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PIONEER WILKES TELLS HIS STORY

JACOB WILKES - A MARMORA PIONEER

In 1945,  89 year old Jacob Wilkes took daily walks down Forsyth Street in Marmora,  looking for old friends with whom he could "chin" about the old days in the timberlands of Hastings County.

A Pearce Co lumber drive on the Crowe River.  Marg Monk reported "Walking boss was Jacques (Jacob) Wilkes, father of Mrs. Garth Sabine."

Mr. Wilkes was born Oct. 3, 1856,  on Lot 18, Concession 5, Marmora Township. (Up Gulf Road or Quinn Road)  His parents were Owen Wilkes of Rawdon Township and Susanne Conley of Stirling,  who,  after their marriage,  moved to Marmora Township,  the former having been hired by the late George Campion to work on his farm.

Jacob attended the Wells School.(Beaver Creek?) His first teacher was Miss Eagles,  and another was Miss Eliza Wiggins,  whose father was George Wiggins,  prominent in the municipal life of Marmora Township ,  back in the 1860's. 

First to hire Jacob was Richard Briggs on the 6th Concession of Marmora,  who,  besides farming,  operated a sawmill.  A year later he was with the Rathbun Company cutting logs,  and not long after,  he became a woodranger  for the Pearce Co. and G.B. Airhart.

Pearce Lumber Camp

"I helped to make the timber for the first cheese factory in the township - Ira Cook's," said this veteran.  "Emery Demarse hewed it on the next property where they put up the factory.  Larry Hanlon was on the land at the time."

 

     

He referred to Jellie's Bridge,  which was erected by the father of the late Constable Charles St. Charies of Madoc.  In those days there used to be a store and post office at the bridge, kept by English Ray.

An old woodranging map is a prized possession given to him by John Stanley,  a noted woodranger in his day,  who died at an advanced age in Marmora some years ago (before 1945)  He used to take hunters to the foot of Thompson Lake with his team when he was young. 

"Those were the days",  he remarked,  "when people thought nothing of walking to church in Marmora and back from points of the township ten miles distant"

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Queensborough

 

           Mr. Wilkes was married in St. Peter's Anglican Church,  Queensborough on June 11, 1902,  to Martha Monetta Franklin,  of the Township of Madoc,  Rev. George Code officiating.  (Witnesses were Thomas Board and Tildo Franklin.)    He was a member of St. Andrew'sUnited Church,  and joined the Masonic Lodge in Marmora in 1910.

In the course of the Great War,  despite his age,  he enlisted with the Canadian Engineers, 254th Battalion.  (Children:  Beatrice Linton of Barrie,  Bessie Sabine of Marmora and Frank of Toronto.

Original article by W.J. Cottrell -  1945  

John/Dorothy Grant wrote:  How interesting. So love reading the stories. Richard Briggs was my GGGrandfather. My grandmother being Adelaide Briggs daughter of Isaac. Isaac son of Richard.