Marmora Public School



This structure,  built in 1892,  on the corner of North Hastings and Matthew Street (present day Legion site)   burned down in April 1915.    It was a two storey,  four room school that was not fully occupied when completed.  For a time only two rooms were needed,  but as the population increased,  the other rooms came nto use.   The fire was first discovered by James Laughlin Shannon,  a former druggist of Marmora.   ( Click here for full story )  

Some of the teachers engaged in the early days were:

  • Rendol Snell (also principal, and later owner of the Marmora Herald,

  • Miss Feeney,

  • Miss Ryan,

  • Miss MacIntosh, left 1906

  • Beatrice Riordan, 1906-07

  • Miss Alexander 1907

  • Mr. McNaughton 1907

  • Miss Skitch 1907

  • Miss Jane Almira Pearce (Mrs. F.N. Marett)

  • E.T. Williams,

  • Robert Weir, later M.P.

  • Charles Haig (see below)

  • Earl C. Prentice

  • Grace Stewart (left to attend Queens)

  • Miss Condie

Mr. & Mrs. Earl Prentice

Jane (Jennie) Pearce Marett

Robert Weir M.P.,  Minister of Agriculture and former Marmora Public School teacher/principal in 1906-1907, attends Marmora fair 1934 Click here for full biography

Mr. & Mrs. Prentice in later years

Be sure to roll your mouse over the photo for information

April 21, 1915     Public School Burned

Marmora Herald,  April 22, 1915    

  "Another very serious fire occurred yesterday afternoon resulting in the destruction of Marmora's fine eight room school. The alarm was sounded about 2 p.m. and a crowd quickly gathered but nothing could be done to prevent the spread of the flames. It is not known how the fire started, but it was in the basement. There was no fire in the furnace at the time and when first discovered by one of the younger pupils a pile of edgings was in flames. He ran up and notified Mr. Haig, Principal of the school, who after a hasty investigation sounded the fire gong. He then went to his room and told the pupils he guessed they would have a little fire drill and all marched out in perfect order, almost before they realized what was wrong. The other rooms were quickly vacated but not without a good deal of excitement. Most of them left their books and some their coats and hats.

The fire burned slowly in its early stages and it was aggravating to have to stand back and see it burn without any possibility of checking the blaze. Dense volumes of heavy black smoke poured from the windows and doors. Once the flames got into the main part of the building it spread rapidly and every particle of woodwork was soon a mass of flames. Once the roof caught cinders were carried to the west and north and a lot of other places were threatened.

Additional note: In 1920, all public school records were lost in a fire at the Pearce Mills, where they were stored. The Marmora Herald, in describing the Pearce company fire wrote: "Nothing was saved from the office or any of the other buildings. A great deal of valuable data in regards to the various limits of the Company, all their correspondence and sales records covering years of business and many other valuable papers were lost. The only thing saved was the books and papers in the safe. The books and records of the public and continuation schools were also destroyed."


The Methodist church and the sheds and stables had their roofs started several times. St. Paul's also had a narrow escape, and all the houses on both sides of the street were only saved by hard work. The white hall was also on fire in several places and the houses occupied by Mr. W. H. Hubbell and Mr. Jos. Brock also caught fire but fortunately all were extinguished before any serious damage was done.

There was a pile of nearly fifty cords of wood lying close to the school, but this was thrown back several feet and as the wood was green it was kept from burning.
A telephone call was sent to Deloro and they rushed in about 900 feet of fire hose, but even that was not sufficient to reach the fire. The distance is also greater than the pump at the Pearce Company's mill will force water to any advantage.
The value of the building, together with the .'furniture and equipment would be about $15,000. and there is $7,500. insurance. It may be possible a considerable part of the bricks may be used again which will reduce the loss a considerable amount. This is one of the losses that could have been prevented by adequate fire protection. The Council should certainly have the support of every citizen in the steps which are at present being taken to provide up to date and efficient protection. Whatever plan is decided on will likely go into effect at an early date."

                         * * * * * * * * * * *

Right after the fire,  the Marmora Herald reported " 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

In 1915 the original structure (see above ) burned and this building was constructed from the remains of the first floor. Note school bell and large chimney. Photo taken before extension built.

Marmora Public School with clergy





1927 Teacher dies of Meningitis


Staff in Sept. 1921 - C.S. Haig - Principal,  Miss Waddell of Sombra, Miss Ruth Wannamaker of Havelock andMiss Riddle of St. Catherines


Staff in 1934-35 - E.C. Prentice Principal,  Hilda Thomson,  Gertrude Lumsden and Mr. Mumby.


Oct. 22, 1924 Rm 2

1932 Norma McInroy Mason (left end of 2nd row) Tom Pearce (2nd from the right front row).

1942 Primary class

1944 Grades 7 & 8

Marmora Public School - GR 7 & 8

Back row, l-r: Murray Walker, Doug Vilneff, Glen Derry, Claude Trumble, Maurice McFall, Kenny Reynolds, Joe Young, ?, Bernard Lloyd

2nd from back l-r: Doreen McGarvey, Marilyn Sproul, ?, Ella Tandy, Arlene Aunger, Doris Tandy, Betty Harris, Lorna Empey, Lois Bedore

3rd from back l-r: ?, Jean Mumby, Phyllis Hickey, Barbara Ann Smith, Barbara Dixon, Eileen Young, Shirley Renney, Josephine Inkster, Nina Reynolds, Mona Archer
1st row, l-r: Donnie Davidson, Don Leonard, Bill Jones, Jim Hickey, Jim Dixon, Wayne Grant, Ron Henry

1948                                                             1949


Lew Barker :  I went to school there to Grade 7, then to Earl Prentice for Grade 8.   Earl Prentice in his final year was my Grade 8 teacher and also had taught my mother many years before. (Sadly he passed away just after that year end in July).  I remember Mom saying he had quite a temper when he was younger. Apparently he roughed up my Uncle Vern pretty good one time.  My memories of Earl include the black boots he always wore and his grey suit complete with suspenders! I did see Mrs Prentice over the years as she attended the same church as my wife's family in Belleville.  

Glen Watson was our Grade 7 teacher. He and I got off on the wrong foot in the beginning and I sure didn't like him but the world being a funny strange place I wound up cutting his grass for a few years.  Glen became a School Inspector after leaving Marmora, sadly he passed away with cancer at fairly young age ( forties I believe).

Annmarie Willman-Spry:   EC Prentice was principal when Mom went there in the 1920's. He tortured her & other students if they had a disability of any sort.

Graham Bell : I spent Grades 4-8 there. Ken Gillies was Principal and Gr. 8 teacher.....excellent teacher and fine man.


Marmora Public School 1953-54 Grade 2

Back row left to right...?, ?, ?, Jane Neal, Joanne Nichol, Harry Wright, Dennis Gray, ?, Rick Embelton, Garry Warren...middle row...Don Martin, Harry Keating, Shirley Provost, Carolyn Falls, Sharon Steenburg, Judy Barnum ?, Shirley VanSickle, Miss Taft, ?, Sandra Gray, Doris McFarlin, Dianne Bell, Joan Lummiss, ?, Ed McGarvey...front row ?, Bill VanSickle, ?, ?, Benny Ellis, Bert Booth, Elgin Kelsh, Brian Gray, Doug Nicolson, Shep, Dennis Stone.

OPENING OF EARL PRENTICE SCHOOL 1958                                         

        GRADE 8   EARL PRENTICE     1958

back row..l to r...Jane Neal, Pansy Lucas, Joan Lummiss, Diane Bell, Sandra Gray, Janice Johnson, Audrey Coens, Shirley Provost, Barb Revoy, Leona Vesterfelt, Joanne Nichol, Shirley Derry, Diane Neal, Evelyn Jenkins, Shirley Oinkle, Betty Johnson, Tony Galloway, Alan Grant, Rick Embleton(d.2012), Fernanda Gawley,     Carol Phillips,    Jim Goodchild,Wayne Smith(?,) Wayne VanVolkenburg, Jim Deline, Bill Marett, Doug Howden, Brian Gray, Bob Jenkins, Bob Smith, Glenn Mawer and John Herman 

Grade 7 Marmora Public School ...1959

Top Row: Norm McFarlane, Gary Martin, Bill Jennings, Bill Vansickle, Dale Walker, Peter Pearce, Stephen Binch, Ron Gray Row 2: John Shatford, Doris McFarlane, Sharon Derry, Linda Glover, Pam Armstrong, Donna Smith, Joy, Neal, Lew Barker Row 3: Ed McGarvey, Bill Goddard, Linda Lou Parkin, Sharon Steenburg, Gloria Nobes, Mona Smith, Wayne Potts Row 4; Larry Neal, Rick Emery, Joyce McCaw, Judy Barnum, Shirley Vansickle, Irene Phillips, Doug Nicholson, Dennis Gray Bottom Row: Betty Gray, Mrs. Chard Mrs. Spry, Mr. Watson, Ida Carol, Gray , Iva Stone, Carol Steenburgh


Marmora Public School grade 5 ...Molly Chard teacher....bottom row Philip Sopha; Bill Deline; Wayne Lowery; Judy Gray; Rick Embury; Gary Cole; Terry Tandy second row Jim Cuddy; Lou Wilson; Donna Nicolson; Dawn Mawer; Linda Smith; Judy Nobes; Blain Gray, Milton Fluke third row Garry Warren; Robert Shaw; Cheryle Leonard; Karen Nobes; Terry Davidson; Jim Nobes forth row Walter Gollick; Eugene Nobes; Rita Gray; Florence Ellis; Gail Gray; Linda Eaton; Clinton McGinnis; Gary Smith top row Patti Sopha; Carol Stewart; Sandra McCaw; Judy Grant; Carol Warren; Sheila Galloway

Jean Shannon at 85

Earl Prentice School 1977. 

Donald Pearce Marett was chairman of the board of the building committee for Earl Prentice School

Mr. John Miller 1980-81

Mrs. Shirley Hay 1980-81

Janet Lunn, Secretary

Stewart Hardy, Gerry Nobes Jason Nicholson,Toni Bowen, Jason Derry, unknown beside Jason Derry’s head, Heather Thompson, Sherry Ellis.

1979 Gr. 4 visit to Lang Village - Lisa Finch, Stanley Laton, Reilly Wilkes, Kathy Brown, Rozanne Spencer, Michelle Mumby, Brenda Wilman, Mela Ralph, Janice Mawer & Robbie Cooper



Earl Prentice Rodney Tompkins & Stephanie Partridge. Date? c1985?

Ballet at Earl Prentice - Quinte Dance Centre



Constable McLean visit, 1989-90 — with Brian Coe, Chris Heath, Jessica Moore, Krissy Kriss, Michelle Lynn Geen, Shannon Carlie, Brandon Tapper and Shelly Seaboyer.


1993-Grade 4


The following are undated.....Can you help us out?  Can you name the students.  Contact us.