"In politics, absurdity is not a handicap"
The Village of Marmora was indeed born out of a dispute with the Township. Until September 31, 1901, they were one municipality. On that day, which, by the way, never existed ("thirty days hath September") all the documents setting up the village were dated.
Joseph Henry Warren was elected the first Reeve, beating R.B. Proutt by only two votes. Mr. Proutt thanked his voters and his supporters, "especially", he said "the ladies". Reeve Warren’s councillors were John Dempsey, William Hubbell, Daniel Dunlay and John McWilliams. The new Reeve invited the general public to a celebration at his home at 11 Main Street. The Herald reported that "a serenade of the new council was made which ended up sometime near midnight." If there was harmony that night, it was soon to end.
In the early years, elections were held annually and if the Herald of 1906 was right in its analysis, it was more personalities than issues which started the fighting. J. H. Warren was re-elected that year, but seems to have served less than thirty hours. To the delight of some other members of council, he had failed to complete his property declaration and by the second evening of the new term, he was disqualified.
The new council was not yet finished its purge. They claimed that if Councillors could be defeated, so could the clerk. For some reason the local physician, Dr. Jones, wanted to be clerk and he persuaded two of the remaining council members to back him. One of his backers was the enormously persistent Councillor Thompson.
In those days, the local paper did not hesitate to say what it meant. Councillor Thompson was like "some old world prophet .. someone we have to obey but pray we shall never have to meet". He was said to be "more terrible than lovable". He complained of the "giddiness" of the' local clergy and seems to have gotten rid of some of them.He was, however, highly praised as a chicken raiser. Chickens seem to have been of remarkable importance in town that year. No fewer than 128 prize categories were listed for them at the local fair.
Not satisfied with having gotten rid of Mr. Warren, and nearly gotten rid of the clerk, Council turned on the local assessor. His annual pay of $75.00 was thought to be too high and was lowered to $50.00. He quit. Council was adjourned while its members set out for downtown to find a replacement. No one wanted the job so, one hour later, it had to be given back to the old assessor - at his old pay.
Ever mindful of the public purse, the new council set an annual fee of $10.00 for the doctore, who they wanted to at as medical officer of Health. Perhaps rather understandably, the doctor, Dr. MacKechnie, considered this amount stingy and declined the appointment. Councillor Thompson said he could not see the doctor’s point at all. Indeed, the doctor decided to run for council himself the next year in 1907. He topped the polls. In his acceptance speech he related the story of a minister who, on speaking to the prisoners in a large jail, started his remarks by saying "he was glad to see so many there". He had met all kinds of people, he said, who wouldn't vote for him. Some had said they wouldn't support him because he didn't live on the back streets. Through it all, the doctor enjoyed the campaign immensely, kept his good humour and topped the polls.
THE 1901 ELECTION
On one issue the council managed to think in higher financial terms. It was a time of continual public drunkeness. One traveller on the Stirling-Marmora stagecoach decided, on seeing the rig, that the driver
was drunk. On getting in the carriage he saw all the passengers were drunk too. On getting to his destination, he declared that the horses were also drunk.
Although it was between prohibition eras, council did its best to sober up the community. They increased the Hotel's local licence fee to $200.00 a year. That was a small fortune when J.W. Pearce Co. was selling men's heavy work boots for $1.25 a pair and the Marmora market prices for geese, ducks and turkeys was eight cents a pound. Strangely, there never seems to have been a market price for chickens. Maybe they were all being groomed for the fair.
For the 1907 election, 21 candidates were nominated. Most of the speakers at the candidates' meeting spoke eloquently of council's record. Longtime Councillor McWilliams seemed most convinced by the rhetoric. After a speech in which he concluded that the "old council had done about everything there was to do," he withdrew. "After all," he said, "anyone could run the village now!"
May 31, 1906 - The light committee of the council met last evening and chose locations for the five new street lights to be installed at once.
Belleville 10th Jan. 1863 Private William H. Armstrong, Esq. Township Clerk, Marmora Dear Sir Marmora v Wiggins et al
I understand that Mr, Finn attorney for Wiggins is going to place fifas in the sheriff's hands today - Well, I am informed that he charges 35/- for a writ of fifa - Well, you will please tell the township Treausrer and Reeve not to pay the sheriff a cent until you hear from me because if he charge 35/- for fifa then I will surely make an application to Toronto to reduce the charge from 35/- to 25/- and that Finn pay the costs of such application , which will perhaps equal or exceed Finns own costs!!!
I mean to have my vengeance on him for his mean and pettifogging practice - he was very dishonourable in these cases - and thus teach that fellow manners. Do not let anyone know that I am going to make such application or even tell the sheriff that the charge of 35/- for fifa is illegal, as I want to spring a mine!!!Just refer the bailiff or sheriff to me if he see you, Reeve or Treasurer. Yours truly, ? Hare per Duncan MacLellan
Toronto Jun 5, 1883
To D. Gillen Esq, Tp Clerk, Marmora & Lake, Marmora, Ont.
Sir, Large numbers of Irish immigrants are arriving almost daily. Will you please state how many Families may be forwarded to your Municipalityand to what Railway Station they should be ticketed? We will advise you of their despatch from this City - An immediate answer will much oblige.Your obed. servant
The Ridge, Jan 3, 1887
To William Phllips, Esq.,Township Clerk, Marmora and Lake
"Dear Sir" In reply to yours of 11th December, enclosing copy of resolution passed by your council appointing me caretaker of Wiliam Hall, a pauper, and granting said William Hall forty dollars per annum to be paid quarterly. 1st installment payable 1st March 1881, I beg to say that I will take care of Hall as per the terms of said Resolution.
I am Sir Yours truly John McLean per James McGregor
B.C. Hubbell was ap-
.pointed as Justice of the
Peace in 1894. He would
also serve over twelve years as a Village Councillor. He died on Feb. 16, 1936 and is
buried in the Eldorado cemetery.
-- Marmora Herald,
February 20, 1936
Marmora, Nov. 3, 1854 -To the Warden and Council of the County of Hastings
At a meeting of the Municipal Electors of the Township of Marmora called for the purpose of giving their vote for or against a By-law of the County Council of the County of Hastings authorizing a loan of the sum of 29,400 pounds to be raised on the credit of the Consolidated Municipal Loan Fund of Upper Canada; To be appropriated in the making and improving of roads in the County of Hastings, held at the place and the hour appointed by the said By-Law; The By-law being read and the question put for or against, Not one single vote against but a unanimous vote for the By-Law. Town Clerk - Wm. Inkster
Marmora June 18, 1888
To the honourable council of Marmora and Lake
Gentlemen. The road leading from the Norwood road to Crowe lake is in very bad condition and if you would grant me ten dollars on the same, I would be very much obliged. Michael McGrath
To: Reeve Gladney
Do not forget, when levying taxes in August, to levy Municipal School Grant on all assessed property as provided by law. The clerk will then, please, notify us of the amount of this which has been levied on Separate School supporters.How are building operations progressing? Yours truly, W. MacIntosh
The Hastings Mining and Reduction Co. Ltd.
Head Office 14 Adelaide St. E., Toronto, Ont. May 7, 1894
Works, Marmora, Ont. Gladney E. Esq. Reeve of Marmora, Marmora
Dear Sir, Some time ago negotiations were commenced with a view to this company securing from the Municipality of the Township ofMarmora the road allowance adjoining the Pearce property where the company mined? part of last year. Mr. George Keith, who has just returned from Marmora, has informed us that - this reported in Marmora - that other parties are seeking to secure the property. A great deal of money has been spent by this company on the property and it would be manifestly unfair that others should reap the benefits.
Please let us know what steps should be taken to secure the property.
J.A. WrightSec. Treas.
Township Council receives delivery of new grader.
Left to right: Tom Devolin, Dermot Bedore, George Fox, Reeve, John Wilkes, Gordon Jones, John Brown Thomas Bateman, child Kent Golden. Standing on the grader are A.H. Van Camp of WABCO Equipment of Paris, Ontario, and Albert Leonard
Wardens from Marmora
T.P. Pearce 1879 J.W. Pearce 1901 W.H. Hubbell 1914 G.B. Airhart 1916 W.A. Shannon 1967 J.D. Wilkes 1970 T.E. Clemens 2007
WILLIAM SHANNON FIRST MARMORA REEVE IN 41 YEARS TO BE WARDEN
BELLEVILLE (Staff) - For the first time in 41 years, a Reeve of Marmora Village has been elected to the office ofwarden of Hastings County. William Shannon, 56, a merchant and reeve of the village for 10 years, was elected unanimously by the 33·member council Tuesday, He has been a member of county council for 11 years and has also served 16 years on Marmora village council.
Reeve Shannon was nominated by Calvin White, Reeve of Dungannon Township. In accepting the post, Warden Shannon said he hoped council this year would set an example of co-operation and goodwill be- tween the counties, townships and the members of council itself.
"I would be remiss if I did not thank the people of Marmora village for their confidence in me," he said. "I relish the challenge of the year ahead. I have no fears, only great pride in the office given me today."
WILL WATCH TAXES Warden Shannon said close attention will be given to keeping tax levels down this year and to county planning, which had been considered but notacted on by the past council. County welfare will also receive council's careful consideration, he said. After receiving his robes of office, Warden Shannon was offered congratulations by Elmer Sandercock, MPP (PC Hastings West); Clarke Rollins, (PC-Hastings East), and county clerk-treasurer Carl Bateman who presented him with the gavel of office. The ceremony took place before about 75 people including Warden Shannon's wife Dorena, and daughter Cathy, 12.
He also has a son, James, who ·teaches high school in Stratford , and another son Daniel, a student at the University of Guelph. Warden Shannon is the first ·warden from Marmora since 1927 when G. B. Airhart held the post. For several years the new warden has represented county council on the Belleville hospital board. He has also served as representative on the county health unit and as chairman of council's consultative committee for elementary and secondary schools. Warden Shannon operates a drug store with his brother, Jimin Marmora
More on John Wilkes and his wife, Margaret, sent to us by his granddaughter, Elaine Brown.