(If you reach the bottom of the page,  hit "Next".  There's more!)

The Sad Thomson Stories of 1937

Dr. David Thomson was one of Marmora’s doctors, practising from 1910 to 1933. His family included his wife, Mary, daughters, Hilda and Jean, and son, Jim. They lived in a yellow brick house on the south-east corner of #14 and #7, where our post office now sits. As a prominent member of the Village, and living in a beautiful home at the very centre of town, life seemed perfect for the doctor.

But 1937 was a year of darkness for the family. In November, the shocking news was released that his brother’s grave had been robbed. But that was nothing compared to December’s news that his daughter, HIlda had been found dead from exposure, in what appeared to be a suicide.

Nov. 11, 1937

Nov. 11, 1937

Dr. David Thomson, Hilda and mother, Mary, Mary Thomson, Daughter, Jean Dr. Thomson and son, Jim

News from the Train Station

The Marmora Railway Station, named Wolfe Station after Richard Wolfe who was murdered close by, was opened in July of 1883, hosting the arrivals and departures of passengers and cargo to and from Belleville and then Coe Hill. By 1907, passengers were able to ride all the way to Bancroft. The man to sell you your ticket at that time was David Ernest Bell, the station master there for thirty years. The following is an article from the Marmora Herald, sent to us by Wilma Bush, with photos from his family.

David Ernest Bell 1926-27.jpg

From the Marmora Herald - 1936

Mr. D. Ernest Bell, agent at Marmora Station for the past 30 years, has been appointed agent at CN Railway Station in Peterborough.

When Mr. Bell came to Marmora the station belonged to the Central Ontario Railway, which extended from Picton to Bancroft and Coe Hill.  Later the COR became part of the Canadian Northern Railway system and then the Grand Trunk, Grand Trunk Pacific, Canadian Northern and various other lines were amalgamated to form the CNR.  Mr. Bell remained in charge of the station.

    Marmora Station has been one of the most profitable stations outside of large towns or cities owing to Deloro Smelting & Refining Co.  Mr. Bell has been a highly competent official - has had the confidence of fellow employees by the fact he has been chosen as chairman of the Divisional Railway Telegraphers Association for a number of years.  

  Mr. Bell will be greatly missed as a citizen of Marmora Village.  He has served as a member of Council for quite a number of years.  At the recent election he was elected Reeve for 1936.  Mr. Bell also acted as Village auditor for a number of years. .

Mr. and Mrs. (Helena) Bell will both be greatly missed by St. Andrew’s United Church.  Mr. Bell has been secretary of the Official Board for many years.  Mrs. Bell has been a member of the choir and officer of the Women’s Association.  Mr. Bell has held various offices in the Masonic Lodge being secretary for many years.  He was President of the Booster Club and has been connected with nearly every movement for the welfare of the Village, including the Public Library of which he was chairman of the Board.

Mrs Bell has been an officer in the Women’s Institute and helped in other organizations.  Both will be greatly missed.

Mr. & Mrs. Bell had one child, Lorraine Hendershot. Lorraine & her husband Bill had one daughter, Carol and one son , John.

1898 Child Murder in Marmora

(Toronto star photo) Despite its promising beginnings, the Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women in Toronto would become the centre of controversy with allegations of torture, beatings, experimental drugs, and medical procedures, all in the name of reform. Closed in 1969 , the site where the old reformatory existed is now the Alan Lamport Stadium. All that structurally remains from the original site is the superintendent's house at the corner of King Street and Fraser Ave. (Wikipedia)

The case of Helen Darrach of Marmora, who was accused of child murder, came up at the assizes on Sept. the 28th. From the evidence it appears that the girl was in the employ of John Terrion who lives near Marmora and that on May 24 last she gave birth to a child of whose murder she stood accused. .Mr. and Mrs. Terrion gave evidence as to the circumstances surrounding the birth, and as to the finding of the infant’s body and the subsequent proceedings. Dr. Sutton of Madoc was called in as coroner and held an investigation at which Drs. Jones and MacKechnie of Marmora held a post-mortem examination. They tried what is known as the hydrostatic test on the body to see if the child had lived after birth. On this test in which the child's lungs are said to have floated, rested the charge. The body showed marks of violence about the neck and the mouth was full of excrement.

Mr. W. J. Camon, who defended the prisoner, cross-examined Drs. Jones and Sutton carefully and did not  put in any defence. On the former's cross-examination he did not positively swear as to the fact of life having been present at birth. Hon. Chancellor Boyd addressed the jury and advised them to dismiss the charge of murder and find the girl guilty of desertion and failure to provide for her offspring, and concealment of birth, The jury did so without leaving their seats and the chancellor gave the unfortunate young woman a very kindly lecture and sentenced her to two years in Central prison. (That was the Andrew Mercer Reformatory for women) The crime was evidently the result of gross ignorance as the unfortunate woman is almost wholly illiterate. The despicable scamp who was the cause of her downfall is said to be a business man in the village of Marmora Belleville Sun. and North Hastings Review Oct. 1898,

The view of the Reformatory location now - Lamport Stadium


In April of 1919, the Great War Veterans Association of Marmora had purchased a motion picture machine that was considered the latest and the greatest. (See here). Silent movies were all the rage, with regular weekly viewing at the Town Hall for only 25 cents.

But by 1929 a new threat lurked outside the village……..

Movies, Talkies 1929.jpg

MOVIES - 1937-1944

Grand Opening - December 1959


The new dance hall and banquet room in connection with Marmora Heights Restaurant will have its grand opening tomorrow evening, Dec. 18th.The hall has been named the Relm Club and will cater to banquets, dances and other special events.

The new building has been erected by Mr. Russ. Jarvis at the west side of Marmora Heights Restaurant and Mr. Jarvis has spared no expense in providing the finest accommodation in the area.

The new addition is 40 ft. wide and 105 ft. long and is of  cement block construction  with a flat roof.

The interior  is finished with stained and varnished plywood walls, ten-test ceiling and a beautiful hardwood floor.  A stage is set at the extreme  west end, raised above the floor level and lighted with rose and green colored lights which can be varied to provide different effects and .gives a very attractive setting for the orchestra.

There rare recessed lights in two rows in the ceiling,  the length at the building and coloured spot lights in sets down the centre.   Fluorescent tube lights are fastened at intervals along each wall.

At the east end next  to the restaurant,  there is an attractive lobby, a cloakroom and washrooms for ladies and gentlemen, complete with modern fittings.

The kitchen in the restaurant part has been increased in size and will now extend the full length of the restaurant taking in the room formerly used for displaying novelties and fishing tackle and being connected with the new room.

Pink & black - like this?

Attractive new tables and chairs  have been secured, the tables having a pink arborite top and black wrougt iron legs, and the chairs are of a type that can be conveniently stacked when not required. It is estimated that they can accommodate about 300 people at one time.

Mr. Jarvis has arranged for the Modernairs Orchestra to provide the music for the opening night and dancing will be enjoyed from 9 p.m. to 1.00 a.m. Admittance will be restricted to couples only at this dance,



Hot Time in the Old Times!

In August of 1922,  Alfred T. Neal,  proprietor of the Royal Hotel, purchased from Judge James Parker  a strip of land at Crowe Lake,  including the beach and the "Marble Rock"  now known as Marble Point. By April of 1923 he had started construction of a dancing Pavilion,  complete with  a 50 by 30 foot hardwood  dance floor,  a Delco lighting system and dressing rooms for bathers below.  It was known as  the MARBLE CLIFF PAVILION.

The music for the dancing was furnished by the Myers Orchestra of Toronto,  who were so popular they were contracted for the whole season. Wynn Myers was the conductor and violinist; his brother, H. Myers, pianist, and Fred Boland, drummer. Besides the week night dances,  a concert is given in the pavilion every Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock and it is nothing unusual to house over 300 guests at these affairs. Many of the guests at the hotel are lodged in cottages owned by Mr. Neal and situated in a beautiful grove on a high hill overlooking the lake.

As badluck would have it, however,  the Pavilion burned down less than two years later.  Due to popular demand,  it was rebuilt and became known as MARBLE POINT LODGE.  (Now privately owned.)


The Pearce Company Ablaze

When walking down by the Marmora dam today and passiing the many different relics of days gone by,  one can't help feel the ghostly presence of the hive of activity that once existed there.  Most of the ruins visible today are the left overs of the Pearce Company dynasty,  started in 1873 to mill  and sell everything from lumber to gold.

Click on photos for larger view

But while the sky seemed the limit,  the Pearce family was soon to learn how quickly all can be wiped out by fire.   On May 18, 1905,  the Herald described the fire that wiped out a section of Main street,  from Reginald Street to Madoc Street.

 "The fine 'Arcade" Block', containing several stores, the "Herald" printing office, and upstairs offices, was totally destroyed, entailing heavy loss to the occupants. J. W. Pearce, M.P.P., occupied the largest premises in the block, with a large general store and he will be a heavy loser. 

Then again,  On August 20th, 1920,  the Pearce Company's office,  planing mill,  dry kiln and two long sheds containing a considerable quantity of lumber were totally destroyed....."  Because of that event,  all company books prior to 1920 were lost,  as were the public and cotinuation school records.

With hardly enough time to recover from that disaster,  in September of 1921 the alarm rang out a third time for the Pearces,  this time with a massive fire that would destroy the woollen mill, the old electrical plant and the stables.  When the firehose was discovered to be deliberately slit,  the village requested an investigation and offered a reward of $200.00  to find the arsonist,  and within two weeks,  William Bayett was arrested.

             JUST CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT                                     THE PEARCES AND THEIR DYNASTY



In the perfect little community of Deloro in the early 1900's,  crime existed as in any little community,  however,  Deloro had the added enticement of carloads of silver being shipped out on a daily basis. In 1909 William Kevz from Finland seems to have been running a second career with Deloro silver.  (see left).   On February 10, 1910,  the Marmora Herald wrote,  "It is alleged that Deloro Works have been systematically robbed for some time. Three arrests have already been made and a considerable quantity of refined silver and silver ore have been found. The Crown is taking active measures to protect the property of the Company."

A foreigner, who went by the names of Hill and also Lappe, came up before Judge Deroche on Wednesday of last week for stealing a quantity of silver from Deloro Mining & Reduction Company. He was sentenced to the Provincial Reformatory for two years less a day.
February 3, 1916

In Sept  1918,  William Hymen and Joseph O'Brien of Montreal,  employees at Deloro, spent a night in the cells of the Marmora Town Hall,  charged with stealing silver.  They pleaded guilty in front of Magistrates B.C. Hubbel and William Bonter,  but claimed they only wanted a little bit as "souvenirs".  As their fine and costs amounted to more than the combined resources of the two,  it was agreed they might go and find a new job somewhere else.  They were 16 and 17 years old. 

Silver was not the only motive for theft, however.  In March of 1911, Frank Gunyar,  an employee in Deloro  (formerly working for the Pearce Lumber Co.)  stole $50.00 from a foreign workman there and enjoyed 30  days in the County jail.  In February of 1917,  an employee of the company stood before Magistrates H.R. Pearce and B.C. Hubbell on a charge of stealing a quantity of Stelllite.  Found guilty,  he was fined $5.00 & costs,  plus the value of the stolen material,  worth less than $10.00.

But our favourite act of deceit was performed by H.H. Duquette,  who,  having borrowed a suit from Harold Bartlett,   a Deloro  employee,  liked it so much,  he didn't give it back.  He was arrested in Springbrook,  and  brought back to Marmora,  where he was committed to Belleville jail to await a trial!  We never found out what became of Monsieur Duquette,  but we now know they are tough in Deloro when it comes to stealing their clothes!

Bad luck at the Free Methodist Church


On the closing of  St. Andrew's Presbyterian church  in 1923, the remaining members of the congregation attended· the Marmora Methodist Church.  In 1925 "The Little Church on the Hill" was sold to the members of the Free Methodist Church.  But in 1958 bad luck struck and the Free Methodists were forced to tear the building down.



Aug. 8, 1938 - Marmora Song To Be On Radio

William John Cottrell was a popular man about town in Marmora,  in the 1930's to the 1960's.  He arrived from England as a young man,    working in the silver plant of the Deloro Smelting and Refining Co..  There   he found time to be a local news reporter for the Toronto Telegram,  the Peterborough Examiner,  Marmora Herald  and the Belleville Intelligencer.  He was a story teller,  a lecturer,   a writer and historian. He served in WW1 and was a Legion member,   His community service involved  lay reading at  St. Paul's Anglican Church,   choir membership, and writing the history of the church.   He was enrolled  in the Masons,  the Orange Lodge,   and the Order of the Odd Fellows.  However,   according to an article in the Marmora Herald on August 8, 1938,  he was also a song-writer:


 "Contented Valley, the first song written in Marmora to be heard on a broadcast, is to be included in the initial program of "Songs of Canada" the Canadian Song Writer's own program to be heard over CKOC on Monday, Sept. 12th, at 8 P.M. The vocalist will be Howard Jerome, organist of Trinity Baptist Church, Hamilton.........................

.................................. The author of "Contented Valley" is W. J. Cottrell and the composer is Charles Wellinger.*   Owing to difficulty experienced in this district in getting CKOC, Mr. Wellinger is endeavouring to arrange for "Contented Valley" to be sung over CFRB in which event, due notice will be given residents."

Mr. Cottrell died in the Queensborough Nursing Home on on Sept. 4, 1968,  where he had lived for the last 15 years of his life.  In the future,  we hope to share some of his stories.  Stay tuned.

*Charles Wellinger was a well known Canadian writer of Ragtime music, living in Toronto.

On November 9, 2018, Coralie Fountain wrote:

I am W.J. Cottrell’s grandaughter. My mum was his daughter Ruth. I had a sister and brother, who unfortunately are both dead . I was so chuffed to find this as I did not know a great deal about him . I was wondering if you could send me a copy of the Contented Valley and any other information you may have .It was so nice to know he was so well respected by the people of Marmora.

Left - Dec. 2018 - The Marmora Historical Foundation found a second example of Cottrell’s sheet music, again with words by W.J. Cottrell.


March 9, 1967

Six Year Old David Deering regained consciousness last Friday evening after five days in a coma. David was injured when struck by a car while sleigh riding on the road through Deloro. The youngster was rushed to Belleville where he underwent an emergency operation and then was moved to Kingston where several more operations were performed to save this six year old's life. The injuries suffered by Dave were a fractured skull, bruised section of the brain, broken hip and many less severe cuts and abrasions. A great load was lifted from the inhabitants
of Deloro when word was received that David was off the critical list and had been moved to the pediatrics section of the Hotel Dieu Hospital.




Zion schoolhouse, a Marmora Township landmark since it was built In 1913 (ed. 1903?)  and now the summer home of Mr. and MS. Grenville Lunau of Toronto, was struck by  lightning during a violent electrical storm about 3:00 o'clock Monday afternoon, and completely destroyed by the ensuing fire.

The smoke was first noticed by Jim Young, Doug Carman, and Don Tompkins who were working on the new home of Mr.  and Mrs. Dalton Vilneff, a quarter of a mile away. Mr. Young went to investigate then hurriedly returned for the other two men and they removed the oil tank. They also rescued the family's dog which had been shut in while Mr.  and Mrs. Lunau and their two sons were in Belleville for the day. With the help of Morris VainVoikenburg, who was driving by with his wife, the men managed to save some furniture.

 Mrs. Dalton Vilneflf tried to phone for  the Fire Department from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hedley but their phone was out of order due  to the storm and  Mrs. Vilneif was forced to drive a mile to the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Snider.

Marmora's Voluntary Fire Department responded to the call at 4:05 and fought the blaze until their water supply ran out They were able to refill the tank at a nearby stream but the fire was too well advanced and finally they concentrated on keeping the oil tank from exploding.. The flames and smoke rose to a great height and the heat could be felt across the road.

Mr. and Mrs. Lunau purchased  the old schoolhouse five years ago and had made extensive renovations to the interior, intending to retire there in future. In the meantime,  the family spent holidays and. weekends there and were enjoying a week's vacation when the fire took place..

The house and contents were only partially covered by insurance and represent a: great loss to Mr. and Mrs. Lunau  who collect and restore antiques for sale. They also lost clothing and a minibike belonging to one of their sons.

For the complete details on our schools,  click here.

zION SCHOOL 1903  Ella Faulkner -teacher - Clayton Curtis, J. Wright, W.Sharp, Mabel Bailey,  Hazel McMullen,  Clifford Chard, Myrtle Sharp, Elda Janson, Evelyn Eggleton, Flossie Bailey, Martha Pounder, Percy MacMullen, Iva Maybee, Claude Scott,  Selbourne Sharp, Edith Curtis,  Ella Cummings, Vera Sharp,  Meryl Cummings, Liza Sharp, Myrtle MacMullen, Twins Ida and Ila Sharp, Melville and Melbourne Sharpe,  Percy Lawrence, L. Rupert, Serge Johnson, Roy Scott,   B. Sharp, Clifford Maybee,  Floyd Garrison,  Ernst Curtis, Clarence Maybee

1956 Male Beauty Pageant?

Not exactly,  but all these men  do have something in common.  They were all professional wrestlers who performed  in  the Marmora arena in 1956,  sponsored by the Marmora-Deloro Kiwanis Club!  

Abe_Zvonkin    NYC and Hamilton

Bill Stack The Pride of Bowmanville

Don Curtis  & Mark Lewin Jacksonville Fl.

Don Curtis  & Mark Lewin Jacksonville Fl.

Karl von Schober  of Minnesota

PatOConnor, New Zealand

PatOConnor, New Zealand


                                  For more on Marmora Sports,  click here.


On Jan. 18,  1917,  the Marmora Herald wrote a two liner  regarding the great opportunity of obtaining  cheap  grain for feed,  almost as if embarrassed of the circumstances that lay behind the true story.

"A number of the farmers in the vicinity are taking advantage of the opportunity to get a number of carloads of cheap grain from the Quaker Oats Plant at Peterborough,  which was destroyed by fire some time ago.  Some of the grain makes excellent feed."

The "fire" referred to was a devastating explosion and the worst in Peterborough's history,  only five weeks  previous on Dec. 11, 2016.

"A massive explosion and resulting fire levels the Quaker Oats plant in Peterborough, Ontario. In the wake of the disaster, 22 workers are dead—two more would later die as a result of their injuries—with the total damage set at a then unfathomable $2,250,000, not including an estimated $225,000 damage to neighbouring structures. "  

According to Gordon  Young, who wrote the book, 'A Dark Day In Peterborough: A Time To Remember December 11, 1916,     the blaze was "monumental" in the city's history. It put about 500 people out of work who had been busy on three eight-hour shifts daily making food to feed the First World War effort overseas, thanks to a variety of contracts the company held.

The fire is believed to have broken out in Building 11 before spreading to the boiler room, causing an explosion so massive blocks from the structure were thrown across the river. It burned for four days and when it was put out, most of the factory was in ruins.

For an excellent video visit

PS    If you see a resemblance in the architectural styling for these buildings to those of the General Electric Factory , you would be correct. The early 20th century architect for both factory complexes was George Martel Miller, a prolific architectural craftsman. Miller was born in Port Hope in 1855, started working as an architect in 1880 in Toronto, and before he died in 1933 had numerous high profile residential, ecclesiastical, industrial, institutional, and commercial works under his belt, including the Lillian Massey Building,  Toronto's Gladstone Hotel,  Wycliffe College, and the iconic Massey Music Hall in Toronto.  Closer to home,  his work including the Hastings County House of Refuge,  the Tweed Methodist Church,  and some mansions in Belleville. 




When reading old newspapers,  you might find the language to be over-flowery and the fashion ads may seem amusing,  but one thing that does not change is the reference to crime.  Fraud,  assault,  embezzelment,  break and enter,  theft,   and even murder are a common thread throughout the  decades of the  old crumbling publications.

The 1914 Herald mentions the crime of three young ladies "corrupting our youths"  in a house of ill-repute  they kept together.  1915 saw offenders of the "forbidden list" making reference to alcohol.

During WW1,  in 1916, a very unpatriotic crime of fraud was committed by a young lady at the Marmora Fair (see right),   while 1917 saw drug related charges and even a charge of family desertion.

Fraudulent cheques, arson,  shoot ups, a grave robbery  and even a tar and feathering.    Marmora has seen it all.

But perhaps one of the most colourful characters of wayward activity was Isaac Sellyeh,  known and appreciated for his skill of escape,  not just from the hands of the law in Marmora,  but from the Peterborough jail and that of Kingston.

Read more about Isaac's shenanigans.  CLICK HERE and  scroll down to the lower half of the page.

                           You'll also find more on crime if you CLICK HERE



While Sandford Lawrence was reputed to be the best woodsman & trapper around,  he was also well respected as a fishing guide well worth the money.  But he was not alone in this endeavour. Also much appreciated by tourists in the area, especially the regular Americans that frequented Crowe Lake were Willie Revoy,  Alphonse Shannon,  Percy Gray Sr., and Percy Cooper.


For memories of Sandford Lawrence at Marble Point Lodge,  by Ralph Neal,  just click here.



While  documents  indicating mining activity in Deloro can be traced back to 1868 with the Severn Mine (Pearce Mine),  it seems life in Deloro 100 years ago was  an action packed going concern.

1916 saw a change in the name of the company from Deloro Mining and Reduction Company to Deloro Smelting and Refining Company.  By the following year,   the company, supporting the war effort with stellite,   employed 400 men in a series of plants destined to irretrievably pollute the stretch of the Moira River they sat along,  while manufacturing refined silver,  refined arsenic,  Cobalt oxide,  metallic cobalt,  nickel oxide and stellite.

The company was turning into a company town with company houses,  a new school,  an orchestra,  a company bus,  a  company  trading store and even a company thief!

"Extensive building operations are now under way by the Deloro Mining & Reduction Co.   Curran and Clement have a contract for the erection of six double houses,  a store and a new school.  The buildings will be constructed of cement blocks.  The company is also installing a sprinkling system for fire protection." 

Marmora Herald,  June 15, 1916

"A foreigner, who went by the names of Hill and also Lappe, came up before Judge Deroche on Wednesday of last week for stealing a quantity of silver from Deloro Mining & Reduction Company. He was sentenced to the Provincial Reformatory for two years less a day."    
February 3, 1916

On February 18, 1916,  the Marmora Herald reported:  

" On Tuesday night the general store at Delora, operated by P.J. Gillen & Son was totally destroyed by fire. The origin of the fire is unknown.


It was 1926 when Mr. James Marrin proudly advertised his disposable containers for ice cream,  purchased from the "Individual Sanitary Service" Company and sold out of his drug store at 4 Forsyth Street.

The birth of the Dixie Cup!

Individual Sanitary Service, Inc. (I.S.S.), the company from which Individual Food Service developed, was created in 1926 by Morris Supowitz as a specialty janitorial and paper products supplier to doctors’ offices throughout downtown Los Angeles. Several years after its inception, I.S.S. began to carry and distribute a new, revolutionary, disposable product, which later came to be known as the “Dixie cup.” I.S.S.’s forward-thinking came at the cusp of the emergence of a brand new market‚ food service to-go. With the help of his sons, Perrin and David, Morris Supowitz took advantage of this rising new market and began putting all of the company’s efforts into this new endeavor. Supowitz predicted that the company would profit far greater in the food service industry than as a product supplier to doctors and dentists‚ he was correct!

Well,  he got that right!

For more on Mr. Marrin,  and all the history of 4 Forsyth Street,