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The History of St Martins


At this time there were about 20 merchants in St Martins in business in dry goods, groceries, etc. A few years previous to the Centennial a company was formed called the Trotting Park Association. Jacob S. Titus wa President and William Wilson the treasurer. This company purchased land on the level plain north of the village, where they built a very fine race course and erected a commodious building for the purpose of holding agricultural exhibitions etc. The track was considered by some of the visiting judges to be one of the best in the province.

A Loyal Orange Lodge was organized in the year 1845, John Fletcher and William Black being chief promotors. The society erected a large hall on Orange Hill. This builing was two stories high and admirably adapted for use. The present Orange Hall is the building formerly used by William Calhoun as a store. Some years after this, a Masonic Lodge was organized with James Rourke as the Master. A hall was erected in the central part of the village about 1887, the land being donated by Robert Skillen and the building financed by Captain Benjamin Wishart.

Sir Leonard Tilley was instrumental in organizing a division of the Sons of Temperance. We frequently asisted the Order by giving lectures in their hall.

The Ladies Orange Benevolent Association was organized in 1949 with Bessie (Fletcher) Mosher as Worthy Mistress. The Order of the Eastern Star was constituted in 1954 with Jean Jackson and Bert Gamble as Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron.

A Board of Trade wa organized in the year 1895 with James Rourke as President. Through the efforts of this board much was done to improve and advance the village. A Debating Society was formed which met once a week when the subject for discussion was handled in a very able manner by its members.

In the year 1845 an epidemic of Scarlet fever and Diphtheria spread all over the village and many people mourned the loss of their children.

In September 1900, St Martins was swept by a distastrous fire which started at Burchill's Hill, a few miles from the village, and burned through the woods, branching as it neared the village, crossed the race track in the park and set fire to the park buildings. The burning shingles from these buildings fell on the old empty Spool and Bobbin factory, setting it afire. A strong northwest wind was blowing and the embers, carried by this wind, set fire to many other buildings. The total number destroyed was about 60, many of these being beautiful residences.

In 1914 the Department of Public Works bought the land which formery had been the Vaughan Shipyard, and erected a large wharf. 8