William John Cottrell was a popular man about town in Marmora, in the 1930's to the 1960's. He arrived from England as a young man, working in the silver plant of the Deloro Smelting and Refining Co.. There he found time to be a local news reporter for the Toronto Telegram, the Peterborough Examiner, Marmora Herald and the Belleville Intelligencer. He was a story teller, a lecturer, a writer and historian. He served in WW1 and was a Legion member, His community service involved lay reading at St. Paul's Anglican Church, choir membership, and writing the history of the church. He was enrolled in the Masons, the Orange Lodge, and the Order of the Odd Fellows. However, according to an article in the Marmora Herald on August 8, 1938, he was also a song-writer:
"Contented Valley, the first song written in Marmora to be heard on a broadcast is to be included in the initial program of "Songs of Canada" the Canadian Song Writer's own program to be heard over CKOC on Monday, Sept. 12th, at 8 P.M. The vocalist will be Howard Jerome, organist of Trinity Baptist Church, Hamilton.........................
.................................. The author of "Contented Valley" is W. J. Cottrell and the composer is Charles Wellinger.* Owing to difficulty experienced in this district in getting CKOC, Mr. Wellinger is endeavouring to arrange for "Contented Valley" to be sung over CFRB in which event, due notice will be given residents."
Mr. Cottrell died in the Queensborough Nursing Home on on Sept. 4, 1968, where he had lived for the last 15 years of his life. In the future, we hope to share some of his stories. Stay tuned.
*Charles Wellinger was a well known Canadian writer of Ragtime music, living in Toronto.
On November 9, 2018, Coralie Fountain wrote:
I am W.J. Cottrell’s grandaughter. My mum was his daughter Ruth. I had a sister and brother, who unfortunately are both dead . I was so chuffed to find this as I did not know a great deal about him . I was wondering if you could send me a copy of the Contented Valley and any other information you may have .It was so nice to know he was so well respected by the people of Marmora.