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Malone Treasure Finds Its way Home.....

Thanks to the thoughtfulness and kindness of Sandra Cain of Kanata, Ontario, a piece of Malone history has returned home, giving us some insight into years gone by. With the Malone school (SS6) accounting book in our hands, we are able to piece together some more details of life in the classroom in the early 1900s.

Sandra Cain writes:

”A couple of years ago my husband and I stopped in at an “antique” shop somewhere along Hwy 7, where, I can not remember. This book was in a pile of books in a wicker basket on the floor and I believe I bought it for about $ 5.00. I was drawn to it because it is an old ledger book and I am an accountant so it was interesting to see how the school’s accounting was done a hundred years ago.

 Last weekend I was showing the book to an accountant friend of mine and she was quit taken with it. She commented that it should really be in a museum. She asked if I knew which SS#6 it was for and I said I did not, so we started looking online. She suggested it may be Middleville, and I liked that idea because Middleville is not to far from where I live.

 After she left I started doing more serious research and I started looking through the pages more thoroughly and I was able to find a receipt (see photo below) and the one page which actually says “ RR#6 Marmora”, and then I found your website, read about the school and decided that the book should belong to the historical society. I see that you have one ledger already, wouldn’t it be exciting if you managed to get all of them? “

A quick review of the pages reveals some of the school improvements and local tradesmen hired.

1907 - Fred Arthur for fencing, shingling, closets and a flagpole, Bonters for lumber, and W Hughes for cement and nails, Pearces for doors, siding, sash and glass.

1912 - C. McCann for firewood and Wilfred Terrion for carrying in water. Men were hired to light the fire in the morning. Wages were set at $4.00 for the year in 1908, paid to Alex Nickle and F. Terrion. By 1942, that job earned $25.05 for the year, paid to Jackie Terrion and Fred Hill.

Cleaning, of course, was left to the only woman hired (other than teachers) who was Mrs. Fox, in 1918. School supplies included black polish for the wood stove, a Bible, the Evening Telegram, some seats in 1907, window shades in 1908, hat hooks, and, of course blackboards, chalk and paper.

The biggest expense was the teacher. In 1907, three teachers shared a total sum of $316.32, which was almost 54% of the total budget. By 1920, the cost of the teachers more than doubled to $734.79, being 60% of the income received from a Legislative Grant, a Township Grant and a local “Trustees’ Levy. In 1907 the school also earned $6.00 renting the school to the circus, $13.32 selling Christmas Trees and $17.75 from “Social Receipts”.

For more on Malone and its school, or to read the whole SS6 Cash book, JUST CLICK HERE.

A Little Research Helps a Lot.

Recently Al Grant donated this painting on buckskin, advising it was owned by Marmora’s famous Pearce family. We felt we had been given a fascinating item that needed preservation, so Wayne VanVolkenburg stretched the skin on a willow branch aided with some advice from the High Springs Saddlery just west of Marmora.

While the item offers little connection to Marmora, it offers a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of research in mystery solving. We handed the mystery to Elinor White of Marmora and this is her reply:

“As an amateur who has read up on North American Native Peoples since my early teens, I give you my best guess. In my estimation, the painting is a "romanticized" rendering of Red Cloud (Mahpiya Luta) - named for a flaming meteor at his birth), Oglala Lakota (often called Sioux). Born 1822, died December 10, 1909.

Red Cloud was a significant person in the history of the United States as the only leader to defeat the US Army in battle until Custer's defeat. The battle was called "Red Cloud's War" over the Bozeman Trail across his territory leading to the Montana gold mines. He never went to battle after that, negotiating instead for which he was awarded a medal from President, Ulysses S. Grant. He went to Washington on four separate occasions where he negotiated (and often refused to sign) treaties to keep territories. Red Cloud was often in delegations with Spotted Tail, Lone Horn, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull. Red Cloud was photographed first by Mathew Brady in Washington DC and by Edward S. Curtis. There are 128 known photos of Red Cloud, the most of any Native Leader. He has descendants still living in South Dakota

There are several issues with the painting that caused me to say the rendering was "romanticized".

  • the painting had to be done from a photograph or printed picture. in your painting, Red Cloud looks to be in his mid to late 50's. The buckskin background is too flexible and "new" to be over 140 years old if it was painted from life.

  • the blue buckskin jacket was probably painted blue to show against the same colour buckskin background. The Lakota sometimes decorated/painted blue and/or yellow designs - but nothing solid blue as the painting. They decorated extensively with bead.

  • the fringe tips are incorrect. Clothing worn during Red Cloud's time had either human or horse hair tips hanging down about 6 inches from the ends of the buckskin fringes.

  • Symbolism of the feather:

  • the feather in his hair with the painted cross and the blue vertical stripe was not done. The eagle feather was sacred and would not have been defaced.

  • Red Cloud converted and was baptized into the Catholic faith in 1884 when he was approximately 62 years old.

  • the tip in the painting shows a red fluff at the top. Lakota dyed hair red and fastened it to the tip of the feather to denote man's scalp lock as a war honour. In all the photos I was able to look up for Red Cloud, he never had a red hair tip on his eagle feather.

Other symbolism:

  • the white downy eagle feather hanging down is symbolic of mysterious forces. The continuous movement of the fine filaments of the feather suggests communication with higher powers, ideas which prevailed amongst the Lakota.

  • the breast plate is typical of Lakota as is the red "trade" cloth neck piece.

  • the Oglola Lakota wrapped their hair braids in Otter fur - which could be the fur shown down the lapel of the painting.

  • no idea on the blue lanyard”

Elinor White “Thank you, Elinor”

German Innovation at Its Best

Tara Sieg wrote to tell us this story:

My Oma and Opa (Grandmother and Grandfather), Gertrude and Felix Hainle, moved to Marmora in 1970 from Toronto (originally from Germany) and settled on an old Victorian farm. Opa needed a good vehicle to get around the Farm and couldn't afford a tractor so turned his 1963 VW Beetle into a 'jeep' of sorts! and then in 1981 made another Beetle double as a snow plough. He was innovative!

Their house on Station Road in Marmora turned it into a hub of friends and family where I grew up in the Summers meeting visitors from all over the world. Everyone worked hard to make 'the Farm' such a memorable place. Now Oma and Opa have passed and their ashes scattered at the Farm where my Uncle (Peter Hainle) continues the legacy. Opa was involved in Environmental and Outdoor pursuits and Oma was the best cook this side of Germany ;). Opa died in 1991 at 79 and Oma recently passed in 2016 at 95.



The Shannon Family in Seattle by Allison Fay-Ebert

Our story begins in 1864 when James Crawford, born 1837 in Marmora, left home to travel to the Pacific Northwest. After spending a few years in Portland, Oregon, where he worked in a hardware store, James and his future business partner, W.A. Harrington, moved up the coast to Seattle which was in its infancy, having been settled just 11 years earlier

James Crawford

1882 Crawford & Harrington.jpg

The two partners set up their business, Crawford and Harrington's, on the corner of Second and Jackson. It measured 30 feet by 30 feet and was stocked via ships from San Francisco which moored at the Crawford & Harrington Wharf at the foot of Washington Street. In addition to stocking general merchandise, they also became Insurance Agents and were Wholesale Liqueur Dealers.

About 1872 James contracted Consumption, TB, and sent for his niece, Anna Shannon daughter of his sister, Margaret Crawford and Daniel Shannon, to take care of him. By 1880 James realized his health was failing and sold his share of the business for more than $100,000.00, a staggering amount at that time. He died December 7th 1883.

Over the next few years, Anna's three brothers and one sister joined Anna in Seattle.

Patrick Crawford Shannon , born 1853 Marmora,, Son of Daniel Shannon & Margaret Crawford

Summit School Seattle built by Patrick Shannon.JPG

Patrick Crawford Shannon and uncle James Crawford

Patrick Shannon , my great grandfather, was born in Marmora in 1853. He was the son of Daniel Shannon & Margaret Crawford and was a carpenter by trade. He built four homes in Marmora including Jim & Ida Mae Shannon's home at 55 Madoc Street. In Seattle, he built many magnificent homes and the Spring Street School on Capitol Hill. Patrick and his wife, Mary Ellen Dempsey who was born in Belleville in 1858 had two daughters and two sons. Anna Leah was born in Marmora in 1887.She died tragically at the age of 14 in Seattle. Joseph Eugene was born in Marmora in 1889, had two sons and died in 2014 in Seattle.  Donald James was born in Marmora in 1891. He never had children and died in Los Angeles in 1935. Madeleine Sarah, my grandmother, was born in Seattle in 1896 and died in Seattle in 1963.
William Alexander Shannon born in Marmora in 1857 and died in Seattle in 1924 was an early physician in Seattle.
James Crawford Shannon was born in Marmora in 1859 and died in Seattle in 1926. He was also a physician.
Lastly, Frances or Fannie Shannon as she was known was born in Marmora in 1861 and died in Seattle in 1923. Fannie never married and made numerous trips back to Marmora to visit family and friends.
As a result of their immigration, there are hundreds of Shannon descendants in the Pacific Northwest and environs.

For more on this branch of the Shannon-Crawford family,


Margaret Crawford Shannon 1829-1890

Elizabeth Anne “Anna” Shannon Elliott 1855-1936.jpg








Brenda Brooks Thank you, James Dalton for this wonderful memory. I too still have my Bible which was issued in 1945, and also my brother Vic's which was issued in 1948. Most of my siblings, the Brooks children, also received the Bible, and for some of us it was given for perfect attendance. I really liked Mr. Dalton's version of "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,......" as the ending for me was ".....hold the horse while I get on......... Also I taught the lessons at Deloro Community Sunday School to the kindergarten class. Many good memories and blessings.

All the way from California

My name is Dorcas Lee Aunger. I live in Arcadia, California. I am the great-great-granddaughter of John Laskey Aunger (of Blairton) and his first wife, Catherine Stanbury. I am  a half-first cousin twice removed to Patricia “Pat” Aunger Solmes, who told The Aunger Family story. Pat is the Grand Daughter of John Laskey Aunger and his second wife, Mary Jane Merriam .

I have been researching our family history since 1948, when I was a teenager. I had heard my grandparents refer to family in Canada, but knew nothing about them, except  a family joke which said that my grandfather, George Stanbury Aunger (a grandson of John Laskey Aunger) had been smuggled into the USA under his mother’s apron.  Actually there was no smuggling. His mother was pregnant with him when his parents, Edward and Edith Aunger emigrated from Canada to the U.S.

George Stanbury Aunger and his wife, Emma Catherine Holland, lived in Los Angeles , California, Shortly after Emma died in 1963, George had a stroke and came to live with my parents. He died on 13 March 1966. In going through some of his papers, I found a letter he had started to write to his Uncle George in Marmora. I wrote a short note to “Uncle George”,  informing him of my grandfather’s death, and enclosed  in it the partially written letter.

George R. Aunger, Handy Store Madoc St....south side and a bit east of Victoria St.

“Uncle George” was George Reanfrey Aunger, who had a variety store in Marmora, a son of John Laskey Aunger.

It was about 4 months later that I got a reply to my letter, but not from “Uncle George”. It was from “Aunt” Mabel, the widow of his brother, William Richard Aunger. Mabel told me that George Reanfrey Aunger had passed away on 24 July 1966. I continued corresponding with Mabel, but after just a few letters she told me that her eyes were bad and she had trouble reading the letters. Would I please write to her daughter Pat Solmes.  I found that Pat was a kindred spirit and as interested in the family history as I. Thus began a long-distance collaboration, which still exists.

The home of Edward Stanbury, Sr., and Mary Jane Aunger

In 1982, my mother and I made a trip to Ontario and spent a week with Pat’s family. Pat took me to visit her mother and brother, and several family members of the older generations. We walked cemeteries together, and went to the local library to do more research. She took me to the home of Edward Stanbury, Sr., and Mary Jane Aunger. It was the second house built in  Northumberland County in 1832. It is still occupied as a private home today.

PS If you are interested in information on other descendants of John Laskey Aunger in later generations, who moved to other places.  I have been able to keep track of a great many of them, and are also in touch with the descendants of Anne Aunger and Catherine Aunger, the sisters of John Laskey Aunger's father.  These sisters, started the two branches of the Aunger family who went to South Australia and Victoria at the time of their goldrush and are still there today.  I also have John Laskey Aunger's ancestry going back seven generations in the Aunger line, eight generations in the Pearce line, eleven generations in the Pomeroy line and eleven generations in the Mutton line.  Much of Mary Jane Merriam's ancestry is the same as John Laskey Aunger's because they were first cousins one removed.  I can carry the Merriam line back 12 generations and the Stanbury line back 16 generations.  I will be happy to share any of that information if you are interested.


1812 Earhart (Airhart) Petition for Land Grant

The years around 1812 were unsettled times for Upper Canada. The Americans were looking to govern the whole North American continent, while the British, already feeling the wounds of losing their colonies on the continent’s east shores, were planning the strategies to hold on to their ground won from the French. One way was to reward those loyal to the Crown, the Loyalists, with grants of land, and then encourage more settlers and the next generation, with similar encouragement.

Just recently, while trying to confirm the Airhart family tree, Kevin Van Koughnett, sent us a Canada Archives copy of the Asahel Earhart’s (Airhart) document from Jan. 28, 1812 - a Petition asking for such a Land Grant in Adophustown, south of Napanee.


It reads:

To his Excellency Francis C. Gore ,  Provincial Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Upper Canada,  and ___in Council, The Petition of Asahel Earhart,  son of Adam Earhart of the Township of Fredericksburg,  a United Empire Loyalist

Most Humbly showeth That your Petitioner is the son of Adam Earhart of the Township of Fredericksburg,  a United Empire Loyalist,   that he has attained the full age of 21 years,  has taken the oath of Alligence (sic) as will appear by the  annexed certificate and has never had any Land or  Order for  Lands from the Crown, Wherefore your petitioner prays that your Excellency may be pleased to grant him two hundred acres of the vast Land of the Crown and permit Thomas Dorland  _____of Adolphustown to ___the  ___ and take out the Deed when completed and your Petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray.

Adolphustown 28th Jan. 1812                                Asahel   His X Mark    Earhart

Asahel Earhart maketh Oath and sayeth that he is the person he describes himself to be in the above Petition,  that attained the age of 21 years and has never received any Land or Order for Lands from the Crown. Sworn before me  in a General Quarter Sessions   Of the Peace of the Midland District In the Court House of Adolphustown    This 28th day of January 1812 Alec Fisher Chairman  (Same oath sworn by Henry Bartley by his mark)

Thomas Dorland, mentioned here, was a Captain of a company of militia in the war of 1812.



At the age of 90, Florence Beatrice Lee Steenburgh told her story to Nancy Derrer of the Marmora Herald - a story of migration in search of work, the struggle to make ends meet and the final settling in the Marmora area.

Her father was Fred Lee, known in Marmora for his harness business and shoe repair.It has been reported he was originally located in the Pearce Arcade on Main Street. The Arcade burnt down in May of 1905, when it appears Mr. Lee relocated to the Bleecker Building (later known as Embers Restaurant, and now replaced with the new Bleeckers Residence). Then, in 1907 the Marmora Herald wrote that F.N. Marett and Josiah Pearce bought the Bleecker Building, which may have been the reason the Lees moved out west at that time.

"Dad was a bit of a rambler," mused Beatrice Lee Steenburgh, from her comfortable private room at Caressant Care. She was born in Northern Alberta in 1910, where the family had been homesteading.

"The British government was encouraging people to "Go West", so my parents headed to northern Alberta. They had a little son who took sick and died on the train. They stopped the train; the baby was buried and my parents had to go on and leave him there."

In 1910, shortly after Beatrice was born, the family moved on to Oregon to farm. Beatrice recalled Oregon fondly but never had the opportunity to return for a visit. When she was nine, the family returned to Canada by train, to the Madoc Township farm of Beatrice's fraternal grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. George Lee .

"After two years in Madoc, Fred and his wife, Frances Shaw (from Eldorado) and, by then three daughters, moved to Marmora, where Fred returned to his harness business, ". The Marmora Herald reported that, from 1921 to 1937, he ran his shop out of the south half of the Green Block, now the site of the Nickle's Drug Store parking lot, and then in 1946, he is again reported to be running his business back in the Bleecker Building.

Beatrice, the middle daughter, attended elementary and high school in Marmora, graduating at age 16. There were no thoughts of further schooling, so Beatrice went to work in Gladney's General Store in 1926. In 1930, she moved to Peterborough and took a factory job with General Electric.

"I had to go in hospital for an appendectomy," she reports, "and when I came out and was able to go back to work, we were deep in the Depression, and GE was not hiring."

She moved back to Marmora for a while and then, in 1937, while working in Toronto doing housework, she met and married Floyd Steenburgh, a construction worker originally from Havelock.

"When you are in construction, you go where the jobs are," she commented. The family moved first to Buffalo, other locations in New York State, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 1949, they were again in Madoc and Floyd purchased his parents' farm. He was farming when, in 1951, he was hired by the Marmora mine, employed as a general foreman. He was the first person on the payroll. Floyd died in 1990.

Beatrice had five children: Carol Davies (Marmora), Floyd (a teacher in Oshawa), Sharon (Newcastle), Donna (Cloyne) and Marjorie. In 2001 Beatrice had 54 grand and great grandchildren.

Memories of Marmora High

As a result of Janice Brown's story on Jack Black,  we received this letter from William Andrews:

Leighton McGuinnes, Leonard Begley, Principal, Harry Jenkins, Jack Doran, Muriel Swayne, Helen Brady, Patricia Tockl, Anne Nickle

"Greetings to friends in Marmora.   I grew up at Bonarlaw and attended grades 9-12 at Marmora High from 1953 -1957. Wonderful memories of Leonard Begley - Principal  and Math, Helen Brady – French and Latin,  Patricial Toal – English,  Leighton McGinnis – science, Jean and Harry Jenkins – history. They were great years and mind opening experiences.

We all lived in fear of Reverend Brownlee and Father Healey! They always knew about who had started smoking,  had a beer before the school dance and the ultimate sin - dropped Latin.  None of this boded well and you were definitely stigmatized!    

We had a pretty lively group  – James Shannon,  Bill Cronkright, Leona Hagerdorn,  Rodney Mawer, Mike Doyle, Ken Stiles, Alice Mathews, Brenda Mckeown, Jane Glover, Dave Bedore, Jack Black, Bill Redcliffe, Barbara Neal, Marion + Bob Chrysler, Anna Lee Parkin, Robert Clemens,  Judy + Sandy Fraser, Carol  + Bob Jenkins,  Sandra Meiklejohn, Dean Lavender, Paul Brady, Dale McTaggart and many others.   Our football, hockey, volleyball and basketball teams were the best,  winning many times over Madoc, Tweed and Stirling. 

And then there was our blow out play in grade 12 – Disraeli – 2 performances  – mounted by Patricia Toal .  I was Disreali and Jack was one of my key ministers!  We all had great fun.

I especially enjoyed the MHF  article on "My Uncle – Jack Black” by his niece “Janice Brown”. (See story below)  Jack Black and Dave Bedore  were my science partners – front row and  definitely leaders.  I will never forget the day our phosphorous experiment went awry and we set Judy Fraser’s angora sweater alight at the desk/table behind us. Brief high drama. Judy was good natured about it.

I remember Jack as a very enthusiastic  fellow with loads of energy.   He always had at least 6 girls in a swoon with his charm and head of jet black hair. He stood out in a very positive way.   If I recall correctly, he had an out of town connection in Campbellford on some weekends in grade 12.   And boom – grade 12 came to an end and we all pursued life in different directions.  

Long live Marmora High memories. It was a great beginning  to life in the modern world.Thanks again, with kind regards. "

 William Andrews
                                                             CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON MARMORA HIGH.

My Uncle, Jack Black

By niece, Janice Brown

My Uncle Jack about 20 years old

A link to Wikipedia overview of Larry Uteck’s life – Larry was a Canadian professional football athlete. In his own account, Larry credits Jack with being a key inspiration to him, during the time he was a student of Jack’s. Larry named one of his sons after Jack’s grandson, Luke, in honour of the positive influence Jack had on his life. (Larry refers to Jack as John Black in the article)  CLICK HERE

If you know the name Jack Black, you come to this piece of writing with your own memories and stories relating to my uncle. I am confident that there is a collective history that would depict a man with a ‘bigger than life’ personality, a love for fast cars and the wild side of life; a man who experienced a wide variety of escapades, some of which ended with a quiet diminishing of activity, but more often, involved an encounter with police and concluded with a trip to either jail or the psychiatric wing of a hospital.
If you know anything about Jack from the good ol’ Marmora days, I don’t have to retell any of those stories here; you will likely have your own stories, either from your direct experience or from the wild tales that swirled around the town following the many times that Jack was ‘on a tear’.

Jack has bipolar disorder, a term that wasn’t even known when he was acting out the extreme behaviours instigated by this disorder. Much more is understood about this illness now. In retrospect, during the 1950s and 1960s, Jack and many others with this illness, offered much ‘data’ to be studied and learned about bipolar disorder (including Margaret Trudeau). Much of Jack’s life history - encounters with doctors during manic episodes, and psychiatric assessments over decades - has actually contributed greatly to the understanding of the illness.
I have accumulated many memories of my uncle; numerous personal experiences and countless secondary stories, most of which start with ‘Jack Black is your uncle?! Well, I remember the time when……’

I would like to relay a story here that has not risen to the legendary status of the collective ‘Tales of Jack Black’.

When Jack was 15 years old, he was swimming at Crowe River. He had come out of the water and was laying on a teeter totter, sleeping. He was awakened by the cries of two female lifeguards. He then saw Nick Price who was yelling ‘a boy is drowning’! Jack ran onto the bridge and looked into the water, where he saw a body floating down the river. Jack jumped off the bridge, grabbed the boy and dragged him from the river.

Pat McNamara

Letter of Gratitude

As Jack recounted this story, he told me that he had never been trained in first aid or CPR but instinctively laid the boy on his stomach and began to pound on his back. The boy, who turned out to be Pat McNamara at the approximate age of 10, began to cough and then threw up a great amount of water. Once Pat was fully awake, Jack picked him up and carried him to his home and up to his mother’s bedroom. Pat made the comment ‘you are always there Jack’, referring to the buddy relationship between them, in which Jack had acted somewhat as a protector to Pat, who had experienced some bullying.

In the coming weeks, Jack was invited to attend a Marmora Town Council meeting, where he was honoured with the presentation of a gold ring, which had been engraved with the following message; ‘1955 Lifesaving, Marmora’. Jack also received an expensive gift, along with a lovely and very heartfelt letter from Pat’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. McNamara. 

My uncle has told me many stories over the years.  As I was speaking to him of the idea of writing a story about him for this publication,  he quietly recounted this memory.  As he told this story, Jack expressed much gratitude for this occurrence at the river. Among many, very extreme experiences that Jack remembers of his life, he holds this memory with particularly great fondness; as anyone would who had saved a life.

Bob Clemens, Jack Black, Wilf Terrion - 1956 

1957-1958 Marmora High School  Boys Noon Hockey Champions,    back:Harold Maloney ?, ?, Gord UniackE    middle row l to r    ?, ?, Gary Kelly   Jack front and centre


Vince Lynch

"I am one of the protagonists in this story, Pat McNamara. I have never forgotten that day or any other memories of Jack and his up and down struggles in his life. There was always some kind of situation or story about Jack that would bring back that infamous day to vivid memory. Janice’s story gave me a few more details of this story that I was not aware of but do really appreciate.

There was however another actor in this drama, Vince Lynch; my swimming partner that hot summer day under the Marmora bridge. While trying to swim between the piers, Vince was the first to realize I was in real trouble. He later described me “like a dead frog floating in the river”. Vince made two great decisions: the first was to not try and get me himself and the second was to obviously yell for help and get the attention of those on the beach. Therefore my first memory of that event is Jack and Vince.

Just one final note, I have no recollection of either of my parents ever talking to me about that event but I do know I was registered into swimming classes that summer down at the beach."

Thanks for writing, Pat!

If you have a Jack Black story to share,  drop us a line.  CLICK HERE


WWII German archaeologist connects with Marmora


(The following is a letter we received recently from Sven Polkläser.  He was  born 1966, and is an  IT specialist. In 2010, he became a volunteer member of the LVR, the Office of Soil Architecture in the Rhineland, Germany.  He is the author of several publications on the results of archaeological projects.)

with Sven of German archaeologists with Sven Polklaser on the right

My name is Sven Polkläser and I work as a volunteer in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia) in soil monument conservation.

For some years now, World War II has been part of archaeology in Germany. I do aerial archaeology with a team of volunteers.   i. e. we investigate plane crashes during World War II, search for crash places and determine the fate of the crews.

For a few weeks we have found in Erkrath, a small town south-east of Düsseldorf (south of the Ruhr area) the remains of a Halifax type MK VII.  Through entries in the Erkrath death register we were able to prove that the bomber is the NP689.

The pilot of NP689 was Stewart Millen Bonter. (Marmora- 1918-1945)

In various sources you can find different statements about the fate of Stewart Millen Bonter. This is because on the same day (March 15, 1945)    a pilot with almost the same name (I.W.Bonter) was shot down in the attack on the oil refinery at Misburg at Hanover (aircraft: Lancaster NE119).

Our previous research (which is just beginning) has revealed the following story of the attack:

The Bomber Command sent in the late afternoon hours of March 15, 1945 in total 500 aircraft on their way to Germany, around to attack Hagen and the oil refinery in Misburg  at Hanover. A total of 267 aircraft, including 134 Lancaster, 122 Halifax  and 11 Mosquitos had Hagen as their destination. To this attack unit belonged the bomber  "Moonlight Mermaid" type Halifax B Mk VII with the serial number NP689 and the Identifier QO-M of the 6 Bomber Group, RCAF 432 Squadron. "Moonlight Mermaid" took off  17:07 clock (18:07 clock MEZ) from the East Moor airfield.  Between 20:30 and 20:45 clock  the bombers threw  about 1,000 tons of bombs on Hagen.

"Moonlight Mermaid" was (hit)  in the approach shortly before the goal Hagen  by Flak in 4800m altitude.   The pilot Stewart Millen Bonter, the flight engineer Douglas Colquohoun and the Mid / Upper gunner Darwin Cameron Lawton died in the crash. The flight  Officer H. Vachon, Flight Officer A. Hinchcliffe and Wireless Operator Eiler Villy  Anderson survived the crash and became captive. The Rear Gunner Thomas  Delmer Scott had already jumped over Hagen shortly after receiving the flak hit.   Scott was captured on 17 March, but not transferred to the Wehrmacht, but admitted in the  Court prison in Hagen. On the morning of April 3, 1945, Scott,   along with 11 Hungarian "volunteers" of the Wehrmacht,   shot by the Gestapo in the woods near Hagen in a bomb crater.

From military records we could determine that for a long time the place where Stewart Millen (Bonter) was buried could not be found.   Only in November 1947 were the graves of Stewart Millen Bonter, Douglas Colquohoun and Darwin Cameron Lawton found in the  cemetery of Erkrath. On 21.11.1947 the three airmen were evacuated and transferred to the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.


Stewart Millen was the youngest  child of John Wadsworth Bonter and Ada Beatrice Lough.  Brother of Mildred, Hazel, Herbert, Raymond (my father), Eldon and Grace. His body is buried in Reichwald Forest, Germany.


"Remember, I'm going to be calling the roll as you come up and I shall have all your individual records before me."

Stewart with sister Grace

The actual crash site of the "Moonlight Mermaid" remained unknown until we could find it a few weeks ago.  I would be very interested to get more details (photos, documents, etc.) for my research work.
My question: Are there any descendants of the Bonter family in Mamora to whom you could pass my request?

You can gladly give my address data:
Sven Polkläser,  Akazienweg 2,   42579 Heligenhaus,   Germany

I thank you in advance for your support.
Yours sincerely Sven Polkläser



Ronald Barrons SENT US THIS PHOTO AND ADDS:     Note, there was no hydro, but they had phones, which they'd had from in the 1920's. Hydro came in 1949. I was happy to have found this photo in my Uncle Charlie's collection in that it shows the windmill I knew the farm had, but that I never seen.

Ronald Barrons SENT US THIS PHOTO AND ADDS:     Note, there was no hydro, but they had phones, which they'd had from in the 1920's. Hydro came in 1949. I was happy to have found this photo in my Uncle Charlie's collection in that it shows the windmill I knew the farm had, but that I never seen.

Tom Vansickle with his parents,  Annie and John

Tom Vansickle with his parents,  Annie and John

Methuen Township was surveyed in 1833 by Henry Ewing (who,  by the way,  drowned in Lake Scugog in 1841).  At that time,  it was a very heavily forested township.  There were no roads except bush roads which some of the lumber men used in the winter to cut logs,  mostly white pine which were taken out to the rivers and lakes to be floated down to the saw mills.  Both the Gilmour and Rathbun Lumber Companies worked this area.   Tom Vansickle brought the last large river drive to Marmora from north of Tangamong Lake to Pearce's Mill in Marmora about 1920.  Dan Ellis brought a small drive about 1921.

In the south east corner,  there was some granite rock;  a little farther north,  there was an outcrop of lime stone covered with very heavy clay, which became very good farmland, when the timber was taken off.  John Vansickle first registered land in Methuen in 1833.

According to a write-up in a local paper by Frank Sopha,  who died in 1975 at the age of 90  what is now known as the Vansickle Settlement was first known as the Soph Settlement.

James Stephen Sopha and his wife were the first to settle there in a very virgin timber (Lot 6, Concession 1, Methuen Township).  They were French,  from Quebec,  which was then called Lower Canada.  They moved from Campbellford,  through Belmont.  They cleared the land and built a log cabin until they could clear more land and build a two story log house and a barn.  They had four sons and three daughters.  The nearest store was at Garrison (now known as Preniveau), about 15 miles away. The nearest medical help was at Stirling They would walk to Marmora, hire and horse and ride to Stirling The Sophas and Vansickles, perhaps the VanVolkenburghs and Coles, were in there about the same time.

Vansickle School SS10.jpg

The Vansickle school, one-room schoolhouse which was used for many years, was destroyed by fire in 1990 My wife, Freda (Ellis) Barrons and her brothers and sisters attended the Vansickle school, from 1930- 1936 Her teacher was Miss Lucy (Wing) Buchanan Although the school was small, at that time its enrollment was around 40 pupils.

Beside the school was a small cemetery (about 6 graves) Two infant children of John Henry and Sarah (Vesterfelt) Johnson were buried there They had their own cheese factory, the building, which is located south of the house along the road, is still standing (Jan 1996) although deteriorating.    When they first moved in it was likely that they used a team on oxen on a jumper,  loaded with all their worldly possessions piled on.

Some of the 3rd generation of Sophas worked in lumber woods (Jim Sopha and his brothers).  The men would sometimes be gone for several weeks at a tie.  Their wives would be left at home to raise the family and care for the livestock.  Jim Sopha,  who was working one winter in the bush, had his team of horses killed when a tree fell on them.  He was paid about $1.25 a day for man and team.  This included board and feed for the horses.  He paid $500.00 for a team to replace them.  Jim Sopha and his wife buried two young children on their property on the south-east corner of Lot 7, Concession 1,  Methuen Township.

Some of the Sophas went to Cobalt around 1900 to mine silver.  Cobalt was a new mining town.  Several men from that area went north as they had worked in the mines at Cordova and were experienced miners.     Elmer Sopha,  a nephew of Charles Sopha,  was a lawyer and became a Member of Parliament for the area (Nickle Belt).  Charlie stayed at home and married a school teacher,  Sophrona Hurley.  They raised a family, finally leaving the farm and moving to Marmora for a few years.  They are buried there.  One son,  Clarence,  took over the farm  and lived there with his wife,  Keitha,  and son,  Darrell.  Darrell was the sixth generation to live on the farm.  The land grant from the Province was for 400 acres.

The nearest post office to Vansickle was at Warriston,  now known as Cordova Mines.

There was a saw mill on the Deer River,  between Deer (Cordova)  and Mudturtle Lakes.  This is perhaps where the lumber was sawn for all the buildings in Vansickle.  The river was dammed up to provide water power for the saw mill.  The site of the dam is still called the Johnston place (1996).  The mill was owned over a period of time by a Mr. Downs,  a Mr. Johnston,  and a Mr. Airhart.  There is a bay on the east side of Mudturtle Lake called Airhart's Bay.  I recall being told by Jim Minihan that he bought hemlock lumber from the mill for $2.00 per 1000 board feet.  The saw mill was moved nearer to the stave mill owned by Mr. Cole and Mr. Laby.  Staves were used to make barrels.  The stave mill employed about 20 men.  The staves were sawed,  shaped, steamed and bent,  then drawn by horses to Cordova to be loaded on rail cars.

Arabs in Deloro

Another Story by W.J. Cottrell (circa 1927)

I have never seen,  but have read about transients to Canada in summer time arriving in winter apparel.  The following story has the order of things reversed.  Three Arabs,  sent by a Montreal  employment agency,  to wit ---"  Abdul Mohammed and his two companions arrived at Deloro in the depth of winter attired in well laundered cotton shirts.  They were men of short stature and were put to work in the Silver Plant.

How their teeth chattered in the unaccustomed climate.  They tried to keep warm,  pulling the glowing slag pots toward the dump,  but all in vain.  Not once did they remark "Allah be praised".  They lasted a mere shift and next day were Montreal bound.  No fellow countrymen of theirs ever followed in the wake.                                                                                                                                     For more on Deloro employees,  CLICK HERE.

When silver was discovered in Cobalt,  a town in Northern Ontario,  the Deloro Mining and Reduction Company purchased property in Deloro and began to set up a silver refinery,  with arsenic as an important by product.  It seemed foolish not to base the operations at Deloro  since the cobalt ore,  from which silver is extracted, contained arsenic and the deloro mine operators were experienced in dealing with ores containing arsenic.  Professor Stafford Kilpatrick of Queen's University had developed a new process to extract silver from cobalt ore,  of which the company made use.

Remembering Nov. 11

With Remembrance Day in mind,  Kevin Potter sent us this letter:

This a picture of our father,  Sid  Potter,   who served from 1944 to 1952.  Our parents  "landed " in Marmora from England via Toronto in 1954.  Sid worked as a millwright at the mine  from 1954 to 1974.   I and my four siblings (Steven, Malcolm, Janice and Jo-Anne) were raised in Marmora and have such  fond memories of growing up there. It was like our own Mayberry.

Our father passed away in May 2016  at the age 92.

There is one picture of him posted on the  Marmora Historical website installing an electric motor at the  Marmora arena. I remember helping him as a kid rebuild the ice plant for the arena.
Our parents often talked about how they considered Marmora their "real" home.



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."

Pearce Lumber Camp

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Queensborough

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.

"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"

 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.



Letter from David Young

My great-grandfather, Jesse Neal (1854-1915), was Marmora's blacksmith. I think there are still Neals living in the Marmora area. My great grandparents had a farm in the Bonarlaw district, where my grandfather, JohnArthur Wilen, who was working on this farm, met  my grandmother Veta Pearl Neal.  Veta was born on 20/5/1893, and John was born on 29/07/1897. Their first child, my mother Pearl Elizabeth, was born in Toronto on 28/12/1918, which puts Veta and John meeting on the Bonarlaw farm prior to 1918. 

I have attached a few photos from that time. The most historically important is likely the one of Jesse standing outside Marmora's blacksmith smithy/forge. 


My story is ongoing and I am coming to Marmora in two weeks to try to find more about my Leggett and McMullen families who lived here in the early and mid 1800's. This is my GG Grandmother Mary Leggett McMullen and her husband, Alexander McMullen. Alexander was born in 1826 in Canada and I am trying to find out who his parents are. Mary was born in Marmora July 30, 1831. Her parents were Joseph Henry Leggett and Catherine Cain Leggett. I know nothing about her parents.

Cheryl Dieter


Cordova Free Methodist Church

 Our family lived in Cordova Mines from 1943-1947 when my Dad was the Pastor of the Free Methodist Church. I started Public School there and was pleasantly surprised to find the pics of my sister Lois and I in the group pics. We lived in the parsonage beside Barrons' Store. My siblings Lois, James (Jim),and Eunice moved there and Willie, John and Esther were born in the parsonage. I have many, many fond memories of our years there, in spite of having no electricity, no refrigerator, no indoor plumbing and no tap water, We did have an ice box and a cistern and a gas engine on the washing machine!!! How parents managed to raise families in those war time years would boggle the minds of young people today! We were blessed to have a roof over our heads, a good bed to sleep in, food in our tummies and most of all great neighbours and friends.


The Parsonage                                                                    Photo by Wayne VanVolkenburg

Inspired by Glen Allan Park

Artist and former owner of Glen allan Park,  Elizabeth Berry,  sent along the following memories:

Catching frogs

"Attached are  a couple of  my works from the 70's.  At the time and before we became environ-mentally aware, kids used to catch frogs for the summer frog race at Glen Allan Park.  Often it was the height of their stay as they spent up to a week looking for one.  Moms were never far away and sometimes took them out in a boat or canoe and when the children caught a big frog in the net and tossed him in the boat, mom would shriek and jump out.   There were, of course, strict rules.  No excessive handling or touching the frog and all were carefully watched as they had to go back into the water they came from.  Some summers there was a party afterwards with hot dogs in the rec hall.  The winners got a trophy and ribbons but all kids got some kind of  treat.  Then it was rest time before the evening hayride with Charlie Crowe.

spring animals

The second picture is the spring animals that are still there and being used.  Dan and I bought them in 1976 from Paris Playground Equipment and it drained our bank account that year.   They have provided thousands of hours of fun for kids (and a few adults), while parents lounged beside them on the beach.




Remembering 19 Forsyth St in 1947

My name is Anne-Mae Archer; my family moved from Toronto to Marmora in July of 1947. I was 1 ½ years old.   The story  began during WWII.  My dad,  Charles Archer,  was stationed in Holland in 1945 where he met and married my mother Annette van den Berg. I was born in Holland on February 9th, 1946 and came to Canada on the Queen Mary in August 1946.

Charles Archer was looking for a career and a home for his growing family. They had been renting in different rooming houses in Toronto. I don’t know how Charlie found out about an auction in Marmora, but he purchased the taxi and trucking business from the estate of the late William Sanderson and started running the business June 9th 1947.  Mrs Annette Archer and their two daughters,   Anne-Mae and Mari-Lou,  joined Charlie in Marmora in July of 1947.

As the house was large,  Charles and Annette rented part of it to Mr and Mrs Lorne Gawley and their two daughters. Mrs Gawley was also a Dutch War bride. My parents thought that the house was haunted; there was a set of stairs at the back of the house going to the second floor which was closed and locked at night. It was a hook and eye type lock and  every morning when Annette checked,  the door was unlocked.

Charles and Annette met and became good friends of Tom and Bessie McCann well known residents of Marmora. They became my god parents.   I recall,  when I was a little older,  I picked up the phone and a female voice said hello and I said Bessie? The operator at the other end knew who Bessie was and put me through. My mother came into the room and found me talking to Bessie, but she had not heard the phone ring. Bessie said “you called me”. I do remember their store in Malone, part of which was a post office and under no circumstances could we go behind that counter.

My sister, Mari-Lou was baptised on November 2nd, 1947 by Rev. E.M. Cadigan at St. Andrews United Church, at the same time Mr and Mrs Lorne Gawley also had their daughter,  Shirley Marie,  baptised.   In 1948 I needed my tonsils removed; the closest hospital was in Belleville. There was a young new doctor in town, Dr. Donovan. My mother told me that Dr. Donovan removed my tonsils in his office and my mother was assisting with the anaesthetic.  

Living on the main street at 19 Forsyth St we were next door to the Texaco Gas Station. My sister and I used to sneak over there when no one was looking; the men at the gas station would give us a nickel. When I think about it now it was a very dangerous thing to do, two little girls wandering around where cars pulled in to get gas.

In August of 1949 both my sister and I  contracted polio and were sent to Toronto to the Thistletown hospital, and then later to Sick Children’s hospital. It was a hard time for Charlie and Annette being separated from their small children. Because of the distance they could only visit once in a while. I  was in the hospital for six months and Mari-Lou was in the hospital a year and three months.

Charlie had trouble making a go of the taxi business and had to sell the property and move to Madoc. The house was eventually torn down and the Plaza Theatre was erected on the site.

After Madoc we moved to Deseronto. Then in 1952 Charlie built a small house outside of Marmora on the rocks, west of Crowe River and on the highway. We had no running water because of the rocks. By then I was in grade one and took the bus to school everyday. I do remember that to catch the bus I needed to cross the highway.   If I saw a vehicle coming in either direction I would not cross the road. The highway wasn’t as busy then as it would be today.

Finally in May of 1953 our family moved to Orillia, where Charlie’s mother and older sister lived. At that point my mother put her foot down and said we are not moving again. We needed a family doctor and lucky for us Dr. Donovan had already moved to Orillia and became our family doctor.

In the early 1980’s my husband and I were travelling in eastern Ontario and on the spur of the moment we decided to stop at Marmora and visit Bessie. We stopped at a phone booth in town, I was going to look up Bessie’s number and call her to get directions to her house. The phone book had been ripped out of the booth. I noticed the local post office just down the street and thought I would take a chance and ask in there for directions. The postal employee was very helpful, knew who Bessie was and gave us directions to her house.

Just a note of thanks to the Marmora Historical Society, I did not know the name of the street we lived on until I found your site. All correspondence only said Mrs. C Archer, Marmora, Ontario Canada.

Click here for more on 19 Forsyth, Marmora,  and more pictures!