Morganston Then and Now

How many times have you passed through the hamlet of Morganston Ontario on your way to somewhere else?  I know I have several times.  I highly recommend a short stop here for an interesting insight into a lot of history for such a small hamlet.  Explore an amazing old General Store, now the home of Ray Cobbing Antiques and Collectibles and several other historic dwellings.  Mr. Cobbing is sure to welcome you and with a lot of knowledge of Morganston (and antiques) as he did for the 2 old guys when researching this post.  Thank you Ray.

In 1830, the hamlet of Morganston was named Snyder’s Corners after its first settler William Snyder who built a small log cabin here in1833.  In 1868 the name was changed to Morganston to honor of influential Morgan family.  Some of the earliest residents here were John A. Anderson, Merchant; L. H. Darling, cheese maker; Thomas Lloyd and R. N. MacDonald, blacksmiths; George Finn, Oliver Church, James Gould and J. P. Turney, carpenters.  Richard Crealock, wagon maker; Wallace Masters, and Eli Sabbin, sawmill owners.

The General Store is the most predominate building and the only business operating today.  It appears this property was originally owned by a John Henry Reycroft as early as 1854.  R. S. Newman operated the store in 1867.  John Alexander Anderson purchased the attached house at the time he was the proprietor of the general store.  Located at the crossroads of County Road 25 and 27 in Morganston.  In 1909 the Anderson’s sold the property to a local farmer Marcus Wesley Massey.  Lorne Darling purchased the store from Massey and ran it for nearly forty years until his nephew George and his wife Viva took ownership from 1960 to 1975.  William T. Newman was listed in early records as a Post Master and grocer who later moved to nearby Castleton in 1890.  At one time Lorne Darling operated a diesel powered grist mill attached to the back of the store and later sold it to George Harrison, in 1939 the mill was destroyed by fire.  It was fortunate the general store was saved with the help of the Warkworth fire department.  In the early 20th century J. A. Anderson owned and operated the general store and a telephone office here.  Owners after Anderson were C. W. Massey followed by Lorne Darling and George Darling.

The General Store was closed in 1975 and purchased by Ray Cobbing in 1979 and is now the home of Ray Cobbing Antiques and Collectables at 1651 Morganston Road.  The store is an attractive older building with the classic storefront veranda, large windows and has an attached brick cottage home.  The ‘salt box’ style general store features narrow gauge clapboard siding with a large barn behind it.  Ray Cobbing was born in England and grew up in nearby Warkworth.  Local residents can still find family names on the old post office boxes in the store.  China, furniture and artwork fill the store and sales are rang up on a century old cash register.  The Classic Gothic Revival brick home attached to the store is Ray’s home.

In 1885, the first cheese factory was established by Alonzo Huycke on land leased from John Morgan, south of the hamlets four corners.  The factory was later sold to Alan Darling but was destroyed by fire in 1901.  The first cheese factory was established by Alonzo Huycke on land leased from John Morgan, south of the hamlets four corners.  The factory was later sold to Alan Darling and was destroyed by fire in 1901.  Frank Wilson produced cheese in a building north of Morganston on County Road 25.  From 1915 to 1828 Egbert Demorest operated the factory.  A local farmer Doug Turney and son Bill and Fred Remington from Warkworth produced cheese here.  See picture below.

In the early days, the Mortganston settlers met in schools or homes.  In 1830 a Wesleyan Methodist Church was constructed on Lot 16, Concession 7 was built on the farm of sawmill owner E. Sabbin and became known as Sabbin’s congregation.  In 1865, a frame Methodist Church was erected west of the hamlet.  Pastoral charges included Morganston, Oak Heights and Castleton.  By 1883, the Wesleyan, Methodists and the Episcopal Methodists united.  A Christian Church was organized in 1884, the building and its large cemetery still exist in the hamlet today.  The Bethel congregation built a church 1865.  Between 1908-1911 the Bethel trustees purchased the present church on County Road 25 from Marcus Wesley Massey for the sum of forty dollars.  In 1925 the Methodists Congregationalists and many Presbyterians joined to form the United Church of Canada and Morganston became a United Church.  In 1969, an amalgamation put Morganston in the Percy Township pastoral charge along with St. Paul’s in Warkworth.  Pictured below is the former United Church

The present church was opened in 1910 on Marcus Wesley Massey owned property.  The union of the Methodists congregation  and the Presbyterians formed the United Church of Canada.  In May 1910 the new church was started with bricks drawn from Colborne by horse and wagon.  In 1925 the Methodist Congregationalists and the Presbyterians had combined to form the United Church.  By 1995 the church was slated for possible demolition, fortunately the brick building was saved, sold and converted to a private dwelling.  The building today appears to be vacant.

The above Marcus named Wesley Massey of Morganston was the grandson of Daniel Massey the founder of the former Massey/Harris factory in Newcastle Ontario, one of the largest farm equipment machinery manufacturers in Canada. His great grandfather was Vincent Massey making him a 2nd cousin to Vincent, the first Governor General of Canada.  Vincent’s brother Raymond Massey was a famous American movie actor.  The Massey name still lives on in the origin of St. Anne’s Spa in Grafton Ontario.

The early Massey name still lives on at 1644 Morganston Road (1880).  This historical designated home was originally constructed on 200 acres of land on Lot 17, Concession 9.  The original Gothic style home today is clad in aluminum siding, likely originally clad in wood clapboard because of the abundant timber in the early days.  The property went through several owners until William C. Anderson sold the lot to a local farmer C. H. Dingman.  In later years Dingman sold the property to Marcus Wesley Massey.  Other designated homes in the area: 1641 Morganston Road, a modified stucco Ontario Farmhouse on Lot 16, Concession 9 also went through many owners including John Young and Charles Grant.  778 Morganston Road, Lot 13, Concession 9 is a possible Gothic Revival style home clad in brick and has a barn and several outbuildings on the property.  This home went through several owners over the years, including Robert Mckague and George Brentsell.

The Morganston one room Union School S.S. #16 was built circa 1850 at 399 Highway 27 on Lot 8, Concession 13.  The property went through several owners until purchased by Cramahe Township from a local farmer William Morrow Davidson.  Classed in the early days were often held in a local home, general store or the local church until a school could be built.  The School closely resembled many others in the county, it was of brick construction but was roofed with metal shingles which was unusual.  The school was closed in 1965 and the students were  bused to Castleton.  The school is now a private residence.

Regards   Ranger

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