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Rokeby (Lanark)


Town site photo

Pioneer era buildings in Rokeby

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Rokeby was a small post office located in Lanark County, South Sherbrooke Township about 10 kilometres east of Maberly. It got its start on April 4th, 1859 when John Campbell opened a small post office. Within a year Campbell resigned as postmaster and the post office was taken over by Alvah Adams. Mail was picked up and delivered weekly.

Rokeby was a small place with an average population of between 20 and 30. The village was situated on Concession 9 in the area bounded by Lots 17 to 19. During the mid 1860s the village had a general store owned by William Bowles (also spelled Boles). Other residents included a blacksmith, John McKay, a weaver George Livingston, and John Greer, likely a farmer. There was a small Anglican Church and cemetery on the east side of the village at Lot 19. The nearest school was located one concession north on Lot 18, Concession 10.

Very little information is available on Rokeby. The post office closed in 1873, after a scant 14 years in operation. Once the post office closed, no further official records were compiled on Rokeby. Nevertheless the small hamlet carried on for many years.

For a community with so little in the way of written history, Rokeby contains a remarkable number of vestiges. The general store has been renovated and is now used as a private home. The community contains a number of attractive log barns, sheds and other outbuildings that are well maintained and still in use. The area where the church once stood displays a solemn air of dignity. The site is surrounded by a large hand-hewn wooden fence. The grounds inside remain well tended and the church foundations can be easily discerned.

The cemetery was not so fortunate. Built on a rolling hillside northeast of the church, the area has seen little in the way of care since the church was demolished and is badly overgrown. It was classed as "abandoned" many years ago.

A number of rural residents still call the community home and maintain a strong sense of pride in their surroundings.