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MARMORA HERALD - May 23,  1940

The Provincial Government has decreed that all municipalities having relief rolls, must sponsor the "garden plot" movement among the recipients. Every able-bodied person who has been receiving relief must cultivate a garden at least twenty-five by one hundred feet. The municipality will be obliged to make a report on all cases and if costs are to be shared by the Province and Dominion, approval must be secured. This new program is part of the general relief administration and no municipality wherein relief claims have been made within six months is exempt. Those apt to be seeking relief next winter will be obligated to plant a garden.

About the only able-bodied man in the Village of Marmora,  who has received relief during the past year,  although still without regular employment, has refused to cultivate a garden as required by the Government. That means that no matter what his circumstances may be next winter the Municipality will not be able to put his name on a relief roll.


                    SNAKE BELIEVED RATTLER

May 16, 1941
What is believed to have been a rattlesnake was killed about 11 a.m. on Thursday by Joseph Patrick Brawley, eighteen-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Brawley of the Township of Marrnora. The barking of "Chum", their dog, attracted the attention of Mrs. Brawley who went to open the back door but suddenly decided it were more discreet to pass out by the front door to investigate. Going to the rear of the house, she saw the reptile coiled up on the back steps in defiant attitude.
Mrs. Brawley called to her son who was at the home of a neighbor Barney Callery. Getting a stout stick "Pat" stunned the reptile and then ended its existence.

(NOTE:  Once common throughout southern and central Ontario, the threatened species is now found on the eastern side of Georgian Bay, the Bruce Peninsula, and in small pockets near Windsor and Wainfleet, Ont. in the Niagara area.)

SECOND SIGHTING -  September 10, 1942   Marmora Herald

Forrest Dennis

A year ago The Herald received considerable notoriety as a result of a snake story. The article was copied in papers all over the Province and broadcast over the radio. We still believe the facts were as stated as to the length of the snake, but many people doubted the story.
This time we give The Belleville Ontario Intelligencer credit for the following:

  Graeme MacKechnie

"Forrest Dennis of Crowe Lake and Doctor Graeme Mackechnie of Timmins, had a novel experience this week while fishing on Beaver Creek, about twenty miles north of here. They had landed from their canoe at what is commonly known as "The Bear Camp" to spend the night. The doctor was unlocking the door while his companion came behind him carrying the equipment when they heard the ominous rattle of a rattlesnake. The doctor threw himself through the opened door just in time as not more than two and one half feet from him was a four foot rattler, coiled and ready to strike, while Mr. Dennis was not more than five feet in the distance. Before they were able to kill the reptile, it disappeared underneath the cabin. As the men had been wading the creek, their trousers were rolled to the knees, thus making a good target for the snake. The fishermen claim they had a good sleep after first making sure the door fit tightly and it was safely closed."

The "Bear Camp" is the hunting camp used by W.A. Sanderson and other members of his hunting party each fall and owned by them. It is really on Otter Creek near its junction with Beaver Creek.

(Forrest Dennis was a well known fishing guide in Marmora and Dr. Graeme MacKechnie was son of Dr. Wm MacKechnie of Marmora -see )



April 15, 1915 - Accident at Cordova Power House


With the establishment of the Cordova mines came the need for electricity.  The water from the Deer lake dam was conveyed through a six foot flume,  a distance of 1550 feet,  giving a head of 74 feet at the power house,  where it drove two turbines of 800 and 400 H.P.  The site of the power house is now overgrown,  but at one time was an impressive structure.  The turbines were directly connected to a 250 K.W. generator,  and the 2,200 volt current was conveyed over 3 aluminum cables to the transformer at the Cordova mine,  where it was stepped down to 550 volts for driving motors and 110 volts for lighting.  The 800 HP turbine drove endless cotton ropes and a large two-stage compressor, having a capacity of 5,000 cubic feet of free air per minute.  The air was conveyed three miles through a 12" pipe at the mine at Cordova at 100 p.s.i.



April 26, 1951


Monday evening Constable Percy Embury received a complaint against George Cole of Cooper, on a charge of passing a worth-less cheque with intent to defraud. He found the accused at the Royal Hotel and placed him under arrest. As they left the Hotel, Cole made a dash for liberty, running south on Forsythe street with Constable Embury in pursuit. The constable called on him to stop and fired a couple of shots in the air, but Cole did not stop. When he turned at No. 7 Highway the constable fired low, hitting the prisoner in the fleshy part of the leg and in the foot and he dropped. He was carried to Dr. H.G. Parkin's office and given first aid and then taken to Belleville jail, where he was transferred to Belleville General Hospital under guard.


The case of Jerome Keene, shot to death in his cabin,  in bed. 

"Late last Thursday afternoon,  the people of Marmora learned with almost incredulous horror that Jerome Keene (63 or 64) had been found lying in bed in his shack just north of the village with two gaping wounds in his head, caused by of a shotgun in the hands of some unknown assailant.  The discovery was first made by nephews, Charles and John Gordineer.  They at once notified their brother, James, who was a County constable."

So wrote the Marmora Herald on Feb 24, 1927.  The long,  very descriptive articles outlined all the reasons of the delay in discovering the body,   the layout of Mr. Keene's shack,  the horrible  details of his death,   and the forensic details gathered to try and solve the mystery.  "Who dunnit?"

"Jerome Keene had been living alone for a number of years,  except when working in the lumber camps or for other persons.  While always friendly with those he met,  and respected and well liked by those who knew him,  he was very quiet and retiring and seemed to mingle with other less and less as time went on.  That, and the fact he was expected to be on a visit to relatives, was the reason his death was not discovered sooner."

The Clock that sat in Mr. Jerome's cabin now sits silently at the Marmora Historical Foundation in Marmora.

Jerome Keene was the son of Richard Keene and Miss Conley.  He was twice married, his first wife being Miss Emma Weese, a sister of Mrs. Joseph Warren and the late John Weese. She died about  forty years before the murder,  leaving  a son about 15 months of age. The son is Mr. James E. Keene, of Timmins, Ontario. 

 About 1900 the late Jerome Keene was married to Miss Kate Sheridan, who survived. One daughter was born to them, Miss Agnes Keene, who also survived him.

(Keene was also a witness along with Emma Reed at the wedding ofIsaac Briggs (32) and Caroline Reed (18) on July 3, 1882 at the residence of Daniel Reed in Marmora. The bride was the daughter of Daniel Reed and Barbara Keene.)

Unlike today's procedure,  a jury was immediately round up,  sworn in at the town hall, and taken to the scene of the crime to examine the body in place.  Then,  as the body was frozen, "it was taken to the Council chamber to thaw."  Thereafter,  Drs. Crawford & Thomson performed an autopsy.

" They found a number of fine shot in the wounds.  The examination but confirmed what was so evident from the start- that it was a clear case of murder with no possibility of suicide. The condition of the stomach, which was empty, would indicate that the crime was committed late at night or in the very early morning. It is also probable that it was committed at a time when there was bright moonlight, so that it was possible to see inside the building. The manner in which the blood froze as it flowed from the victim would also indicate that it was very cold at the time."

Mr. Keene did not believe he had enemies,  witnesses attested,  but one incident proved the plot was thickening.  He had taken a small amount of liquid to the druggist, Mr. Marrin,  and wanted it analyzed. Mr. Keene had thought it was moonshine and had taken a very small amount of it.   

"As a result of the small amount swallowed he claimed he had been in agony all night and thought he was going to die. He believed that someone had attempted to poison him.   The bottle was  given to Mr. James Gordineer."  Later the analysis proved the bottle contained  strychnine!

After a couple of postponements,  the jury's inquest finally took place at the town hall,  which was packed to the back doors and people turned away.  The article of March 24, 1927 outlines thelist of witnesses and their examinations.

Referring to nephew, Charles Gordineer,  "The witness was asked 'Did the deceased man,  in his conversation,  tell you he was suspicious of anyone?'    His answer was to the effect that Keene had told him that John BeII   (his neighbour) was acting funny-  that BeII came to his shack with Iiquor,   and he had never come before.  Said he was suspicious of John Bell, but not in so many words. Deceased claimed he lost $35.00, but did not miss it until evening Bell came to shack. Had also lent other money to John Bell."

John Bell was put on the stand and examined.  He was the tax collector.  He had borrowed money from Keene,  and in fact had bought his property from him,  but he denied any involvement.

The Verdict?

After hearing the  evidence, the jury brought in the following  verdict: "That Jerome Keene came to his death while asleep in his shack, lot 9, in the 4th con. of the Township of Marmora, on some date,  after Dec. 20th, 1926, and before Feb. 15th, 1927, as a result of being shot in the head by two charges of a shot gun in the hands of a person or persons unknown."

One Hundred Years the Town Hall

One hundred years ago, the Marmora Herald reported "Lincoln's spectacular production of "'Uncle Tom's Cabin" was held in the Marmora Town Hall on September 21, 1915."

Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly,is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman(Wikipedia)

When Harriet Beecher Stowe, visited Abraham Lincoln at the White House in December 1862, Lincoln reportedly greeted her by saying, “Is this the little woman who made this great war?”

Lincoln may never have actually uttered that line. Yet it has often been quoted to demonstrate the importance of Stowe's enormously popular novel as a cause of the Civil War.

Was a novel with political and moral overtones actually responsible for the outbreak of war?        Perhaps.

After the election of Lincoln in 1860 on the anti-slavery Republican ticket, a number of southern states seceded from the Union, and the secession crisis triggered the Civil War.   And there’s no denying that the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin had helped opposition to slavery come into the political mainstream in the North.

Harriet Beecher Stowe



In 1913 it is reported by the Ontario Bureau of Mines that the Ontario Rock Company of Belmont Township was operating its Preneveau quarry (the old 3M pit five miles east of Havelock)   sending its product (crushed diabase)  to Toronto for road building.  The rock was crushed on site and loaded on to a spur line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.  By 1916,  it officers,   Alex Longwell, president,  George Rayner, manager,  and S. Bradley,  superintendent,  proud of their modern machinery, described the pit to be 65 ft. deep and 200 feet across. employing thirty men.

But two very tragic stories emerged from that pit that send chills up your spine.

On June 22nd,  1919,  five Russian men from Toronto raided the bunkhouse intending to rob the occupants.  A gun was fired and employee,  Philip Yannoff,  Macedonian,  was killed.  In a report dated June 26, 1919,  it was said that the plot was arranged in Toronto to take the midnight train to Havelock and raid all the workers in the bunk house.  Yannoff was shot in the neck and lived 45 minutes,  during which time,  when he asked for water, was savagely beaten over the head.  Securing all the money,  the robbers retreated back to the train. 

"Superintendant Bradley and Constable Williams tracked them to Norwood.  Then they telephoned to the agent at Indian River,  who succeeded in tricking the five men into the waiting room,  where he locked them up under pretext of making them report for trespassing on the railway.  A search of the men found them unarmed,  but a search of the station room disclosed three revolvers,  cartridges and nearly all the stolen money.  The prisoners were taken to Peterobough jail.  All are said to be Russions."

   In October of the same year,  all five were given the death sentence by the very famous Chief Justice Mulock, although it seems only two were hanged.  (Interestingly enough,  Russia had recently turned to communism,  and Chief Justice Mulock, being also a politician,  was a fervent anticommunist.)  

    On Jan. 14, 1920,  Bahri and Konek were hanged simultaneously by official hangman, Arthur Ellis,  in the Peterborough courtyard. The two men were then buried in unmarked graves a few paces from the scaffold.

Click here to read the full  and corrected story story as set out by the Peterborough Examiner on Nov, 9, 2012  (word doc)

Twenty years later,  we find the story of Donald Ellis,  a 24 year old laborer from Cordova,  who died at the pit when his dynamite stick,  which he was adjusting,  exploded,  sending him into the air & leaving him buried under two tons of rock.  By coincidence,  his widow's first husband, also died in a mining accident a few years earlier.



On June 25, 1936,  the Marmora Herald reported the tragic death of Gerald Smith who was fatally injured while in charge of the compressor which supplied air power to the Pearce Mine just east of Deloro Smelting and Refining Company's plant.   The compressor was operated by electric power and the duties of the man in charge were chiefly to keep the machine oiled and turn off the switches in case of power failure. 

It appears Mr. Smith was caught in the belt in some way. His body,  found lying face down and badly damaged,  was found by William Goodchild, an employee of Deloro Smelting and Refining Company. Click here to read the whole story of Gerald Smith (1908-1936)

By amazing coincidence,  Gerald's father,  Arthur Smith, a baker,   died in a similar accident on October 6, 1927,  when his clothing caught in the shaft of a gasoline engine in the Lummiss & Bonter Bake Shop (later known as Vaughan's I.G.A).  It was his son,  Gerald,  who discovered his mangled body in the morning. 

Click here for the sad story of Arthur Smith



The Airharts were early pioneers who cleared the land and opened the Airhart Settlement just over the boundary into Lake Township in the early 1800s.  Oliver Airhart,  born in 1852 was later to become Reeve of the Village.  He had four sons - Bruce, Frank,  Charles and Stewart,  but it was Stewart who was the focus  family tragedy.

Airhart, Stewart, farmer, 1889-1921, Bad luck,  lightening strike XXX.jpg

Wm Sanderson Delivery Service



A livery business that enjoys the prestige of being one of the best and oldest established  in this section of the county is that  of the above. The premises occupied is located on Forsyth street. Phone 8. This business has been conducted by Mr. Wm Sanderson for three years. The stables are up-to-date in every respect. A number horses are run in connection with them.  These animals are all noted for their quickness and good looks, while the vehicles a handsome and nicely upholstered. In addition to the straight livery and cab business transacted, a number of horses are boarded. The active management of the business looked after by Mr. W. A. Sanderson and  a staff of careful and efficient drivers  are  employed •

Click here to read more about Wm Sanderson and his services


1926 Pheasants released

Marmora Herald April 15, 1926

Pheasants to Be Released

Last year a flock of nearly fifty pheasants were raised in the 'village as a result of action by the Booster Club. The birds were wintered in a coop and, in a large wire cage, which was erected at Mr. Robt. Nayler's. - The birds wintered well and have been a big attraction this spring to citizens of the village and. others, There are three golden pheasants,  a male and two females, and the others are .ring-necked pheasants. Most of them will soon he released in the bird sanctuary west of Crowe River, where it is hoped they will thrive and multiply. About ten of the hens and sufficient males  for breeding purposes will be  retained,   and the eggs from these will again be I used  for breeding purposes. It is I hoped in that way to have another  flock to release again next year, The pheasants are the most beautiful game  birds to be found in Ontario, with  their brilliant plumage and graceful shape. A few flocks of them in the  woods adjoining the village and around Crowe Lake will be a great attraction  and in a few years, if they thrive, will be quite an asset to the community. Let everyone help to protect them, as far as possible.

( June 28, 2015 - Jim Chard  added:  There were some free range Ring Necks in North Marmora and Vansickle 10 years ago. A good flock in both locations. They are no longer there. I think the increasing turkey population over run them.)




Marmora Herald,  June 10, 1915
"The Roman Catholics of Marmora have decided to establish a Separate School in the Village and a notice has been forwarded to the chairman of the Public School Board and signed by Reverend Thomas Murtagh (1863-1920), Captain John O'Neill (1833-1919), Michael O'Connor (1838-1917), William Flynn (1865-1942), Patrick Marrin (1845-1926) and John McCullough. Stanislaus Bertrand (1860-1957) was awarded the contract to build the new one room stone school in August 1915."

The school was opened at the end of October of the same year. The first teacher hired to teach children, from grade one through to grade 8, was Miss Brennan of Tyendinaga.

The one room school was started on July 12, 1915,  and finished five months later for the sum of $2,600.00.  All the funds came from private donations.  A Richard Connell of Madoc, contributed $2,000.00,  Mrs. Ellen Byrnes/Gehan gave $400.00,  Archbishop Spratt gave $50.00 and a friend gave $100.00.

The contractor was Stanislaus Bertrand.  The limestone used in the construction of the school walls was taken from the rock quarry located near St. Matilda's Church on the west side of the Crowe River.

A Second room was added in 1922 at a cost of $4,254.56

For more pictures of Sacred Heart School,  click here


ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO TODAY,  on June 3, 1915,  the Marmora Herald reported:

Walter Watts, Manager of the Dominion Bank from 1913 through to 1915 forwarded the proceeds from the Patriotic Tea and a letter from the British American Company, London, England stated that 7,500 Players cigarettes have been distributed among the soldiers and labelled as a gift from the Village of Marmora.

For more Marmora World War One stories  CLICK HERE


Marmora Herald May 1915

Archbishop Michael Joseph Spratt of the Kingston Diocese visited the Sacred Heart Church, Marmora, on May 31,1915. There were 46 boys and girls in the class for Confirmation that Sunday. Each of the children took a solemn pledge to abstain from the use of alcoholic drink of any kind until after their 21st birthday. His Grace also took a strong stand in regard to some of the modem fashions and dances. He denounced the wearing of short sleeves as a return to barbarism. He said that some of the dances caused people to act like wild people and this was displeasing to the Almighty.

Click here for more history of the Catholic Church in Marmora

Town Hall Tonsillectomies

TONSlLS AND ADENOIDS                     Nov. 13, 1919   
A successful clinic was held yesterday in the Town Hall for the benefit of the school children of Marmora and district. A total of 27 operations were performed for the removal of tonsils and adenoids and proved very satisfactory. The auditorium of the hall was fitted up with cots and the operations commenced in the morning. The stage was used for an operating room and Dr. Mackechnie was the operating surgeon, ably assisted by Drs. Thomson and Crawford. Miss Campbell, graduate nurse and Miss Watt, of Deloro made efficient nurses and a number of practical nurses  from Marmora's Women's Institute. Lunch was served at noon by the W.I. for parents and assistants. In the evening the doctors and nurses went to Deloro and operated on 6 children in the hospital there.

We're collecting photos of public events at the Town Hall. Check your old albums and send us yours. In the meantime, visit our gallery as it is so far, at the foot of this page.......…/


It was 1955,  and excitement was running high at the prospect of the Marmoraton Mine opening soon.  It had been rumored since the '40s that the Canadian Government & Bethlehem Steel were working together to  increase the iron stockpiles  and now it looked like a mine in Marmora would really happen.

But for the Peterborough Examiner on March 4, 1955,  the excitement was too much  and the photo got printed upside-down.  Read all about the founding of the Marmoraton Mine.  Click here

The Steamer "Otonobee"

In 1865,  after the collapse of the Rice Lake Bridge,  John Dumble drew up plans for the delivery of Blairton Iron Ore to Cobourg,  including the use of  scows to be  towed upstream to Harwood,  where a steam conveyor belt loaded the ore into the Cobourg bound trains.

The steamer "Otonobee" (built by entrepreneur par excellence, James Gray Bethune) was used to tow such  barges across Rice Lake.  Although her contract ended in  1873 when she was sold off and replaced by the  the paddle steamer "Isaac Butts",  the Otonobee made the news again in 1909,  in the Kingston Whig:

"The steamer Rainbow, bound for Peterboro with an excursion party of Indians, was struck by the steamer Otonabee, at a bend in the Otonabee River. The escape from a great calamity was fortunate.   A hole fifteen feet long was torn in the side of the Rainbow and she ran aground hard and fast. The excursion party was taken back home."

Read more about the transporting of Blairton Ore to Cobourg.  Click here.

100 years ago today -FIRE IN THE SCHOOL!

Marmora Herald April 21, 1915 A very serious fire occurred on April 21, 1915, which resulted in the destruction of Marmora's eight room Public School. The fire started in the basement of the school and spread so quickly that most of the children lost their books and some of their coats and hats. Mr. C.S. Haigh, principal of the school, after investigating and finding the cellar a mass of flames, returned to his room, sounded the fire alarm and had all the students march out in perfect order before they realized what was wrong. The value of the building together with furniture and equipment was approximately $15,000.00 and there was $7,500.00 covered by insurance. Arrangements were made for accommodations for the various classes as follows: Miss Campbell's class at the White Hall Miss Vaughan's class at the Masonic Hall Miss Shea's class in the Town Hall Miss Moran's class and Mr. Haig's classes at the red building at the fairgrounds. David Simmon was awarded the contract for the building of the new Marmora Public School
Read about the Public school's history at

100 years ago today - No speeding!

 A special meeting of the Village Council was held on Tuesday evening April 20, 1915 for the purpose of regulating motor vehicles in the municipality. The speed limit for cars and motor cycles was fixed by By-law at 12 miles per hour. The By-law also provides that Forsyth Street cannot be used by motorcycles except when necessary to pass over them in ordinary course of travel.