend the game from the host village.

 Marmora was one of the last villages left in the TVL circuit that did not have a covered arena.   As the opposing TVL teams objected to playing on open rinks,  Marmora  adopted Stirling,   and later  Madoc as their home ice  for games against other teams.  One of the very first outdoor rinks was located on Mr. Donnelly's property. 

 The Marmora Herald,  dated December 30, 1933,  wrote that a new outdoor rink was to be built south of Highway 7 on Matthew Street along the east die of the Crowe River.  On this three acres of flat land,  there would be enough space later to build a softball diamond and a tennis court.  On December 20, 1934,  the Herald wrote:  "This year a few stop logs were removed from the dam and the rink was flooded to a depth of about four inches"

In the summer  of 1941,  Clifford Jones gave permission to the rink committee to build a new outdoor rink on a spare lot located directly behind his restaurant and barber shop on Forsyth Street.  It was felt that the new business section location would alleviate some of the damp and cold that skaters experienced on the rink located so close to the Crowe River.

 Some very early records might be missing but we do know that from approximately 1914-1924,  Thomas Moffatt cared for the outdoor rink only to be replaced by John Finnegan from 1925-1938.   Hugh Young took over from 1939-1942.  John Finnegan returned in 1943.  Hugh Young's salary in 1942,  as rink manager,  was 37.50.  The financial statement for 1942 also showed a net profit of $2.15after expenses.

 Due to the heavy snow fall and lack of frost in the ground,  the rink committee decided not to flood and clear the outdoor ice surface in 1945.  With the cancellation of ice for skaters and outdoor hockey for the 1945/46 season,  committee members became aware of the local people's determination to have an indoor arena in their own home town.


What did Marmora and Cameron Bay, N.W.T., 1000 miles north of Edmonton, have in common?


Well,  believe it or not,  there are two connections!

According to traveler Ryan Silke,  Cameron Bay was inhabited by prospectors, trappers, and several businesses during the busy mining rush of the mid 1930s. It was an ideal harbour for float planes, the primary mode of transport for prospectors.  First settlement of the site began in the spring of 1932 with prospectors tents, a trading post operated by Murphy Services Limited, and a government authorized postal office by the end of 1932. Within two years there was an RCMP detachment, Hudson’s Bay Company post, Government office, several restaurants, trading posts, doctor’s office, post office, aerial bases, government radio station, saw mill, private residences, and other businesses.

A 1933 survey of town indicates the Byrnes' house

It was Dr. Thomas O. Byrnes who went to Cameron Bay from 1933-1935,   retained as a Medical Health Officer for the district and in addition was paid a small amount for looking after the police.  He was to help out in the treatment of native people and any destitute. 

But it was his wife that made history - On January 15, 1935,  Marion Shannon Byrnes,  daughter of Dan Shannon of Marmora,  and sister of Jim Laughlin Shannon (Shannon's Drug Store) gave birth to a 7 lb baby girl,  the first non-native childborn in Cameron Bay - so far away from home!

By 1938,  Cameron Bay,  or Radium City, as it once called itself, or Port Radium, as it is officially named, was a ghost “town,” a relic of the radium rush. It was left with 16 people -  the wireless man, the HBC man, the police, & the bootlegger, -old man [Martin] Gardner.

However,  1942 saw the reopening of Eldorado uranium mine which brings us back to Marmora.  The Eldorado mine held the richest uranium deposit in North America,  eyed by the U.S. Government for the development of the atomic bomb.  The only processing plant big enough to handle the demand was Eldorado's Port Hope refinery,  with re-processing handled by - you guessed it - Deloro!

FYI:  Copies of letters from Dr. Byrnes written while in Cameron Bay are stored at the Marmora Historical Foundation.

Click here to read all about the Eldorado Mine & Deloro



Check your old photographs. They may have been made in Marmora.

In 1826/27, using a camera obscura fitted with a pewter plate, Niépce produced the world'sfirst successful photograph from nature, a view of the courtyard of his country estate, Gras, from an upper window of the house. The exposure time was about eight hours, during which the sun moved from east to west so that it appears to shine on both sides of the building.  For the next 60 years,  photography was a matter of experimentation,  looking for the sharpest long lasting image.  By 1837 Daguerre was able to fix the image permanently by using a solution of table salt to dissolve unexposed silver iodide. That year he produced a photograph of his studio on a silvered copper plate, a photograph that was remarkable for its fidelity and detail. 

Next was the ever popular tintype,  which,  by-the-way, contains no tin  but is a blackened iron sheet.  However it lost in popularity to the higher quality and lower costs of albumen prints on paper.  It employed a glass negative allowing the consumer to buy several copies of the same image..   But it was not until the mid 1880's that photographic paper and camera equipment vastly improved and the public was offered the very popular "cabinet card" - the photo on paper (about 4 x 6) and mounted on black, maroon or green board, with borders, trim and scalloped edges..

Marmora has had two commercial photographers that we know of.  Some time in the 1880's,  Mr. Galaugher (whose name we think was Alex),  was selling photographs,  marked with his stamp on the back.  He was the photographer that took the well known photo of the first train coming from the north into the Marmora Station in 1884. His stamp reveals that his studio was located "Opposite the post office",  which at that time was at 3 McGill Street.  That puts his studio just north of Madoc St. on the east side.

Accompanying that photo was a collection of photos of the iron mine in Coe Hill,  which had recently opened in 1884.  These photo were mounted in the same manner as the train photo and were most likely Galaugher photos.   Click here to see the collection

The second photographer was Thomas Stewart,  whose studio was located where the library is now.  An excerpt from a 1914 Belleville Intelligencer described it as follows:

Farm in Vansickle, photographed by Thomas Stewart

"A well known and popular studio in Marmora which embraces all the modern improvements is the one conducted by Mr. T. Stewart.  The studio located on Forsyth St. is nicely arranged and possesses all the modern conveniences. He is an experienced and practical artist who gives his personal attention to every department of the business and allows no work to leave his establishment that does not come up to the highest standard of excellence. Notwithstanding the high quality of these pictures the prices are moderate and promptness In the fulfillment of all orders Is a distinguishing feature of the business. All kinds of portrait enlarging and large groups given careful attention. Finishing for amateurs promptly attended to.  Mr. Stewart established himself in business in Marmora fourteen years ago."


 Click the photo to watch the 1980CBC interview of Thomas Bata by Patrick Watson

Click the photo to watch the 1980CBC interview of Thomas Bata by Patrick Watson

It's a fascinating pre WW2 story of a shoe maker who saw the writing on the wall as Hitler's influence was taking over Europe.  He decided to move his entire factory and 120 employees to Canada to start what would become the world's largest shoe empire.  In a brave move, Thomas J. Bata built the village of Batawa (named after Bata and Ottawa) just south of Frankford,  which would supply every need of his company families.

Largest cottage built in 1935

Unbeknownst to many,  Thomas Bata and his wife, Sonja,  along with their executives and families,  vacationed on "Birch Island" in Crowe Lake,  Marmora,  where their managing director,  Mr. Herz, had bought three cottages all in the same style with rooms off a central grand room, containing the stone fireplace.  The most southerly cottage housed the "boat boys"  and probably a gardener.

 According to Wilma Bush in Marmora,  many of the employees also enjoyed the lake.

Tony Daicar's cottage was on Marble point road

"Growing up on a farm on Marble Point Rd., Marmora Twp., we had the marvelous opportunity of meeting many Czechs from Batawa.  The Daicars had a cottage just up the road from us & Mrs. Daicar had many visits with our Mother (we loved her accent). Each summer picnics were held onthe lawn of Tipperary House, across road from us, by Czechs in Batawa. Lots of music & laughter - we were always welcome to join them - a lot of happy memories of these people!"

John Fielding wrote a tribute the company and its families,   and in particular to Tony Daicar, who arrived in Batawa from Czechoslovakia as a 7 yr. old,  but spent leisure time on Crowe Lake throughout his life.



Evidently a "master craftsman" from Cleveland was the supervisor for the building of the cottagesand they made the furniture at the same time,  according to a present owner.   Mr. Herzhad barges on the lake which made it possible to supply the cottages.    The most southerly cottage had previously been owned by the 'Moons',  and appropriately called their cottage "Lunar Bay".

Ronald Barrons wrote to say:  I've never read anything about Thomas Bata that I didn't find wonderful and fascinating. And so it was just now in reading all this 'new' stuff offered here, fascinating as always. Photo from my mother-in-laws collection who worked there in the 1940's.

Annmarie Willman-Spry Dad (Pat Willman) always bought/sold shoes & shoemaking materials from Bata for his shoe shops due to the fact that he was a HastyP & wanted to support the Batas for their efforts during the war.

Susanna Moodie visited Marmora


This is a watercolour by Susanna Moodie painted between 1832 and 1840, and entitled by her as "The First Mine in Ontario at Marmora, Hastings County," It is either the Blairton Ore mountain or the bank of the Crowe River where limestone was quarried for the blast furnaces. She did a second painting with the same title,  both of which are stored in the National Archives in Ottawa.  It is from this second painting that the Marmora Historical Foundation bases its logo of the three miners.

the Moodie house at 114 bridge street in Belleville


Susanna Moodie, nee Strickland, author, settler (born at Bungay, England,  6 Dec 1803; died at Toronto 8 Apr 1885) was the youngest in a literary family of whom Catharine Parr Traill and Samuel Strickland are best known in Canada. Her struggles as a settler, progressive ideas, attachment to the "best" of contemporary British values, suspicion of "yankee" influence in Canada, and her increasingly highly regarded book, Roughing it in the Bush, have made her a legendary figure in Canada.

 2003 commemmorative stamp with sisters Catherine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie

2003 commemmorative stamp with sisters Catherine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie

Ku Klux Klan in Havelock Too close for comfort

Kingston Ku Klux Klan rally in 1927

Ku Klux Klan in Havelock      Too close for comfort

It is hard sometimes not to judge those of the past by our own standards. No doubt, we would outrage them as surely as they sometimes do us. One result of different view points was the acceptance in Hastings County of the Ku Klux Klan. From its branch base in Belleville, membership in the fraternity crept north in the 1920's and 30's. The sight of hooded men at cross burnings was not unknown to the area.

In her excellent Kingston History Blog,  Francesca Brzezicki writes,   "While the original Ku Klux Klan of the 1860s was contained to the American South and concerned with bringing down the growing presence of blacks in public and political life, the Klan of the 1910s and 20s had branched out in geography and intolerance. New targets of hatred included not just non-whites, but Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and in Canada, French-Canadians."

THE HAVELOCK STANDARD confirmed in the establishment in Havelock,  March 4, 1926

The Canadian Encyclopedia defines the Ku Klux Klan as an "outlawed, racist, ultra-conservative, fraternal organization dedicated to the supremacy of an Anglo-Saxon, Protestant society."   It adds"Like their American counterparts, Canadian Klansmen had a fanatical hatred for all things Roman Catholic and feared that the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race was being jeopardized by new immigration. Moreover, they were not averse to committing crimes to achieve their goals."

Where are they now?

1918 Influenza Pandemic kills 20-40 million

"The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster. "    (https://virus.stanford.edu/uda/)

And Marmora was not spared from this tragedy.  On October 31,  1918, the Marmora Herald reported,   " Three more deaths occurred this week from influenza - Agnes Helen O'Neil passed away last Thursday;  Carrie E. Linn passed away last evening and Mrs. Mary Morrison passed away on Sunday morning.  Her husband died on Tuesday of last week." In the hopes of keeping people home,  the Board of Health requested "all services be withdrawn for one more Sunday in the hope that the influenza epidemic may be completely wiped out."  On Nov. 7, 1918, it was reported that the Oriental Hotel at Peterborough had been converted into an emergency hospital to care for patients suffering from influenza.

Click here for more on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Oriental Hotel was considered Peterborough's grandest hotel establishment from the mid 1870s until about 1912. It took up a good portion of the south side of Hunter St. just west of George St., rose four storeys.  It was thought to be the best hotel between Toronto and Ottawa, and was operated by the Graham family. As you can see from the postcard view of the interior, the dark wood furnishings were accented by potted palm trees and classical style pillars and decorated ceilings.

From about 1918 into the early 1920s, the Oriental served as the city's first Isolation Hospital, treating patients with flu and pneumonia. Later, it housed a barbershop and the Oriental Cafe, followed by the Trent University bookstore in the 1960s and 1970s. In an architectural loss that was most unfortunate, most of the western half of the structure was demolished to make way for a Bell Telephone company parking lot; yet a small portion of the eastern half survived, and to this day houses the Lillico law firm.








The Murder of James Gallagher

The Statute Labour Act has its origins in the earliest days of British settlement in Ontario.

In colonial times, many local roads received no government funding and male residents were forced to work on roads and bridges for as much as 12 days a year. Eventually, the number of work days required came to be tied to the assessed value of a settler's property.

Landowners had the option to pay the municipality to hire someone to work on the roads in their place. Refusal to perform statute labour or pay for its value was punishable by up to six days in prison.

It was a July afternoon in 1917,  on the 8th Concession of Marmora Township when Samuel Rogers,  Edward Storey and road master, James Gallagher were  engaged performing their statute labour.  While drawing gravel and spreading it on the road,   Rogers and Gallagher had quarreled several times, when Rogers suddenly struck Gallagher on the head with his shovel.   Gallagher fell to the ground and all attempts to revive him failed.

Upon the arrival of Dr. Bissonette,  the coroner,  a jury was sworn in and  an inquest opened.  But for unknown reasons,  little evidence was taken,  a permit was issued for the burial of the deceased and,  Rogers and Storey were summoned to appear as witnesses at an adjourned inquest. 

After a complaint by the deceased's  brother, Daniel Gallagher,  Mr. B,C, Hubbell,  J.P. issued a warrant for Rogers' arrest.  Following two nights in jail at the town hall,  Rogers stood before Magistrates B.C. Hubbell and Wm. Bonter fora preliminary trial.

Dr. Thomson,  who had been at the scene, described how Gallagher probably died from a neck fracture caused by the fall.  Hugh Farrell reported the prisoner had confessed to the crime but that it was self defense.   Edward Storey, the third labourer on the road,   was described by a newspaper as "not very bright intellectually and hard to get his evidence."

As a result of the Preliminary trial,  the body,  which had be buried on Monday,  was exhumed on Wednesday and a post-mortem examination held by Drs. Thomson and Crawford.  The verdict of the jury was that the accused did not intend to kill the victim,  and so recommended that he be tried for man-slaughter,  instead of murder.

Marmora Herald in March,  1918 - A Year Later

"Samuel Rogers Acquitted.     The assizes opened at Belleville , on Monday, the 4th day of March, 1918 before the Hon. Justice Rose. The case of the King vs Rogers for murder came up for trial on Tuesday  and after hearing a lot of evidence and argument, it was given to the jury who were instructed by the Judge to consider whether  or not the prisoner committed theoffense in self defense. If so, of course, there would not be any offense. The Jury brought in a verdict of Not Guilty"

Click here to read the actual newspaper article


The Deloro -Renfrew Connection

    Marmora Herald,  May 7, 1914

Citizens of Renfrew erected a four storey opera house and hotel.  The building cost $70,000.00 and was formally opened last week.  

Mr. Moon is the manager and Mr. Michael J. O'Brien of Deloro is the financier.

Mr. Moon was formerly manager of the Royal Hotel,  Marmora,  for a short time!

(It would appear that the Marmora Herald was a few years late,  as the Opera House was built in 1908-9 with a Grand Opening on March 17, 1909.)


Michael J. O'Brien, Deloro Tycoon and owner of the Deloro Smelting and Reduction Company.

Photos from "Heritage Renfrew"

The Disappearance of Rockdale

Some will remember the cemetery and church at Rockdale,  in Belmont Township,  because their ancestors are buried there,  but few know that its history included a post office,  a saw mill,  and the reputable "Belmont House".  

The 1906 Lovell's Canada Gazetteer notes that "its port is on Belmont Lake, a favorite summer resort and in the vicinity are Deer, Round and Crow Lakes. It has 2 churches (Methodist and Presbyterian), one  saw mill and one cheese factory, with printing and newspaper office facilities at Havelock. "

While  William E. Young  ran the post office from 1888 to 1901,  the office itself lasted until 1912.  During that time,  around 1904,  Mr.  E.J. Cashamore built Belmont House,   which was considered a hot spot on Belmont lake with tennis courts, bowling green and quoits beds.


The lodge was constructed by Edwin James Cashmore on property that he purchased from Mrs. Ada Young. The mortgage for the lodge was held by Robert Crawford Baillie, the grandfather of Jamie Medcof, the current owner.  Elizabeth Cashmore, wife of Edwin, came up with the "lodge idea" to isolate her husband from his drinking buddies in Toronto.

            There are 21.25 acres and 1980 feet of shoreline included at the Belmont Lake location.  A lime kiln was constructed and plaster was made from materials found on the property.  Sand was obtained from the beach, local limestone crushed, and horse hair added to make the plaster.

             During the time of its operation, there were 17 outbuildings on the property including: a dance hall with a 40x40 foot hardwood floor and band platform, gun shop, woodworking shop, boathouse and a pigpen.  Cashmore was apparently a gunsmith by trade.  There were two military muskets, 1812 and 1815 vintage.  The original lodge had 10 bedrooms on the second floor and a 40x40 foot kitchen.  There was also a back kitchen 25x25 feet that housed the well.  On the back of this was a woodshed.  The lodge reportedly operated for about 10 years.  The grounds had a tennis court, bowling green, quoits beds, trap shooting facility and walking trails. Fresh vegetables were provided bya garden on the grounds.

            Liveries in Havelock would deliver guests to the lodge from the C.P.R. train station.  The Cordova stage also passed quite close to the gate leading to the grounds.

            Unknown to Robert Baillie, Cashmore was an alcoholic. Cashmore's wife moved out in 1908 and his drinking buddies moved in.  Cashmore abandoned the place circa 1911. When Robert finally made the trip to check on the place in 1913, he discovered that many of the furnishings had been removed.  A local resident came forward and offered to disclose the location of the missing items for a sum of $50.  Robert refused to pay and threatened to have the informant charged as an accomplice if he didn't disclose the thief's name.  He did so and the items were recovered.

            Robert put the property up for sale and his wife purchased it through a lawyer without her husband's knowledge.  She had decided that the family should retain ownership and she apparently had the financial means to do so. When Jamie's grandmother died his grandfather decided to keep the property in the family. 

            Robert Baillie was reported to have hired a detective to find Cashmore.  According to Jamie Medcof he was supposedly traced to Pittsburgh.  Cashmore, his wife Elizabeth and daughter Hilda are found in Vancouver on the 1911 Census.  Death records can be found in the Vancouver area for most of his family.    

            From 1913 to 1916, Robert and his wife, Jane Trevorrow Baillie, would come to the lodge by train during the summer months.  Several times during the summer, Robert would row a boat to Ashbee's mill at the end of the lake and walk to town for supplies.  He would also arrange for the postman to bring them small quantities of goods.  In 1917 Robert purchased a Model T Ford which was used for future trips.  The road at that time passed by closer to the lodge and the bridge over the Crowe River was upstream from the present location.    

            Jamie was told by his ancestors that during the first three or four years that his grandfather was at the lodge (1913-1917) native people knocked on their door and asked permission to cross their property to visit native gravesites.  No one presently knows the location of there burial sites.          

            In the 1940's there were still several buildings in place.  In 1950 Jamie's family removed the back part of the main lodge.  There were two bedrooms left on the ground floor, off the kitchen.     

            The remaining part of the lodge was used as a cottage until 1978.  Because it was repeatedly vandalized, Jamie removed the remaining contents (70% of the original amount) and put them in storage.  Unfortunately some valuable antiques had been destroyed.  Some of the material from the old dance hall were used in the construction of the present boathouse.  In the summer of 2014 the remainder of the old lodge was demolished.  The only remaining evidence is the old hand pump.  Apparently the old kiln site can still be located.

A summary of information obtained from Jamie Medcof on June 27, and November 15,  2014.  Other information found in the Canadian Census records and death records for British Columbia.                                                                                           

Register your gun....or else.


                                          Marmora Herald October 3, 1940

The final period for the registration of guns is now over and if an emergency arose Marmora could arm a couple of companies with guns of some kind or other. The registration showed 131 owners of guns and a total of 227 guns in their possesion. About half the guns are high powered rifles. Any person now found in possession of a gun, which has not been registered, is liable to a very heavy penalty.

Football Trophy Named after Marmora man

W.E.G. "Glad" Murphy was an employee of the Dominion Bank in Marmora, but in 1914 left for Toronto to take an aviation course, expecting to join the flying corp on the front lines.  He was picked up, however,  by the Toronto Argonaut Football Team,  who recognized him to be one of Ontario's finest athletes - a rugby player, a hockey player and even a rower in Henley.

But Glad Murphy made history when he scored the team's first-ever Grey Cup touchdown in the 1914 win over the Toronto Varsity team. Varsity's Red McKenzie fumbled the ball on a punt return on his own 15-yard line,  which Glad Murphy picked up and ran in to the end zone for an Argonaut touchdown.

One year later, though,  tragedy struck when he suffered a broken neck in a game against the Hamilton Tigers on Oct. 9, 1915.   He subsequently died from the injury."

From 1959 to 1965 the Ontario Football Conference  trophy wasthe Glad Murphy Cup.

(You can read more about the day the Argonauts rescued the Grey Cup.  Just click here.)

1920 - Leave your lights on!

1800 - 1879
1800  -  Electric battery invented by Alessandro Volta
1820  -  1st electric light demon- strated by Warren de la Rue
1821  -  Electric motor invented by Michael Faraday
1854  -  First light bulb invented by Hinrich Globel
1865  -  Patent for electric coffee percolator issued to James Nason
1875  -  Light bulb patented by Woodward & Evans
1879  -  First practical incandescent light bulb demonstrated by Thomas Edison
1880 - 1899
1880  -  First electric elevator constructed
1881  -  First commercially successful dry cell battery invented by Carl Gassner
1882  -  Electric Christmas lights introduced by Edward Johnson
1882  -  Electric iron patented by Henry Seely
1885  -  Electric mixer patented by Rufus Eastman
1886  -  Josephine Cochrane invesnts Elec. dishwasher
1886  -  Electric fan invented by Schuyler Wheeler
1889  -  Home electric sewing machine introduced by Singer
1890  -  First electric hair dryer patented by Alexandre Godefoy
1891  -  Electric stove invented by Carpenter Electric Heating
1891  -  Alternating current (AC) introduced in U. S.
1893  -  Electric toaster invented
1896  -  Electric stove first patented (not for home use)
1898  -  Battery-powered flashlight invented
1899  -  Rechargeable battery invented by Waldmar Jungner
1900 - 1909
1900  -  Electric toy trains invented by Joshua Cowen
1901  -  Alkaline battery invented by Thomas Edison
1901  -  Electric vacuum cleaner invented by Hubert Booth
1902  -  First electric air conditioner -  in Brooklyn
1903  -  First electric washing machines patented
1903  -  Lightweight electric iron introduced by Earl Richardson
1905  -  First movable vacuum cleaner invented;
1906  -  Permanent wave machine invented by Karl Nessler
1907  -  Electric amplifier invented by Lee De Forest
1908  -  Lightweight portable upright electric vacuum cleaner invented by James Spangler
1908  -  Electric coffee percolators first appear
1908  -  Spangler's electric vacuum cleaner patented by William Henry Hoover
1908  -  First electric-powered washing machine, the "Thor," introduced by Alva Fisher
1908  -  Standing mixer patented by Herbert Johnson
1909  -  First American-made electric toaster introduced
1910 - 1919

1910  -  Hotpoint introduces the first electric stove
1911  -  Single-beater electric mixer patented by Hamilton Beach
1911  -  Waffle iron introduced by General Electric
1911  -  Neon lights invented
1913  -  Electric dishwasher introduced by Walker Brothers
1913  -  Bissell introduces 33-pound Electric Suction Cleaner
1913  -  First in-home electric refrigerator introduced by General Electric
1915  -  Electric clothes dryers appear on the market
1915  -  Oven thermostat developed
1915  -  Nine-pound vacuum cleaner introduced by Franz
1916  -  Kelvinator introduces its first electric refrigerator
1916  -  First electric lawn mower introduced
1916  -  First radios with tuners allowed listeners to change stations
1918  -  First refrigerator with automatic controls introduced by Kelvinator
1919  -  Pop-up toaster with built-in timer invented by Charles Strite
1919  -  Stand mixer for the home introduced by KitchenAid
1919  -  Cone-shaped Christmas lights introduced by General Electric
(From Trail End Guilds Inc)

Although the science of electricity was known in the early 1800's,  it was not until the late 1800's that inventors, like Thomas Edison and others,  made it an applied science. 

"Anything that won't sell," said Edison, "I don't want to invent.  Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success."

By 1920, eager consumers saw the creation of all kinds of electric-powered home inventions,   from flashlights and batteries to refrigerators and garbage disposal.  Naturally,  the demand for electricity grew with the hunger for appliances.  Electricity in Marmora was first supplied by the Pearce Co.,  later to be taken over by the newly mandated Hydro-Electric Power Commission in the 1920's.

On November 4, 1920,  the Marmora Herald wrote the following:

"The work of reconstructing the Marmora Electric Light System is now well under way. As soon as the substation is completed, part of the village, at least will be changed to the Hydro and the remainder of the village as soon as the various sections can be completed. Owing to the recent heavy rains and the releasing of part of the water held back in the upper part of Trent Valley water shed, the Hydro now has sufficient power for its requirements in this district.

 1913 meter

1913 meter

Whether Hydro is to prove a success or failure and the cost of lights in Marmora will depend largely on the citizens of the village. If the use of the new power for the lighting of houses becomes general and any considerable amount is used for domestic purposes, such as irons, heaters, toasters, washing machines etc., and also for industrial purposes, the cost of lighting in many cases will not be much higher than at present. The cost of each light, if they were left on continuously as at present, would probably be three or four times as much, but with the meters those who wish to economize will turn off the lights they do not require at any time. On the other hand there will be the immense advantage of being able to turn on any light at any hour of the day or night and the nights will be very much brighter than at present.

With the installing of meters, changes will have to be made in the wiring of most houses, but very few will have to be completely rewired and the cost in many cases will not be as great as is anticipated. If the present intention is carried out the Council will make arrangements whereby the cost of new wiring and also extensive alterations may be paid in monthly installments together with the cost of the light.

One thing should be remembered, especially by property owners:  the street lights will have to pay the actual share of the cost of installation and operation, in proportion to the amount of power used for other purposes, and if the number of lights used is not increased,  it will add considerably to the tax rate. The more power used the cheaper it will be for all.

Between 1920 and 1931 more than 200 different brands of refrigerators were available.

A little Cheesey History

The Cheese Factories of Marmora and Lake Township,  as all the cheese factories of Hastings County,  represented a large part of the economy in the late 1800s and early 1900's,  but they are a dwindling business now.  In fact none exist in Marmora and Lake Township,  whereseven used to be,  almost all of which  operated by co-operative or joint stock companies.  According to an 1893 Herald report,  only 3 existed in Marmora out of 67 in the whole of Hastings County.

With the improvements in transportation,  fluid milk could be easily shipped greater distances. The market, however,  demanded a standardized, pure product.  This could only be met through the factory system.  Milk sold on the farm generally varied in quality and cleanliness.  This led to a shift in priority fro the production of cheese and butter to that of a fluid milk centre.

A 1911 Government Dairy reports provides the following list:

Marmora -  Wm. Simm, Sec,   Marmora,   (Centre Line Rd & Beaver Creek Rd,)

(The Marmora Herald reported on April 12, 1906, that Mr. William Linn "is moving to Marmora Cheese Factory this week and will begin work about the 20th instant."  He was later Reeve of the Village,  in 1938)

Bernard Finnegan. 1930,  son of John Finnegan, owner fo the Marmora Cheese factory

Mildred (later campion) and Marguerite Finnegan (later sister mary bernard),  , daughters of John Finnegan. standing outside the cheese factory

On Jan 17, 1924,  the Marmora Herald reported:  There are two Marmora men who are the proud possessors of engraved invitation cards from the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario to be present at a luncheon on Tuesday the 29th day of January.  They are Mr. John Finnegan and Mr. John Bell, jr.  cheesemaker and President of the Marmora Cheese Factory respectively.  Mr. Finnegan was recently awarded first prize for Colonial Cheese shown at the Royal Dairy Show in Glasgow, Scotland.  This is the second time he has won laurels in the old land and the luncheon is given in honour of those who have won distinction in various agricultural activities.

Silver Leaf - Ralph Laycock,  Sec.  Deloro (Lajoie Road)

(The Marmora Herald reported on April 15, 1909 "Mr. Daniel Gillen has secured the contract for the erection of the new Deloro Cheese Factory.")  

For this factory,  profit wasn't everything.  The Marmora Herald on Oct. 21, 1915 reported  on Oct. 21, 1915, "The Silver Leaf Cheese Factory located on Lajoie Road at Deloro has given one day's make of cheese to the British Red Cross Fund. The men who haul the milk from their routes to the factory will do so free of charge and the cheesemaker also gives his service free to make the cheese. Four cheese blocks averaging about 75 pounds each were made from the milk gathered today."

On April 29, 1920,  the Herald reported that Mr. Sam S. McComb was running the factory at Deloro.

In 1927, John Finnigan Jr. attended the Kingston Dairy School and was appointed Cheesemaker at Silver Leaf.

Silver Leaf Cheese Factory - Lajoie Rd., deloro

Cooks -  Hugh Maloney, Sec,   Marmora (Ira J. Cook & Wm Hilton are  listed as cheesemakers in 1888 directory) The cheese factory was located at concession 2, lot 21 and Mr.  Ira John Cook,  owner,  lived on concession 1, lot 2 , Marmora Twp

Cook Cheese Factory manager's house

 Cook cheese factory demolition c.1945  located at #144 Clemenger Rd

Cook cheese factory demolition c.1945  located at #144 Clemenger Rd

 Cook cheese factory demolition c.1945

Cook cheese factory demolition c.1945

 Kennedy homestead #241 Clemenger Road This is just east of the Cook factory on the north side of the road. 

Kennedy homestead #241 Clemenger Road This is just east of the Cook factory on the north side of the road. 


Vansickle  - Wm. Carmen, Sec,   Vansickle

Riverside Cheese Factory on the west side of the Crowe River,  a few steps north of Highway 7.  Jno. Booth is listed as Secretary.  A small wooden plaque  stands in a lush patch of poison ivy and reads:

RIVERSIDE CHEESE FACTORY was built on this site during the 1890's. Although only a two man operation, production was in excess of 800 pounds per day. Only cheddar cheese was made. The cheese factory was torn down when it became economically unfeasible to continue operations.

The poster on the left would suggest the Riverside Cheese factory had its first closure in 1893 due to the death of the owner.  It is also interesting the John Cook,  owner of the Cook Cheese Factory was the executor for the deceased's estate.  The last line of the poster also indicates that the land on the riverbank was not owned by the factory but leased,  probably from the Pearce family.


A note in the Marmora Herald on April 29, 1909, reported:  "The Riverside Cheese Factory will commence operation for the season of 1909 on Monday, May 3rd,  under the management of Jessie Williams."    suggesting the factory was seasonal.


Although we have no dates,  there also existed in Marmora Township the North Star Cheese and the Champion Cheese and Butter Company,  both in Malone.  Down in Bonarlaw two cheese factories were running in 1898 - the Maple Leaf,  and the Big Springs Cheese Factories.

Terry Bell writes:  Those were the days - daily visits with local farmers bringing their milk to the Factory. My first job at 15 was working for cheesemaker Blake Johnson for $3 a day,7 days a week. Still remember the whole process as if it was yesterday.

Dr. Parkin Jr. campaigned against drunk driving



Almost everyone in town has fond memories of Dr. Herbert Parkin,  who practiced medicine in Marmora for 38 years.  But probably a lot less people realize his son,  Herbert Parkin Jr. was also a physician.  He worked in the emergency department for 15 years in the Royal Columbian Hospital in BC.  It was there that he developed his strong views concerning drinking and driving and eventually spearheaded that province's government program named "Counter Attack".

Parkin appeared in commercials as the persuasive,  green-smocked surgeon saying that he's been trying to save a little girl,  victim of an impaired driver.  He goes on: "Now I've got to tell her parents there's nothing more I can do"  The punch line:  "But there is something you can do.  If you see a drinking driver,  please call the police."

Dr. Parkin died of cancer on Jan 4, 1987 at the age of 42


The Naming of Forsyth Street


For many years, the residents of Marmora could boast that they had one of the most beautiful avenues in the County. Around the turn of the century, Forsyth Street was known as "Lovers' Lane". Both sides were lined with stately elm and maple. The houses were fronted by wide porches. Along the board sidewa1k ran numerous white picket fences. Forsyth Street was the principal street in town and its sidewalk continued uninterrupted right across the road which is now Highway Seven

Forsyth Street was named for James Bell Forsyth,   born in 1802 at Kingston. His uncles were partners in the famous commercial firm of Forsyth, Richardson and Company. The firm traded on both sides of the Atlantic, and in both Upper and Lower Canada. The heart of the business was in the old quarter of Quebec City.

In 1828, Forsyth married the second daughter of Matthew Bell, the businessman who operated the historic Saint-Maurice Ironworks at Trois Rivieres. That started an interest with iron manufacturing that 1ead to him owning a great share of the Marmora Ironworks, and with it,  a 1arge part of the Vi11age. 

Forsyth became a principal of the Marmora Foundry Company. Incorporated in 1831,   the Marmora Foundry Company was inspired by a prospective market for military and naval supplies and the government's plan to make the market for iron ore wares more accessible. His associates, Edward Bursthall, Peter McGill and W.A. Matthews (Mayor of Sheffield & Master cutler)   also gave their names to Village streets.

W.A. Matthews

Forsyth's enterprises ranged from furs to tea importation, from sailing vessels to steamships, but his greatest love was the development of railways. Among numerous rail lines he helped establish and direct were the Quebec and St. Andrews Railway (1850), the Quebec and Richmond Railway (1850) and the Grand Trunk Railway (1852). Despite his best efforts, he,  Like his predecessors, was unable to build the rail link to Marmora which would surely have made it prosper.

     Peter McGill

    Peter McGill

Forsyth is described as having been a "stern and self-possessed" man, portly and balding. He bought himself the best. Boats and furniture from London and hogsheads of Madeira wine. He travelled widely and wrote a journal called rather whimsically, "A few months in the East, or a glimpse of the Red, the Dead, and the Black Seas". For all his talents, he,  like all his predecessors, seems to have lost a substantial sum trying to operate the Marmora Ironworks.

John Bursthall, nephew       of Edward Bursthall

His daughter,  Fanny Bell Forsyth,  married John Bursthall,  pictured on the right.', nephew of Edward Bursthall.

(Click here for the Brian J. Young, “FORSYTH, JAMES BELL,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto )