Mike Burns, Peter Klein, John Scott, Whitney Martin
The gentlemen in the picture are all members of the Lion’s Club who participated and won a curling bonspiel. Each of them was very active in community activities in Bancroft.
In fact although this man was called Mike all his life he was baptised Alfred Frederick Burns. “Mike “ was the post Master in Bancroft from 1960 to 1980. He was a postal worker from 1945 to 1960.
Mike and his wife Muriel raised eight children and were very active in many aspects of community life. They were members of the Lion’s Club, and active church members at Our Lady Of Mercy parish. Mike was part of the Holy Name Society and Muriel belonged to the Catholic Women’s League.
Mike was very interested in the history of Bancroft because his grandfather, Darby Kavanagh and his great uncle Patrick came to the area as original settlers in the 1850’s. His mother and aunts were able to tell him first hand stories of the happenings and goings on in old days.
He was the go to guy for all things historical related to Bancroft. Mike collaborated on several books written about the area. He had a vast collection of pictures that had been handed down over the years which he was always willing to share.
The people of Bancroft owe Mike a great debt for preserving the history of Bancroft and helping others do the same.
In 2014, Peter Klein was awarded a lifetime membership of the Bancroft Lions Club, he has been a member of the club since 1954. During his years of service, Lion Peter has been involved in many fundraising and community service projects. He is well-known for his involvement with the annual Santa Claus Parade.
John Scott was with the mines. He was a member of the Lions Club.
Whitney arrived in the Bancroft area in 1921 and in 1927 formed Martin Bros. Co. at Baptiste Lake. The two saw mills were served by the IB&O Railroad. Whitney, in 1949 started the Bancroft Planning Mill which later became Bancroft Lumber under Jack Brown. Today it is the location of Rona and Jan Woodlands.
In 1952 Whitney built and operated the first motel in Bancroft called River Bend Motel. A few years later he built a very successful, Ye Olde Barn Restaurant in the area of the motel. In 1955 he built Bancroft’s first golf course across the road from the motel. After assembling several pieces of property in the downtown core Whitney built the first plaza in which the IGA was located for decades. The Building which houses The Life Labs was part of that project.
These are a few of the positions Whitney held:
- Whitney was an active member of the Board of Stewards of St. Paul’s United Church.
- International Governor of Lions International
- Received honorary title of International Director of Lions Club
- District director of the Canadian Lumberman’s Association
- Member of the Lumberman’s Service Club
- 32nd degree Mason
- Member of the Grand Chapter of the Royal &Mason’s of Canada
- Member of Shriner’s Club
- President of the Madawaska Valley Tourist Assoc
- President of the Bancroft Curling Rink
- Chaired and co-chaired the Old Home Week and Bancroft Centennial Celebrations respectively.
- On committee responsible for the building of the first arena and the Hospital
- Instrumental is acquiring the log building which became the Museum and having it moved to its present location.
- On the hill behind the golf course Whitney set up the first Ski Hill in Bancroft with a rope tow. It was greatly enjoyed by all.
When Whitney passed away in July 1983 the town was saddened to have lost such a visionary. Whitney had invested time, energy and money into his projects to modernise the town. He was a philanthropist who could see the benefits of giving back to his community.