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Ah, the Good Ol' Days in Vansickle!

Arlene McKee has supplied us with lots of Vansickle history.  The following is John Wesley Vansickle's description of his father,  John,  written in 1946.

John Vansickle and Amanda McLaughlin 1914 with John Wesley,  Robert,  David,  George, Joseph,  Fred,  Tom and Henry,  and with Edith, Myrtle, Harriot and Grace

" When I was fourteen he drew lumber from the mill of TP.Pearce in Marmora for the erection of the present home" approx. 1872. My Dad paid $11.00 a thousand and you could not find a knot in it. It was the choicest pine.  The wolves used to come up on the roof of the old house which had been first the log shanty. They did not molest us but would kill our sheep within 25 rods of the house."

  He then related how his mother carried his brother Robert when a baby, six months old,  all the way to Marmora and back (28 miles) in one day to get to the late Dr. H.M. Jones to pull a tooth.   John said, " My father was not established in the settlement many years before he came into possession of the property of his his brother and brother-in-law. This gave him 300 acres. Brother David decided to travel to the USA and his brother-in-law,  who kept a small general store and Post Office in Vansickle for about two years,  moved to Norwood where he retired. John put in 26 winters as foreman for the Pearce Company lumbering in the settlement. He was a member of the Orange Order of Norwood for about 50 years and had only missed attendance at only two walks. His name is among the honored in this part of Ontario. The land in the east side of the settlement, Hastings County, was deeded to John Wesley on .,August 25, 1888 from Thomas Peter Pearce of Marmora,  Hastings County, (son of the old Pearce Family of Norwood Dummer area) for the sum of$400.00 Lot # 4, Concession 1(Lake Township)  fortwo hundred acres.


Ah, the Irish and their potatoes!

"Ah, the Irish and their potatoes, every meal, every day."   Ronald Barrons wrote to share a family story.
"Here the Barrons family prepares their potatoes for spring planting. My father Harry Barrons is at the back, his brother Charlie in the foreground. Their grandfather came to Canada in the 1850's. Also shown is their mother Lena, whose 3rd great grand father Timothy McGinness came to America before 1738."


Kristin Philpot   I worked at the "North End Gas and Goodies"  for a summer while in high school in the nineties. We all called it the North End Store but that name must have stolen from the grocery store shut down across the street on McGill.

I pumped gas, served ice cream,  and bred and packaged worms (bait). In hindsight, there probably wasn't enough hand washing in between! We had a sign outside that said "YES! We have gas and worms." - which led to a summer of ridicule and advice that I should see a doctor! We sold single cigarettes for $0.25, which meant a lot of guys stopping by for sneaky smokes their wives didn't know about! In those days they smoked indoors of course. We also had a cork board where cottagers or campers would leave messages for each other (imagine life without cells!). It was the way to find the best parties. It was a good job, the bosses (Brad Campbell and a fellow from Deloro) pretty much left me to my own devices and I met lots of fun people....



The Story of the Jack Rabbit

Wendi Wells-Lautenbach wrote " Ran across this photo which was originally shared by my cousin Ronald Barrons. It is of my grampa Everett Barrons many years ago with a prize hare."

Everett Barrons and his prize hare.

Ronald Barrons then added :  "It's hard to believe that the European hare was not always a part of our native fauna.
Even harder to accept is the fact that all the multitudes of these jacks seen in Ontario over the past 80-some years are the results of nine imports. But this is indeed true. The story, though, really begins in Brantford.
In 1912, at the Bow Park Farm, an island in the Grand River, the manager, a German immigrant, brought in several young European hares from Danzig.
Like many old country people at that time, he probably longed for some of the old familiar ties with his original homeland.
Whether this was behind his thinking or if he had ideas on marketing the animals, no one really knows.
At any rate, hares being hares and long noted for their incredible wildness, his new stock grew and became so hard to handle he finally gave them the run of the property. That winter they crossed over the Grand River ice and went wild.

For more on the disappearance of the Jack Rabbit,  click here.

Working from start to finish at Marmoraton Mine

Gail (Young) Gordanier sent this photo,  adding"This photo is Frank Young (my dad) with a team of horses plowing the fields where the Mine pit was dug years later. He worked for the farmer who owned the land before the Mine existed. My dad worked at the Mine right up until the very last day of its closing."

Pat McCrodan wrote :  I was going to school at the Separate school when the news started circulating that they had discovered iron and a new mine was coming to town.[out behind the school]. Deloro was slowing down and the mine would keep the men working. Albert Maynes came to Marmora and started building, the liquor stoe, theatre, Richards Rest, two clothing stores where the old TEXACO stn was. Roy Frost, an electrican, started building behind the bank where the ESSO stn is now. The economy couldn't support two and Maynes suceeded.

My Town - by Marilyn Maloney

Marmora Herald- January 2, 1994

 I took a stroll down by the beautiful Medical Centre and I stood for a while watching the ever-flowing waters of the Crowe River winding in and around the thin crust of ice along the shoreline. I could hear the rush of the dam upstream and the clink, clink of the flags blowing against their poles by the cenotaph. I stood and gazed at the old steam engine housed there, an arduous attempt by the Lions Club to preserve some of our heritage. The trees along the bank are slumbering,   awaiting the glory of spring and, as I stood, my mind's eye began to flow along the river taking in beauty and peace of this, MY TOWN.

I was born here in 1934.  My Dad, Jim Sproul,  came from Glasgow,  Scotland to Deloro in January, 1929,  looking for work. Times were hard in the cities and an old Scottish acquaintance told him they were hiring at the Deloro plant. By August of that year my Dad sent for his young bride Isabella and they lived at first with Tommy and Vi Cousins in Deloro.

Later they moved into Marmora into half of the house known as the Clairmont home (later the home of Andre and Anne Philpot and now the Limestone Bed & Breakfast).   My mother thought she had come to the ends of the earth. No train, no transportation, no running water, no central heat, no family and no old friends. That first winter someone sold them green wood and my father came home from work many a day to a tearful wife unable to conquer the horrors of wood fires. But those days passed and she became quite capable in time. 

The Sprouls finally settled on North Hastings Ave., where I was born. My mother's sister Nettie came to live here for two years. A few people may still remember her. Up the hill from my house lived Joe and Lizzie Doyle,  who were like grandparents for me. Joe owned a bus called the "Carryall'.' and it was used to transport workers to and from Deloro. 

My parents were faithful members of the United Church and in my. growing up years such aspects of the church as Explorers, CGIT, Sunday School and Junior Choir allplayed a part in my future. The local skating facility in winter was an outside rink behind some of the stores on Front St. and as I glanced up the river today I remembered lazy, warm swims in the old mill pond all summer long. There was .no concern then for pollution. I remember my Dad I catching tubs (yuk) ofmud cats out of the river's dark recesses.

On a Sunday our family and friends would walk across the dam and climb the treacherous path to the west side of the river to picnic. It was such a pleasant place. I still love picnics and maybe I am trying to recapture that long remembered feeling of peace and tranquility at that spot just across the river. An almost forgotten place today,   it was the location of the first Catholic Church and a few grave stones endure in their lonely place. Later on people told scary stories about the graves and we kids believed it all and relished in the folklore.

On Front Street I can "remember a genuine Chinese Restaurant. As a kid, a hot dog was a special treat and on the infrequent times I was taken to eat out, I thought the hot dogs were the greatest in the world. People joked about the rotund proprietor's English pronunciations. "Two fly egg, laison pie and lice cleam." I remember hearing also about a stabbing having taken place in this establishment.

My first year at school was in the building now housing the Masonic Lodge. (Torn down in 2004)   The next few years were in the junior school (now the Legion ) which also had two high school rooms. The old high school is torn down now. It had two stories and we thought it pretty modern with it's lab and all. As I recall there was a constant smell of rotten eggs from the experi- ments in the lab. Students had to shuffle back and forth from the lower school to the upper school.   During my high school years I met Michael John Maloney (Mickey) and my fate to stay my whole life in "my town" was sealed .


In June of 1952, having graduated business, I went to work for the Dominon Bank in the spot now occupied by Hastings Handcrafts. (Now the Marmora Historical Foundation)   It was, in those days, a scary place as most banks were. There was one tellers cage, the upper half enclosed with a "chicken wire" as we called it.   Michael Forestell was the teller.  The hand written ledgers were updated daily and maintained by Lena Sullivan and Dorothy Airhart. Alex Fraser was the Manager.

In August of that year the bank moved to its present location (a former hardware) where the premises were ultra modern for the day.  In 1956 the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank amalgamated. In the meantime,  the Bethlehem Steel Corp. of Penn. USA was developing an iron ore mining operation here and it changed "my town.   Businesses opened up, housing developments rose, people came and prosperity thrived. 

Twenty-five years later the mine closed. They said, "my town" would become a ghost town, but I knew better. Often we have occasion to meet people who have moved away. They ask "How are things in Marmora? Same old place? Any new changes?"   We stop to think and answer "No, things are pretty much the same" and silently we say, "Thank you Lord".

This is our town, these are my memories. Others who have been born and raised here will have other memories. Take a stroll by the old Crowe River. It will whisper to you. It may even stir up pride in the place I call "my town."

November - A time to Remember a Cordova Soldier

Wayne VanVolkenburg writes:

This is a photo of Verdon Badgley, the cousin that I never got to meet. He is lying down, second from the right, front row.   Verdon's  mother was Theda VanVolkenburg, my aunt, from north of Cordova.  His father died Oct. 21, 1918 and Verdon was born on Oct. 11, 1918.  So Verdon lived with his grandparents at the farm north of Cordova for a period of time, while his mother looked for employment in Oshawa.  He was living at the farm at the time of the 1921 census.  His mother remarried on Nov. 5, 1921 and likely Verdon moved to Oshawa shortly after and lived there until he joined the military.

This photo  was taken in Italy in 1944, just days before his death near the Coriano Ridge during the Battle of the Rimini Line.  He had enlisted on  22 July 1940 at Toronto with the 2nd Canadian Motorcycle Regiment,   serving with the Governor General's Horse Guard,  a  regiment  that has been serving Canada as a reserve regiment continuously since World War II. It was in 1941 that the regiment lost its horses to become a mechanized regiment of tanks.


The Gradara War Cemetery is located between Pesaro and Riccione, Italy.  There are 1,191 commonwealth burials at this location.

Boyhood Memories at the Beaver Creek Bridge

By Wayne VanVolkenburg

The photos of the Beaver Creek Bridge triggered several early memories of that location in the early 1960s.  It was a favorite summer gathering place for the local guys.  In order to prove that you belonged to this group you had to jump or dive from the highest level of the bridge.

On one occasion we were there, along with some older Marmora boys, when a boat approached from the Crowe River and headed up the creek at full speed.  Ted Hewitt  attempted to run to the other side of the bridge to watch it going away from us.  Unfortunately, a vehicle driven by Jim Gordineer was crossing the bridge at that time.  Ted was struck and knocked down, but appeared to be uninjured and refused to be taken to the doctor.  At that time Jim had the only cottage above the bridge.

            Many people used the bridge as a location to fish and consequently there were several fishing lures decorating the electric and telephone lines near the bridge.  One such lure was a “Hi-Sport,” known to be effective in the local waters.  On one trip up Beaver Creek, I had lost a similar lure to a large bass after catching a walleye and muskie.  So, it became my goal to replace my lure with the one on the telephone line.  I gathered stones and proceeded to try to dislodge the lure.  Although the lure was hit several times by me and several other people, it still clung tenaciously to the wire.  Finally, after throwing several hundred stones, I knocked it down.  I dove in and retrieved my prize, only to find that the lure was battered to a state of uselessness.

                      Our neighbour to the south of us was Irv Muir who worked for T.A.Cassidy as an undertaker, ambulance driver  and furniture store sales person.  Irv and his brother were joint owners of a wooden boat that they had built.  Irv, being a generous person, agreed to let us use the boat for a weekend.  The three of us, Larry Neal, James  Reynolds and I headed up the river from Marmora with big plans for our trip.  We decided to take a side trip up Beaver Creek and could, if we kept the boat in a straight line, just clear the underside of the bridge.  This worked fine on the trip upstream, but on the return trip the boat turned a bit sideways and the windshield caught the bridge.  As a result we now had a crack in the windshield.  Not a good start!    The boat, although equipped with a 25hp. motor, moved rather slowly because of its size and weight.

I knew that there was a 14 foot aluminum boat at my uncle’s cottage on Crowe Lake, so a plan was hatched to transfer this motor to his boat.  We did this and were now in possession of the fastest boat on the lake.Unfortunately, the motor didn’t start well and necessitated leaving the motor in gear and turning up the throttle in order to get it to run.  On one of these attempts, the motor started and off went the boat before I could grab the handle.  It then turned sharply and flipped over.  Squeak, who could not swim a stroke, had disappeared from our sight.  Luckily he grabbed a life jacket and appeared once we tipped over the boat.  We transferred the motor back to the big boat and finally got it started.  Irv remained surprisingly calm when we returned the boat at the end of the weekend, but there were no further offers to use it. 



Beaver Creek & Cordova Road

Ronald Barrons sent this photo indicating it was the property of Harry Barrons on Beaver Creek on the Cordova Road (1970?). This is Harry Oakman photograph.

"My father found that piece of property back in the late 1950's when he would hang around the Wells Brother's sawmill that sat on property adjoining this property which was then owned by Gordon Derry.  This section of the Cordova Road was the railbed of the Cordova spur line.


Margaret (Shannon) Monk Remembers Life in Deloro

Marg Shannon Monk, Theresa Shannon, Anne Paquet, Jack Shannon

I was born in Deloro on January 24th in 1921.  We were a family of six, two older
brothers, Charlie and Jack, and one younger sister, Teresa.  My parents were Ernest and
Dora Shannon. Directly across the street lived my mother's sister and her family of
three boys and three girls. We were together constantly.

We younger children attended Deloro Separate School and I still remember getting the strap in the 'baby' class for a missed spelling while my two brothers watched anxiously and nervously. But I loved school later and always did well and hoped to be a teacher.

In the winter we skated on the open air rink near the plant, Deloro Smelting and Refining Company.  I had weak ankles and needed help. I used Mrs Buskard's old, used skates and one day while endeavouring to 'keep up' all the screws came out and I was left standing in the rink in just the boots.

We had a wonderful toboggan hill, but no toboggan! Deloro families used the hill
and I had countless rides with them by sitting in the front and receiving the huge, iced
blanket of snow in my face during the rides. You can see the Shannon family was not
loaded with dough!

At home, our card table was never down. My parents and two brothers had a few
hands of bridge every noon hour. How I wanted to play! I did learn the rudiments of the
of the game, very young, and that game has given me unbound pleasure during my
whole life, enjoying Bridge clubs for years.

Christmas was a high light to all Deloro families as the Company's Dramatic Society hosted a full fledged party in the Deloro hall on Christmas Eve.  A monstrous tree decorated the centre of the hall and after the excitement of Santa's arrival from the North Pole every child had a ride around the tree on Santa's back. Each of us received a nice gift; my last one at age 12 was a fountain pen.

My mother was a beautiful piano musician and we often heard our favourite piano selections by her after we went to bed. I took lessons from her and after I learned to drive, took some piano lessons from a nun in a Belleville convent. My dad was good with the car (1941 Plymouth).  Every time I asked permission to use it he would say: 'Just bring me home a cigar!'
Another great pleasure were the two tennis courts beside the Deloro Store. I learned how to count on the sidewalk before I ever played on the courts which would be every day if it didn't rain.

Our life at Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Marmora was made important to us by our good parents and teachers and we attended Sunday Masses and Missions. A sad time for our family was when my oldest brother, Charlie, developed MS and was bed ridden four years. One of us was delegated to remain with him at home during Sunday Mass. When it was my turn I never had a breakfast ready but always had the house vacuumed and cleaned! Charlie died at the age of 24.

In grade 8 the top students in the Public and Separate schools had the chance to participate in a writing composition. The subject was 'Canada'. (I was glad it wasn't Algebra or Chemistry). When I came first the judges thought I must have had hep and decided to repeat the competition the next year with the subject, 'How I spent my summer holidays'. It just happened that I knew North America like a book and wrote about a family trip around Canada and the USA, detailing every landmark and manufacturing highlights at important stops. Again I won, (I had to save face.) and received lovely book prizes, one on dogs and the other on Canada which I still have on my shelf.

When I was 16 and in Marmora High School my school friend and I were asked by the Deloro Company to join their work force. I still had the 'teacher' dream in my mind but the officials said they felt that 2 years experience in an office would be more valuable that grades 12 and 13. So we went to work.  Neither of us knew much about office work so we spent every hour each day on practicing typing, and becoming pretty swift on the key board. I also took a course by mail in shorthand and because of this received and extra 50 cents a day when in the Service.

A teacher came once a month to correct and delegate more sessions. My first cousinfrom across the street also worked in the office.  (According to Larry Paquet,  Margaret is referring here to MaryPaquet, a life long friend who passed away in 2014)  We often voiced our thought: 'Do we want to spend our remaining lives working in an office in the small village of Deloro?' Finally, she joined the women's division of the RCAF and I joined the CWAC. She took her basic training at Camp Borden and I went to Quebec.  My training was delayed for some weeks and I spent that time on my hands and knees scrubbing huge barrack floors. My frequent thought as I
was lonely and crying into my soapy pail was: 'How did I ever get into this mess?'.

My cousin and I ended up in the same office in Ottawa and I liked my army work later. I didn't ask to go overseas as my brother died at that time. My second brother went overseas as well as my nursing sister, Teresa. The colonel at the office said it was a terrible place for a woman to be and to not even consider Overseas Service. Two months later he came to the office, happy and excited to tell us that his own daughter was en route overseas!

In Ottawa we were assigned to work for the Canadian Medical Procurement and Assignment Board. On arrival, the first words the officer in charge said were: 'You May Smoke!'. The board consisted of the top medical officers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force and the DVA.  Its main purpose was to procure newly graduated medical students for recruitment.  Most graduates specified a preference for the Air Force or Navy but were assigned to the Army where they were greatly needed. Regular meetings were held at the Chateau Laurier (one at the Royal York in Toronto). When the secretary retired because of ill health, I replaced him at the meeting table.

After the war ended Teresa and I had a short holiday in Muskoka where I met my husband, Bill Monk. Later, I accepted work in Toronto promised to me by the Canadian Medical Association then the J. Arthur Rank movie people (free shows).  Bill returned to his old job at the T Eaton College Street store.

We were married in Toronto in 1948 and frequent weekends were spent in Marmora where my parents lived.  An ardent fisherman all his life, Bill was aware of Musky fishing in the Crowe River behind their home on Forsythe Street. About a year following the death of both my parents, we bought their bungalow and relocated to Marmora in 1953.

We had four children, Bernadette, Brian, Jane and Monica. Our two daughters, Jane and Monica, live nearby in Trenton and Deloro. I have lived at Marmora's Senior Residence since 2001.  I have happy memories of my childhood:   good parents, a warm house, good meals by Mom, fun with our 30 cousins, and friendship with the Deloro villagers.

The Country Kitchen

This building is found just west of the Village on the No. 7 Highway.  Wayne VanVolkenburg has this memory of the building:

" I believe that this building was built circa 1959, to be used as a building material store.  My assumption for the date is based on the appearance by Ted Curl at the official opening.  Ted was the host of "Teen Age Dance Party" on CKWS television for the year 1959.  This was a show fashioned after Dick Clark's American Band Stand.  Bryan Olney became the host in 1960.  (Teenage Dance Party was a program many teens in Kingston tuned in to weekly, if they weren't already at the studio trying to get on it. Showcasing bands and artists from across the country, the program allowed young people in Kingston to be part of the growing rock 'n' roll movement taking place across North America.)

 If I remember correctly, there was some free dancing involved with Ted spinning a few records.  He arrived  from Kingston in a British sports car; something rare in the area. It was a convertible, likely a TR3.  He commented on how little time it took him to make the trip.   Possibly this was to impress the girls gathered around him and his car.

I don't think that the store lasted long as such and then became a restaurant. I remember the owners,  Marcel and Glenn Labossiere,  had  two Newfoundland dogs in the restaurant, drooling while they watched you eat!

1907 - Horse & buggies at the fair

Bill Doyle remembers    "My dad was about 21 years old in 1907 when they used to race the horses and buggies. That particular year he had his horse tied to a pine tree near the track before the race and had a brand new buggy to race with. Nearly at the end of the race the horse decided to go to where he had been tied up before and ran the front part of the buggy up the tree. I remember dad telling us that it was the end of that buggy but it was nearly the end of him, too.

Lacrosse, hardball and softball were popular and there was a bandstand on the fair grounds inthe 1920's.Then, the fair grounds were the hub of the community and all church picnics, parades and field days were held there. There used to be a 'Hitch and Go' race where the horses would be unharnessed and then faced towards the buggy. The first horse to be completely harnessed and through the finish line won. There was also a 'slow race' where racers used other racers' horses. The reins were shortened so you could hardly reach them and no whips could be used. Then, the last horse to cross the finish line won, so the fun was trying to see if you could get the other guy's horse to run while you were racing it.·

Click here to read a whole lot more about the Marmora Fair


Remembering Ron Catling, the woodworker.

 Everett Barrons and Ronald Catling

Everett Barrons and Ronald Catling

Timothy Cowan writes:

This is  a picture of my Grandfather,  Ron Catling on the right. This picture was taken at the Marmora Senior school where he taught a woodworking class at night for adults

Ronald Frederick Catling was born in Suffolk England in 1919. As a young teenage boy,  he completed an apprenticeship in carpentry. He was enlisted into the British Army at the age of 18 and entered service to his Country at the start of the Second World War. He was at Dunkirk Beach and was rescued. Upon returning to England he was then posted to duty in Northern Ireland,  where he met his lifelong wife Margaret Ellen Watt.  

He and Margaret made their home in Northern Ireland after the War and went on to have to two children Shirley and Russell.  Unfortunately, Russell was killed in a car accident at the young age of 20. Shortly after the death of his son, Ron and his wife Margaret emigrated to Canada in 1975. Ron was 55 years of age when he took on the great move across the pond. They settled and made their home in Marmora.  Ron served his surrounding community with his carpentry skills. Ron and his wife Margaret have now both passed on and are buried side by side in Zion Church Cemetery north of Marmora on the Centerline Road. (Ron was 91 at the time of his death.)  They are survived by a daughter,  four grandchildren, Nine great-grandchildren and one great, great-grandchild,  all of whom live in Canada.

The Devil is Dead


by Andre Philpot

Although its founders and parishioners were Catholic,  Marmora's  little church of St. Matilda's  and its yard played host to all ministries.  Its establishment had,  after all,  been a community effort,  organized by Manahan,  supported by the Ironworks and all its workers.

The visits of Methodist preachers and exhorters were memorable public events.  Henry Ryan,  an Irishman,  was assigned to "the Bay of Quinte circuit"  in 1805,  and preached there and later throughout Upper Canada until 1834.

"They would ride into town,  put their horses in at an inn,  lock arms, and go singing down the streets a stirring ode,  beginning with 'Come let us march to Zion's Hill "  What ensured was often part evangelical rally,  part campground hijinks and part roadshow.

Ryan was sturdy and formidable as befits a man who was sometimes both preacher and bouncer.  He was said to have strength enough to eject the unruly and wit enough to seldom need that strength.

"Some wicked fellows are said to have asked him if he had heard the news. "What news?",  he asked.  "Why the devil is dead!"

Then said he,  looking around on the company, "He has left a great many fatherless children."

You can read more about St. Matilda's.  Click Here



The Wells Brothers' Mill

Russell and Ritchie Wells did not only run a lumber yard in town,  but they also ran a mill on the Beaver Creek.

Wendi Wells-Lautenbach  sent these photos and wrote: 

TheWells brothers lumber store waslocated at 72 Forsyth street. Don Martin purchased the business from Russell and Ritchie Wells in the early 70's. The building itself is still there but was converted to apartments several years ago.   This first pictureis dated 1934. "Coming from the woods-Ritchie, Irvine and hired man." The Wells brothers did a fair amount of cutting up around the Mazinaw to stock the lumber yard in Marmora.

Phyllis & Ritchie Wells

Russell Wells


Ronald Barrons  added -  When my father purchased his Beaver Creek property, it was adjacent to where the Well's Brothers had a saw mill. This would have been in the 1950s.

Glenn Mawer worked at that saw mill while in public school,  loading slabs onto a horse drawn wagon .Wells Bros built a fork lift out of a army truck. He also remembers them installing a diesel motor to run the mill, replacing a steam engine.

Lew Barker also worked for them periodically in his early teens.

Wayne VanVolkenburg sent this photo

John VanVolkenburg in middle row.  Russell Wells is on the left bottom row and Bill Bishop next to him.

Life at Glen Allan Park

Elizabeth (Harris) Berry writes:

Glen Allan Park 1974.jpg

This summer is the 40th anniversary since Dan and I purchased Glen Allan from Vern Caverly and it has gone by quickly. Our daughter Michele still runs it as Dan passed in 2010. I still occupy wee cabin 20 and it has been a joy to see my grandchildren grow up at the lake like their mother and make Marmora their home. We had a Joseph Fitchett on my mother's side live there in the early 1800s so we feel a deep connection.

When I first came to Crowe Lake with Michele, Bill Lavender didn't like the fact that I was out there alone with a toddler so would often come in the evenings to play card games he taught me.  Sometimes Hazel would come as well.  He taught me how to tap trees for maple syrup and told stories about how he used to ride the logs down Beaver Creek into the Crowe River and how Marmora used to be.  His death was such a loss for the village.  Ivan, his son, held or holds, a high office in government in Ottawa.

Looking at the flood well I remember the 1976 flood. We just moved into the cottage beside Caine's Creek on the lake the fall of 1975. I was living alone with my daughter Michele and woke up to water on my door sill. We often said that if a boat went by and created a wake, the water would be inside the cottage. We tied a canoe to on of the posts at the front of the house and went back and forth to the park (Glen Allan Park) and finally moved into the little white lodge in the park just in case.

Since there was no heat or hot water there, my three year old and I spent our days gathering firewood and sticks to keep warm, most of it very damp. I was in my 20s so it wasn't any hardship, just a wonderful adventure. On one of our stick gathering outings, we crossed the path of two huge wolves. Michele was small even for a three-year old so not to frighten her, I talked softly and hummed a little as we walked in the direction of the lodge. I knew not to run though we walked faster as we got closer. The wolves stood watching us all the way to the house then when we were safely inside, went on their way.

Teenagers in the Good Ol' Days

Recalling the good times at the town hall,  Pearl McCaw Franko  writes:

I  remember going to movies in the town hall. We had to pay 25 cents. When Bob Maynes opened the 'real' theatre and only charged 15 cents, we couldn't believe how lucky we now were to have 10 cents to spend! Shannon's sold red rock cola for 5 cents.  Pop in the theatre was 10 cents. Real dilemma. McIntosh toffee was 5 cents. Those were the days.

During high school we lived for Friday night Teenagers at the Town Hall. I think it was Tommy Brooks who played the records we danced to. The girls lined up in seats on the right and the boys on the left side of the hall. They had to make that long walk across the floor to ask you to dance. Sometimes you were hoping the boy was headed for you and other times hoping he wasn't. After the dance we trekked to The Heights to dance some more to the jukebox tunes and have a coke and hamburger. Loved every minute.


Go west, young lady.

The story of Margaret VanVolkenburg

It was not uncommon for early settlers in Upper Canada (Ontario)  to move on to the Prairie Provinces.  This article,  sent by Wayne Vanvolkenburg,  is the story of Margaret Vanvolkenburg,  the daughter of Nathan Vanvolkenburg,  who was one of the first settlers in Vansickle and Wayne's great grandfather.

 " Margaret VanVolkenburg, daughter of Nathan, was born on March 10, 1858, in Seymour Township.  She married Franklin Chadsey, on March 19, 1878, at the home of his aunt and uncle, Loren and Harriet Chadsey, at Hamilton Ontario.  They moved to Alexander Manitoba, near Rivers, in September 1879.  They lived in the upstairs of a log house owned by Mr. Hubbs.  Life at first was plagued by prairie fires and bands of threatening Indians.  Their daughter Lillian Elizabeth was the first white child to be born there on Dec. 28, 1879.  Their other children were: Ethel May, born 20 Nov. 1881, Thomas Roy, born 4 Oct. 1886, Beatrice, born 26 June 1893, and Berson Allen, born 2 July, 1895. They moved to a farm near Rivers and again to Oak River in Blanshard municipality, where he bought a homestead.

            With the outbreak of the Riel Rebellion and fearing for his families safety, he sent his wife and daughters Ethel May and Lillian back to Ontario.  Unfortunately, there was an outbreak of diphtheria at the time and Ethel May died on July 28, 1885, at Hilton. Margaret's brother James also died of diphtheria that same year.  Margaret sent tearful letters back home seeking assistance to deal with this situation.

            Grandson Dale Chadsey has a scrim-shawed power horn (1995) that belonged to Franklin. The powder horn now has a string attached to it, which wasn't always the case.  It originally had a brass cap and chain.  Apparently, Margaret, while there alone with her children, was confronted by some Indians at the doorway of their home.  The natives seemed to be fascinated by the blond haired children.  Margaret, fearing for their safety, tossed the brass chain to them.  Seemingly satisfied with this, they left.

            Roy was born while they were still in the Rivers area.  He homesteaded near Kenville, Manitoba in the northern bush country.  He later moved to a farm near Butte, where he later retired in 1961.  Beatrice, her husband and his father moved to B.C., where he worked as a carpenter.  Berson was trained as a barber, but had to abandon that trade after having a thumb shot off during the 1st. World War.  He ran the family farm for a while but later moved to Kenville Manitoba and then on to B.C.

            Most of this information is taken from letters from Margaret's granddaughter, Alma Warren, to Wayne VanVolkenburg."

O'Hara Homestead



This is a photo of where I was born - A 300 acre dairy farm in Southern Ontario Canada, the last of 5 farms over a 7 mile long dirt road. The nearest neighbor was a mile away and the road ended in front of our house. Forty head of dairy cattle were milked by hand twice a day by my parents. The back yard was very large it stretched to Hudson Bay hundreds of miles north very sparsely populated with a few roads.The land was settled in the early 1800's by John Plane father of Christmas Plane. John immigrated from England bought land for 50 cents an acre from the British crown and walked into the bush with his axe a bag of flour and and his wife Martha at his side (so the story goes.) I guess that makes them pioneers. My son Jonah and daughter Maryam were the first in the family to be born in a hospital setting and to go home to a house that had electricity. Every other Saturday we would all as a family go into town 10 miles away for some food and goods shopping and I would watch the TV in the store window (No Sound). Photo 1950's

(Lou Walter Wilson,  born on this O'Hara farm,  later moved to Matthew Street, Marmora,  and now resides in Philadelphia, Penn.)

Click here to see his photo album