in the Niagara Peninsula
(By Janet Carnochan)
Sermons in stones! Yes and far more: History, pathos and humor, morality, religion, patriotism, warning, inspiration, what shall we not find? But of the nameless graves, whether in consecrated ground, or in the plain, the cultivated farm once the scene of bloody warfare, in the ruined fort, or in many a lonely spot we can never or rarely know the story. Many of these form a page of history never to be wholly deciphered, but let us try while we may, imperfectly though it be, to place on record, from mossgrown stone de-faced by time or perchance ruder touch, the names and what we can piece together of the early pioneers, whether men or women, poet or artisan, soldier or priest, legislator or farmer, teacher or sailor, and from these pages of the past we may learn lessons for the present or the future, lessons of courage, of unselfishness, of generosity, of friendship, of patriotism, of duty, of religion. Then they died, shot down by stealthy Indian, or French or American foe, as now they give up their young lives on Africa's arid veldt, but each in-spired by the same adventurous spirit which has made the Briton, be he Celt or Saxon, the pioneer in the worlds progress, one of the factors in that "morning drum beat which encircles the globe" and proud that he is one of a nation "on whose dominions the sun never sets."
While most of the graveyards in the Niagara peninsula have been visited and such help used as could be obtained from tablets on the walls of churches, monuments, church registers, tradition, historical records, it has been found that there has been as much change in the fashion as there is in dress or buildings. At one time the stately periods, or long high sounding phrase, the scripture texts or doggerel rhyme, the severe simplicity of name, date, age, or the fulsome flattery, or words of warning; in some the unlettered muse is much in evidence, "the uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture," or again the stately column or curiously carved figures. All materials have been used, the wooden slab, marble, iron, granite, or perhaps a huge boulder with initials, the language mostly English, but a few were found in French, German, and some in stately Latin. In early days before consecrated ground was set apart many were buried on the farm, in a plot generally fenced in, but in many cases the property has changed hands and the stones have been broken or even carted off, the field plowed over and no trace remains, or the plot stands still fenced in, but given over to burdocks and briars.
Is situated about a mile from the
town., at the west end, originally a part of the land owned by
Col. John Butler; here was buried in 1796 the veteran of whose
name so much obloquy has been heaped, undeservedly, we think.
See Butler's Rangers by Gen. Cruikshank, who has done so much
for the elucidation of many points in Canadian history. An erroneous
opinion seems to prevail with regard to this spot that here are
buried Butler's Rangers, that it is a military graveyard, But
this is not the case, as it was a family burying ground and not
that of the members of that famed regiment. The will of Col.
Butler directs that his body be interred in his family burying
ground, and in the rooms of the Niagara Historical Society is
a copy of the deed granted in 1832 to Warren Claus, John Claus,
Ralfe Clench, Jas. Muirhead, Thomas Butler, Hugh Freel, giving
the exact measurement from the boundary tree, of the half acre
constituting the burial plot. The farm of two hundred acres has
since been sold to two persons and the boundary line runs exactly
through the centre of the burial plot. Beautiful old trees wave
a requiem over the plateau which overlooks the meandering creek.
Some years ago most of the inscriptions were copied by the writer;
at a later visit the stones were found lying in all directions,
broken by the fall of an immense tree which had been cut down,
the vault fallen in and open to the inquisitive and irreverent
gamin, who has been known to carry off bones which should have
been safe from such desecration.
Here is an example of the high sounding, carefully arranged periods of those days. In a country churchyard in Scotland I copied one to a divine in much the same style of carefully proportioned descriptive phrases.
"Here reposes Maria Caroline The generous hearted, high souled, talented and deeply lamented wife of Major Richardson, Knight of the Military Order of Saint Ferdinand, of the First-Class, and Superintendent of Police on the Welland Canal during the administration of Lord Metcalfe. This matchless woman died of Apoplexy and to the exceeding grief of her faithfully attached husband after a few days illness in St. Catharines on the 16th day of Aug. 1845 at the age of 37 years.It is remarkable how much the husband tells of himself in the wife's epitaph.
Here also are stones
to Butler Muirhead, barrister, andJames Muirhead, surgeon, (the
former died in 1824), Mary, wife of John Gustavus Stevenson and
daughter of James and Jane Butler, also one to Eliza, wife of
Charles Richardson, a large flat stone mentions that it was erected
as a family monument by Chas. Richardson, A. D. 1835 and reads
thus: "Sacred to the memory of Ralfe Clench, died Jan. 1828.
aged 66 years, Eliza Euretta Richardson, youngest daughter of
Ralfe Clench and Elizabeth, and wife of Chas. Richardson, died
Sept. 1833, aged 25 years, Jane, wife of Robert Rist, late Capt.
of 37th Regt., and eldest sister of Chas. Richardson, (lied 1831."
In the Servos burial place on
the farm of Mrs. Mary Servos, there are five generations buried.
Here is the grave of the widow of Col. Johnson, who was killed
at the taking of Fort Niagara, 1759.
"Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth, relict of Cohn McNabb, Esq., of, near Niagara, who departed this life Sept. 26th, 1813, aged 44 years; also of their son, Cohn Alexander, Lieut. in H. M. late Nova Scotia Fencibles Regt., who departed this life Nov. 10th, 1820." In St. Mark's register is a pathetic reference to the former, as recorded by Mr. Addison: "On the day on which the engagement between Sir J as. Yeo and Commodore Chauncey took place on the lake, our dear friend, Mrs. McNabb, was buried in Mr. Servos's burying ground, 29th Sept., 1813."
A large monument is to Col.
J. D. Servos, who died in 1847, aged 62, and another to Daniel
Servos, Esq., who died 26th March, 1803, aged 65. In the Anglican
Church at Virgil are two tablets on the walls to these, thus:
"In Memoriam Capt. Daniel Servos of Butler's Rangers, United
Empire Loyalist, who died March 26th, 1803, aged 65.
The Ball graveyard at Locust Grove
has also several generations buried in its enclosure. The Jacob
Ball who came with his three sons, bringing forty men, in 1780,
lies here. "In memory of Jacob Ball, born 1733, died 1810."
Having fought in the Queen's Rangers and Butler's Rangers through
the Revolutionary War, he was spared the second contest, dying
two years before the war of 1812. The sons, Peter, John and George
are buried here. The wife of Jacob Ball, the elder, Mary Ball,
died in 1814, aged 78, in the midst of wars alarms and shortly
after the family residence had been burnt.
Near the residence of Mr. Geo. Field,
which is an historic house, having been used as a hospital in
the war of 1812, is a graveyard in which are interred members
of three families. The house near was built by Gilbert Field,
the first brick house on the river road and before the beginning
of the century. A tombstone tells us that he died in 1815, aged
50, while his son, Daniel Field, who fought at Detroit, Queenston,
and Lundy's Lane, died in 1873, having received for his services
a medal gained by the instrumentality of Hon. Wm. H. Merritt,
as shown in a letter dated Quebec, 1852.
of the date 1808 also have angel's faces.
An almost forgotten family burying
plot on the Cox farm, which, having passed through many hands
in the century, we may readily understand why the stones are
broken and almost illegible. This in old times was the Bellinger
farm, there have evidently been nearly a score of graves: rough
stones still stand, and from the dry bed of the brook we gathered
fragments which we pieced together with some degree of success.
On a brownish grey stone, with the lettering still quite plain
on the one half yet standing, was a quotation from the Apocrypha,
the first found from its pages of all so far examined, and in
another respect this stone is unique as fuller particulars are
given than elsewhere found: while others give year, month and
day of birth and death these give the hour of both.
Will require a more lengthened notice,
for not only are the inscriptions in the graveyard exceptionally
interesting hut the walls of the church both outside and in add
their quota of history, romance or poetry. Here rest peacefully
together different nationalities and denominations, for, as this
was the first burial place, it was used by all at least forty
years before other denominations provided a separate place, and
to this day many bring their dead from distant homes to lie here
beside kindred dust. The spot is an ideal one. Dean Stanley said,
"This is a piece of old England, do not allow it to be touched."
Graceful elms and drooping weeping willows lend their beauty,
whose branches whisper a requiem to the quiet dead, the remains
of rifle-pits constructed in the war of 1812 may yet be seen,
stones hacked by the soldiery when in the hands of the enemy,
all give a fitting setting to the old gray church with its tower
and buttresses. The parish dates back to 1792, white the church
was built in 1805. The oldest stone may be found on the east
corner in the vestibule, having been rescued; from the place
where it was almost buried. The rude lettering shows an unskilled
Perhaps the next in date is the following,
but dear cut, as if done quite lately:
A large flat stone, hacked and marred
so as to be almost indecipherable, having been used as a butcher's
block during the war while the town was in the hands of the Americans,
has this inscription:
Another altar tomb near, also defaced
in the same way, reads:
"As lurid lightning's dart their vivid light, So poured they forth their fire in bloody fight. They bravely fell and served their country's cause, They loved their Constitution, King and Laws."
In the first poem published by Mr.
Kirby, called the U. E., is a character called by him Ranger
John. Here in the eastern side of the graveyard is a simple inscription
to the old U. E. Loyalist from whom the character in the poem
"Fear God and honour the King.
In memory of Cob
Near the north corner of the cemetery
is a monument to.
Reference has already been made to
the honorable work of Ralfe Clench, the body buried first in
Butler's graveyard, was removed here. It is recorded in the very
rare copy of the proceedings of the Loyal and Patriotic Society
formed during the War of 1812, that the house of Mr. Clench was
the only one saved in the town from the conflagration, but it
was accidentally burnt shortly after.
"In memory of Col. Wm. Kingsmill,
son of the late Major Kingsmill, of 1st Royals, died in Toronto,
6th May, 1876. aged 82. Col. Kingsmill served in H. M. 66th Regiment,
in the Peninsular War, and afterwards at St. Helena, during Napoleon's
captivity. Subsequently in command of 3rd Inf. Corps, Batt. of
U. Canadian Militia, and was Sheriff of the Niagara District.
He was a gallant soldier."
"In memoriam Capt. W. D. Kingsmill of R. C. Regt.. born
at St. Helena, 1818. Lieut. C. E. Kingsmill, of Ceylon Rifle
Regt., died at Hong Kong."
"Robert Melville, Capt. H. M. 68th Regt., died 1845."
"Sacred to the memory of William
Jolliffe and John Midgley, aged 20 and 21 respectively, who died
July 17th, 1825. They belonged to the band of the 76th Regt.,
and were universally beloved and regretted by their comrades."
Two beautiful mural tablets in the
transept read thus:
Length of service seems to have been the rule here, for besides the unique fact that in the hundred years of the church history, there were only three rectors, the parish clerk had a still longer term of office than the above average. On a small stone:
"To the memory of John Wray,
50 years parish clerk of St. Mark's, who died at an advanced
age, Oct. 6th, 1846."
The exigencies of rhyme, rhythm and syntax are bold met and
conquered; metaphors and similes, appropriate or not, abound.
"Sacred to the memory of the
two infant children of R.U. Turney, chaplain to H. B. Majesty's
Forces, and Jane, his wife."
On the tombstone of a child, Mary Rogers, dying in 1812:
William Grier, aged 27, died in 1813, the son of John Grier, a noted merchant:
Of "Jane Cassady, the wife of John Whitten," it is told that when a child she carried her younger brother on her back out to Butler's farm for safety the day the town was taken, 27th May, 1813. Who in this degenerate day deserves such praise as that in the line given below?
"Here lies as much virtue as could live."
These are all in the first years of
the century and form a contrast with the brief lines on two monuments
of late years.
A trace of the rude hand of war is
A naval hero, a beloved physician and a Methodist class leader, are thus commemorated:
"Sacred to the memory of Philip Hopkins, Commander of H. M. Cruiser Vandeleur, who departed this life July 11th, 1858, aged 75."
"In loving memory of Robt. M. Wilson, M.D., who died at Simcoe, May 31st, 1875. Their eyes shall behold the king in his beauty, they shall behold the land that is very far off." (This was a favorite verse of the deceased.)
"Andrew Brady, born at Queenston Heights Aug. 15th, 1789, died 1875."
Many remember him familiarly known as Father Brady.
Here lies buried Capt. Alexander Garrett of the Grenadiers, who fought with Brock at Queenston Heights. On an old stone with the name of John Emery, 1813, the lines:
"Waken, 0 Lord, our drowsy sense to walk this dangerous road, And if our souls are hurried hence May they be found with God."
It is remarkable the number of retired
clergy who lie buried here, Rev. Henry Cottingham, Rev. Romaine
Rolph, Rev. Peter Roe, Rev. Matthew Ker, D. D., Rev. ~H. N, Philips,
Rev. Canon Arnold, Rev. Prof. Beavan, Rev. John S. Clarke.
"To the Glory of God and in memory
of William McMurray, D.D, D.C.L., Archdeacon of Niagara and Rector
"Sacred to the memory of Charlotte
Johnston, wife of Rev. Wm. McMurray, died 1871, aged 71."
A brass tablet in the church commemorates
the centenary of the church:"To the glory of God! This tablet
is erected by the Congregation of St. Mark's Church, in grateful
commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of this
parish on the 9th July, 1792. The nave of the church was built
about 1807 and burned during the war of 1812, the walls only
remaining. It was restored in 1820 and enlarged to the present
dimensions in 1843 During the century the living has been held
by the following incumbents: The Rev. Robert Addison, 1792 to
1829; The Rev. Thomas Creen, 1829 to 1857; The Rev. William McMurray,
D.D., D.C.L., Archdeacon of Niagara, to the present time, assisted
since 1888 by the Rev. J. C. Garrett as curate in charge."
Many soldiers of the 76th Regiment
of foot are buried near one another, as in another part of the
graveyard are members of the 1st or King's Dragoon Guards, also
is found mention of the 100th Regt., Obadiah Creed, and still
another arm of the service as "Alexander Gardiner, a native
of Perthshire, North Britain, Master Mason in the Royal Engineer
Department at this post during many years, a situation which
he fulfilled with entire satisfaction to his superiors and the
esteem of all his acquaintances," died 1824, aged 65.
"After the day has sung its song
of sorrow One by one the golden stars appear."
A group of tombstones seem to have
formed a family burial plot, with the names of Rogers, Grier
and Koune, all related.
The Harrington Hotel was kept by Alexander
Rogers, and afterwards by his wife.
An old grey stone bears the names of Richard and Diana Pointer, 1817 and 1818:
A late inscription brings up several
well known names:
A tablet lately placed in the church to
the memory of the veteran litterateur, William Kirby, has this
inscription, said to have been composed by himself:
An old grey stone brings up a story of the
roar of cannon, of deadly strife, of blazing houses in bleak
December, of the cries of children, despairing mothers brought
out from sick beds:
The latest addition to this fine old
cemetery is a handsome massive mausoleum, shewing filial affection;
here are placed the bodies of the father and mother, Robert and
Annie Carnathan, of Mrs. Baur, also that of her husband, Charles
Baur, shewing too the love for Niagara, as Mrs, Baur, living
long in Terre Haute, Indiana, returns to her birthplace, bringing
her dead for sepulture in this old God Acre.
"James Monro, Rossshire, Scotland, 1832."
With the rather unusual text:
"Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection, on such Death has no power."
Here, too, rests the body of Thomas
McCormick, the manager of the old Bank of Upper Canada, and church
warden for many years, 1784 -1867, and of his wife, Augusta Honoria,
daughter of Secretary Jarvis, born in London, 1790, died 1848,
and of Mrs. Wm. McCormick, nee Arnoldi, born 1765, died 1855,
having been a widow for seventy years.
In this enclosure, where the first church was erected in the town, in 1794, none were buried till 1833, the first to be interred, he who conducted the first Sunday School in the town for fourteen years, is in a few words mentioned:
"Sacred t6 the memory of John Crooks, died Mar. 31st, 1833, aged 36. A native of Greenock, Scotland."
He was the postmaster of the town, whose benevolent deed to prisoners in the jail confined for debt is mentioned in papers of that period, in sending firewood to them in the depth of Winter.
Next this enclosure is one covered
with fragrant lilies of the valley. A small tablet in the wall
has these words:
A few military heroes and several U. E. Loyalists found here their last resting place. as: "Sacred to the memory of Donald McDonald, of the 79th Highlanders, died 1846." "Lachlan Currie, 68th Regt.; fought in the Peninsular
Of one U. E. Loyalist buried here
the story is told that he was, when a child, a captive among
the Indians for several years.
"Elizabeth Hixon, his wife, born in the Province of New
Jersey in 1773, emigrated to Canada in 1788, died 1855, aged
"John Eglesum, died 1851, aged 93."
A skilful physician and surgeon, the brother of Prof. Campbell of Edinburgh University, and who dying in Toronto, "wished to be buried "as near old St. Andrew's as possible," is thus commemorated:
"In memory of Duncan Campbell, M.D., of Edinburgh, died Feb. 4th, 1879, aged 68 years."
A later grave is that of "John Majoribanks Lawder, for many years judge of the County of Lincoln."
One of the fathers of the church, for fifty years was connected with it as an office-bearer, and was also an officer in the Lincoln Militia in 1812.
"Willam Duff Miller, 1786-1859."
A benefactor of the church who left a legacy of £750, which afterwards purchased the manse, is thus remembered:
"Sacred to the memory of Catharine Young, who died 1840, aged 67. This tribute of regard is erected by the relatives of her husband, Jno. Young, who was drowned in Lake Ontario, July 30th, 1840."
Dr. Whitelaw, a distinguished scholar who taught the Grammar School both in Niagara and Kingston, lies here, dying in 1850.
In the vestibule is a mural tablet:
The Wagstaff plot commemorates settlers before and after the
war of 1812.
"Elizabeth Remington, wife of Richard Wagstaff
Near this is the Davidson plot:
Walter Davidson, 1799-1850; his wife Sarah, 1792-1848, their sons, John, William, James, David.
Beside Dr. Whitelaw, the whole family, who died young, are buried.
The next plot is the McFarland's, whose brick house, built in 1800, still stands. They are all descendants of one who was a prisoner at Greenbush, referred to in St. Mark's. One of these, James, buried in another plot, was one of the guides to the force, which captured Fort Niagara, Dec. 19, 1813.
Joseph Barr, a victim of the Des Jardins canal tragedy, Mar. 12th, 1857.
John Ross, born in Montreal, 1781, died at Niagara, 1863.
Col. Robt. Miller lies here, and Wm. Wright, Royal Engineers.
John Rogers, an office-bearer of the church for fifty Years, like Col. W. D. Miller.
In an enclosure full of headstones lies John McCulloch, a noted merchant of the town, born in Wigtonshire, Scotland.
Jacob Field and Murray Field, descendants of U. E. L. families,
That of another gives a hint of the troubles
and expense caused to the Canadian Government by the Civil War
in the United States:
Many names shewing nationality are found here, as McFarland, McPherson Davidson, Dawson, Logan, Swinton, Currie, Forbes, Carnochan, Elliott, Gordon, McIntyre, Blain, Hutchinson, McMicking, Pringle. Lachlan McPherson had far passed the limit of the Psalmist, having attained almost his hundredth year.
The Centennial tablet reads thus:
"in grateful commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the organization of this congregation, this tablet i~ erected by the members of St. Andrew's Church, Niagara. The first building, begun in October 1794 and erected on this spot, was burnt in the war of 1812-14. The congregation met in St. Andrew's schoolroom on the north corner of this block for some years. The present church was built in 1831. The ministers have been Rev. John Dun, Rev. John Young, Rev. Jno. Burns, Rev. Thomas Fraser, Rev. Robt. McGill, D. D., Rev. John Cruickshank, D.D., Rev. J. B. Mowat, M. A., 1). D., Rev. Charles Campbell, Rev. Wm. Cleland, Rev. J. W. Bell, M. A., and the present pastor, Rev. N. Smith."
The church was built in 1834; previous to
this St. Mark's graveyard was used by all denominations. In the
church is a tablet with this inscription:
In the enclosure of the McDougal family is the grave of Col. D. McDougal, treasurer of the united counties of Lincoln, Welland, and Haldimand for many years. He fought at Lundy's Lane and lay on the field all night, being reported as mortally wounded, but recovered, carrying in his body a bullet to his grave. In the Historical Room is the original document authorizing Daniel McDougal to enlist men in Glengarry to serve in the war, dated April, 1813, E. McDonell, Prescott.
Bishop McDonell, who ministered to the Catholic regiment from Glengarry, Scotland, was often entertained at Col. McDougal's in Niagara. The wife and her mother, buried here, show their Scottish origin, McNabb and McDonell.
Near this enclosure lies buried one of the benevolent ladies of the town, whose kind face and ready smile are not forgotten, Mrs.. Stevenson. A letter in an old Niagara Gleaner of 1832, tells of the time when debtors were imprisoned and of the kindness of Mrs. Stevenson in sending comforts to prisoners.
A young and beloved priest, Father
Lynch, lies here, his grave kept covered with flowers by loving,
hands. In a distant corner is a monument to mark the grave of
Patrick Lawless, the fireman of the Steamer Zimmerman, burnt
to death on board on the night of Aug. 21st, 1863.
"In memoriam Bernardi Kennedy, cujus anima Ut Reqilie scat in pace, desiderantur fidelium suifragia mortuns est IV Kal Decembris A. D. 1857, Anno AEtatis suae 53, Grato animo filius ems Reverendus Joannes P. Kennedy Presbyter. Hoc eregi curavit."
Another mark of respect to parents buried years ago is the handsome mausoleum near the church erected lately by Hugh J. Chisholm, a, millionaire of New York, the bodies of his father and mother, Alexander Chisholm and Mary Chisholm, first buried in the graveyard, having been transferred to this solid structure.
Not many old soldiers are buried here, but there is one inscription to the memory of James E. Burns of the Royal Canadian Rifles, Sergeant; also his father, Thomas Burns, a respected, pensioner, for many years belonging to the band of that Regiment.
Very few verses are found, but one
The words on many, stones are, "Pray for his soul." The names found here generally show the nationality as Fagan, Brady, O'Neil, O'Donnell, Lynch. There are many fine monuments to members of the families of Doyle, Greene, Healey. Barron,, Gurvine, Murphy, Freel, Petley, McGuire, Walsh, Reilley, Kearins.
This church, erected in 1829 by the exertions of John Oakley, who came to Fort George in 1814 and had charge of the Field Train Department, was removed some time ago, being no longer used. At one time several hundred escaped slaves found shelter under the British flag, and here are buried many of these dusky Africans, but one white child was buried here in 1832, that of the above mentioned Rev. John Oakley, who was a teacher and preacher.
Here too is buried a hero whose name should not be forgotten, though it is unrecorded in marble or granite. Herbert Holmes, a teacher and exhorter, who organized a band of colored men of several hundreds to surround the jail and pre-vent the return of Mosely, an escaped slave from Kentucky, who was by law ordered to be given up. The civil and military authorities were called out, soldiers, constables, sheriff, and the Riot Act read. The prisoner escaped, but Holmes and Green were shot and lie buried here, having given their lives to save their brother from slavery. Were not they heroes indeed, and should not their names be commemorated?
This congregation is also a century old. The church was built in 1823.
Here is found a monument to, John Boyd, who died here in 1885, aged 85. He, had been a teacher in the Old Blue (Grammar) School of Toronto, and was the father of Sir John Boyd, whose son has given his life in South Africa. Here are buried John Eedson and Salome Crane, his wife, of U. E. Loyalist birth, from Nova Scotia; George Varey, who played the bass viol in the church before the days of organs or melodeons.
Two old grey stones show burials here previous to any in St. Andrew's or St. Vincent de Paul.
"Sarah Laurence, died 1825, aged 64; Gideon Howell, died 1827, aged 22.
Two graveyards on the opposite side of the river were visited and here were found several inscriptions interesting to us.
In the military graveyard of Fort Niagara, the post which has had such an eventful history, having, been in the hands of French, British, Indians, Americans, is, found a singular trace of the American occupation of Fort George III 1813. A young Frenchman, perhaps a son of one of those of that nationality who helped the Thirteen Colonies to gain their independence:
"I ci repose Marie Vincent Boisaubin, Lieutenant et ad-jutant dans le regiment d'artillerie legere des Etats Unis, decede au Fort George le 13 aout, 1813, a l'age de 22 ans, Ami fidele, fils tendre et sincere comment nous consoler dj'une perte Si severe.
A monument bears this comprehensive inscription:
"Erected to the memory of unknown soldiers and sailors of the United States, killed in action or dying of wounds in this vicinity during the war of 1812."
Here were buried in the precincts of the fort, but so far the spot is unknown and unmarked, two British officers, killed at the taking of the fort, 25th July, 1759. In the diary of Sir William Johnson, given in Stone's life of that distinguished man, are these words; "Today buried, Gen. Prideaux and Col. Johnson in the chapel with great form; I was the chief mourner." Should not some memorial be erected to these two British officers who died in adding a page to Britain's roll of fame?
John Ross Robertson, who has done so much to clear up many pages of Canadian history, has lately unearthed in England a map showing the position of the chapel in what is now the parade ground, and Peter A. Porter of Niagara Falls; N. Y., in an article in the Buffalo Express, has reproduced this so that one may almost pace off the distances and fix the spot.
Information has lately been given that in former days there was a stone near that of Sergt. Amasa Snow, with the name of General Prideaux, and the inference is that, the bodies of the two British officers were removed, to the military graveyard when the chapel was taken down.
"Sergeant Amasa Snow, died Apr., 1829.
This curious mingling of words Snow, melt, freeze and chill, referring to the brave Sergeant, is at least ingenious if not poetic.
A new cenotaph has been erected with an inscription slightly different "To the memory of unknown officers and enlisted men who fought in the early Indian wars on this frontier, and also in the Revolutionary War, whose remains are interred in this cemetery."
"Sacred to the memory of Adgt. Thos. Poe, Penn. Vols.., who nobly died for his country at Lundy's Lane, July 26th, 1814." This burial must have taken place while Fort Niagara was in the hands of the British.
"In memory of John Christie, (son of the late Major Jas. Christie of the Rev. Army,) Colonel of the 23rd Infantry, Inspector of the Northern Division of the U. S. Army, died at Lewiston, July 23rd, 1813, aged 25 yrs. 6 mos. and 19 days."
This was the period of the American occupation of Niagara, when from the unsanitary condition of the camp many of the troops were removed to the higher land at Lewiston.
Here too, in a beautiful well-kept graveyard near the Presbyterian
Church, are traces of the contest of a century ago:
"Here sleeps a soldier, here a brave man rests."
The following shows the influence of a wife over a husband:
"Sacred to the memory of Nancy, consort of Fitz James Hotchkis.
It is difficult now to know what crime committed by Great Britain is referred to in the following lines:
"In memory of Alexander Miller, who died Oct. 13th, 1828, aged 62, a native of Dundee, Scotland."
Perhaps the Sutherland evictions are meant.
Of Miss Mary Attwater, who died in 1815, it is said:
Another point in which the history of the two countries touch is found here. A broken tombstone, formerly upright, now lying flat, is that of
"Ashbel Sage, born 1777, died 1855. He was the pilot and guide who conducted the American army to Queenston Heights in the battle on the morning of the 13th October, 1812."
There was formerly a daguerreotype of this veteran inserted in the stone, but this has disappeared long since.
Here, too, lie Thomas Hustler and his wife Catharine, characters used by the novelist Cooper in "The Spy" as Sergeant Hollister and Betty Flannigan.
The Hamilton residence in Queenston is a fine stone building on an, eminence having the old colonial, pillars, and the family burying plot is on the property, surrounded by a low stone wall enclosing beautiful trees.
The Hon. Robert Hamilton, born in Scotland, and whose name we find so often as entertaining guests in Simcoe's time, died in 1809, aged __, and is buried, here. This spot has to us a pathetic interest, since here for a year rested the remains of Gen. Sir Isaac Brock and his brave young adjutant, McDonell, who were four, times buried. First, at Fort George, where the bodies lay for twelve years, till the first monument was erected at Queenston, then, when the shattered shaft was taken down, the bodies were removed to the Hamilton burying plot till the vault of the present monument was ready in 1853.
One inscription reads
"Sacred to the memory of Robert Hamilton, born at Fort
Niagara, 1787, died 1856. Mary Biggar, his wife, born at Dumfries,
A large altar tomb commemorates a member of the well-known Dickson family. , He was a merchant in Queenston and carried on an extensive business there.
"Sacred to the memory of Thomas Dickson, who died in 1825, aged 50, also Eliza, his wife. He was a native of Dumfries, Scotland, came to this Province in the year 1789, and became a permanent resident of the District of Niagara, where he held various public situations, which he filled with credit to himself and advantage to the country, and as an active, intelligent and upright magistrate, a member of the Legislature and Colonel of Militia, none could have discharged the various duties incidental to the changeable situations with greater fidelity. In private life an affectionate husband and parent, a warm friend and kind neighbor, his urbanity endeared him to all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.
"Sacred to the memory of Eliza, wife of Thomas Dickson of Queenston, who, died 6th Sept., 1802, and of their only son, John Alexander, who died 18th July, 1821, in the 21st year of his age."
"Hannah Owen Hamilton, 1797-1888." This was the daughter of Wm. Jarvis, secretary, and wife of Alexander Hamilton, whom she survived almost 50 years.
"In memory of Caroline E. Hamilton, wife of Geo. Durand. At rest Nov. 26th, 1900; born Jan. 4th, 1835. Through the grave and gate of death to joyful resurrection."
"Our mother, Jessie A. Duff, died May 31st, 1890, aged 69
Midst war's alarms was born Mary Hamilton, 9th June 1813, only a few days after the battle of Fort George, when the town of Niagara was taken, 27th May.
Here again occurs an important name in the early history of our country:
"Hannah, wife of Wm. Jarvis, Secretary of the Province of U. C., died 1845, aged 84.
Shed not for her the bitter tear, Nor give the heart to vain regret, Tis but the casket that lies here, The gem that filled it sparkles yet."
Another: "Robert Hamilton lies here; born 1808; died 1868."
As the Hon. Robert Hamilton was married twice and had a large family of eight sons, the family connection is large and there are many names to be found here from intermarriages, as Tench, Duff, Durand, Mewburn, Gourlay.
Here lies buried Capt. John Humphrey Tench, late of H.
The family name has been well preserved, as the city of Hamilton thus derived its name, and the city of St. Catharines was named in 1809 from Catharine, the second wife of Hon. Robert Hamilton. The Hon. John Hamilton's residence, afterwards called Glencairn, by its owner, W. A. Thomson, was about two miles below Queenston, while that of Dr. Hamilton, another brother, was above the mountain. The Hon. John Hamilton, who has been called the father of Canada's inland marine, and was long honorably connected with the shipping of Lake Ontario, is buried at Kingston.
This noble shaft, says a late writer, is perhaps the finest isolated column, all things considered, in the world: 200 ft. high, the height of the figure 17 ft., and the situation unsurpassed, commanding a view of river, lake and plain. At some seasons of the year the varied colors of brown ploughed land, purple vineyards, the tender green of the wheat or brilliant crimson of the "maple forests all aflame," and the sombre pine woods, give the ennuied tourist at least a new experience.
The first monument was erected in 1824 and shattered with a gunpowder explosion by the miscreant Lett, in 1840, the present, begun in 1853, was finished in 1856; An immense meeting was held in 1840 on the Heights to devise means to replace the monument destroyed. Ten steamers bore representatives from Kingston, Cobourg, Hamilton, Toronto, and ascended the river in procession, while cheering crowds on the bank showed their enthusiasm. Eloquent speeches were made by distinguished men; nineteen motions afforded opportunity to twice as many speakers as movers and seconders. The first monument was erected by a grant from the Provincial Parliament, the present by voluntary contributions .of the Militia and Indian warrior's of the province. A grant from Parliament was given to lay out the grounds. The armorial bearings of the hero are supported by lions rampant seventeen in height, the motto Vincit Veritas. On the north face the inscription reads:
On a brass plate within the column is an inscription giving an account of the different burials, and on another a notice of Brock's brave A. D.C.
The spot where Col. McDonnell fell has lately been marked by a brass tablet placed on an immense boulder on the site of the Redan Battery about half way down the mountain.
"A monument was originally erected on this spot by a grant from the Parliament of this Province, and subsequently destroyed in the year 1838. The present monument was erected chiefly by the voluntary contributions of the militia and Indian warriors of this Province, aided by a grant from the Legislature, the, authority for erecting the same being delegated to a committee consisting of the following gentlemen: Sir Allan Napier MacNab, Bart. Chairman; Sir John Beverley Robinson, Bart., Sir James Buchan Macaulay, Knt., the Honorable. Mr. Justice McLean, the Hon. William Hamilton Merritt, M. P. P., Thomas Clark Street, Esq., Col. the Hon. James Kerby, Lieut.-Col. Daniel Macdougall, David Thorburn, M. P P., Lient. Garrett, late 49th Regt., Col. Robert Hamilton, Capt. H. Munro, Secretary, T. G. Ridout, Esq., Treasurer, William Thomas, architect, John Worthington, builder."
"In memory of Major David Secord, who died 1844, aged 85, also Mary Page, his wife
David Secord was a magistrate in 1796, and a member of the Legislative Assembly, U. C., in 1811. His claim for compensation for property burnt in the war was nearly £ 5000, as he owned many buildings. He was a Sergeant in Butlers Rangers and fought in the Revolutionary War.
Ezekiel Woodruff died in 1834 aged 73 and Samuel Woodruff in 1824. Richard Woodruff, born in 1784, died in 1872, was a Member of Parliament. His daughter is commemorated, recalling the name, of a celebrated railway king:
"In memory of Margaret Ann, wife of Samuel Zimmerman, daughter of Richard Woodruff, died 1851, aged 23."
Mr. Zimmerman was first buried at his home, Niagara Falls, but the body was afterwards reinterred in the vault prepared by him for his wife and sister. His name does not appear on the monument at St. Davids.
John Baptist Clement, died in 1833, and Mary Secord wife of Wm. A. Woodruff, born, 1818, died, 1895. An old stone has an inscription almost destitute of capital letters
"Jane wife of John Prest, queenston late a native sennington yorkshire England died in 1831."
A monument near the church to Ursen Harvey, born in 1800, has also the names of his two wives, Esther and Caroline. Mr. Harvey was the father of Mrs. J. G. Currie, who has given us the life of Laura Ingersoll Secord and so many interesting reminiscences of St. Davids' old settlers.
The names of Wadsworth, Clement, Crysler, and Clyde occur frequently. Many of these early settlers lived to great age as William Chrysler, died 1824, aged 92; Anne Clement Woodruff, born 1788, died 1878, aged 90 years, while Richard Woodruff, her husband, died 1872, aged 88. Major Adam Brown of Queenston, died 1874, aged 76, Col. Joseph Clement, died 1867, aged 76, and his wife aged 80. Maria Dewy, relict of the late Deacon Jacob Beam, died 1881, aged 88 years.
The name Secord is found frequently, as Azubah Hutt, wife of Philip Secord, aged 79. Riall Secord was evidently named from Gen. Riall of Lundy's Lane fame. Many rough, unshaped stones without letter or figure tell of those troublous times when the exigencies of war or refugee privations prevented the elaborate epitaphs of another period.
In the Warner family plot about two
miles from St. Davids, are found the names of many U. E. Loyalists.
Here again the surface lettering in the old stones is chipped
off. There is a small frame church, now unused, which replaced
an older one, built in 1801, the first Methodist church in the
peninsula. A stone wall had surrounded the enclosure, the remains
of which may yet be seen. One of the oldest stones is that to
Stephen Secord, who died in 1808, aged 49. We find from early
records that in the census taken by Col. John Butler at Niagara
in 1783, the name Secord occurs more frequently than any other,
as Peter, John, James, Thomas, Stephen. In Butler's Rangers there
were seven Secords, and the Stephen Secord buried here was one
of these. William Secord died in 1881, aged 83. We know from
other records that John Secord was living near Niagara in 1782,
and that the first white child born there was Daniel Secord.
William Van Every died in 1832, aged 67, and Elizabeth, his wife,
born Dec., 1764, died 1857. A pathetic story is told of members
of the Van Every family and others in Ryerson's U E. Loyalists,
"In memory of Dinah, wife of Jacob Hostetter, second daughter of Joseph and Mary Van Every."
And near this is a stone to Margaret Clow, wife of Daniel Ostrander, died 1824.
"In memory of Nancy, wife of Malum Swayze, born 1800, died 1828."
The Christian names Lois and Charity, Asel and Christian, Peter, Stephen, and David, frequently occur.
James Durham, dying in 1832, attained the ripe age of 85.
In a square enclosed by a brick and stone wall are three old grey monumental stones, one to Jemima Hill, who died in 1817, aged 18; another to "Mary Margaret Dufelt, relict of the late Joseph Clement, died 1845, aged 80."
Another stone and iron enclosure has an old grey double stone to two children of Robert and Margaret McKinley, who died in 1841 and 1813 respectively.
A monument to Margaret A. Berninger, wife of Robert McKinley, born 1769, died 1860, aged 91.
The name Warner occurs again and again and here are also besides those mentioned, Cain, Collard, etc. Christian Warner and Joseph Van Every were born here in 1809.
T he first Methodist class meeting in this district met at the house of Christian Warner, 1788, and the church was built in 1801.
Two miles from St. Catharines is an
old graveyard where were buried many of the U. E. Loyalists.
Six stately elms stand in a line at one side, while one lies
prone near them.
"Erected in memory of George Grass, who was killed in the battle of Fort George, May 27th, 1813, aged 24 years."
A tablet in St. Mark's, Niagara, gives the names of four, the stone at Chautauqua marks the burial place of three unknown British soldiers who fell in that battle, and this of George Grass is the only other one we know of.
Here are found the names of many of the Secord family as
A large altar tomb has the inscription "Capt. Jacob Ball, died July 24th, 1820, aged 43 years." Another beside it "Elizabeth, wife of Jacob Fall, born 1790, died 1862."
We find from early records that Jacob Ball, the father, came in 1782 with his three sons, Peter, Jacob, and John. A fourth son, George, came in 1784. They received a grant of land of 1,000 acres and there is still in possession of the Ball family in the township, 750 acres.
The names of Stull and Goring, Secord, Ball and Schram occur again and again and the fondness for scripture names of the Puritans is shewn as Seth and Charity, Solomon, David, and Jacob. Very often a verse with halting rhyme, metre, or Syntax, closes the inscription. A double stone is divided Perpendicularly for two inscriptions to husband and wife, a Young couple, aged 24 and 37 respectively. Below the words:
"As God together did us join, So He did part us for a time. But now we both together lies Till Christ shall call us to arise."
Very few give the place of birth, but those given are far distant, as Yorkshire, Nova Scotia Vermont.
"In memory of George Read, who was born at Brenton in Yorkshire, England, 1763, and came to New York in 1773 to Canada in 1784, and departed this life Feb., 1834."
1784 was, we know, "the year of the coming of the U. E Loyalists.
"In memory of Margaret, wife of Col. Peter Hare, and formerly wife of Lieut. Solomon Secord. died 1851. aged 87 years. Erected by Mrs. R. Henery. My mother's grave."
This is an old cemetery; we know of one at least buried here in 1812, but many bodies have been removed to the new cemetery, but we still find traces of many of the early settlers. In the life of Hon. Wm. Hamilton Merritt is frequently mentioned Shipman's Corners, (near St. Catharines,) and here is the name of its founder:
"In memory of Paul Shipman, born 1756, died 1825, aged 69 years."
From him St. Paul Street was named.
Here is also the record of the father of the projector of the Welland canal:
"In memory of Thomas Merritt, Esq., Cornet of the Queen's Rangers under Col. Simcoe during the American Revolution, and Major commanding the cavalry on this frontier in the war of 1812. Appointed Surveyor of Woods and Forests on 20th May, 1800, and Sheriff of the Niagara District, 5th October, 1803. Departed this life 12th May, 1842, aged 83,
The next inscription brings up the thought of the heroine, Laura Ingersoll Secord:
"In memory of Maria, relict of the late Charles Ingersoll of Ingersoll, second daughter of Thomas and Mary Merritt, died 1850."
It is sometimes forgotten that the town of Ingersoll was named after Charles Ingersoll.
In the journal of W. H. Merritt the name of his wife's father and mother frequently, occur.
"In memory of Penelope, wife of Dr. J. Prendergast, born 1774, in South Kingston, State of Rhode Island, died at the residence of her son-in-law, William Hamilton Merritt."
"To the memory of Jedidiah Prendergast, M. D, who was born in Duchess County, N. Y died at his residence in Mayville, 1848."
This name occurs as one of the proprietors of the Niagara Library of 1800-1820. He then lived at Youngstown, NY. A large monument has this short inscription: "Commodore Job Northrop, a native of Woodbridge, Ct, born 1787, died 1833. He was noble hearted, generous and humane."
The monument was brought all the way from New Haven, Ct. In the memoir of Hon. W. H. Merritt, Coin. Northrop is mentioned as generous and even lavish, driving fast horses, giving good dinners, spending money prodigally. Employed in the Bolivian service, on his return his role seemed to be to spend money. When his horses ran away the vehicle was given to the finder, and to his daughter, after playing a tune on the piano, a bank note was often given.
"Sacred to the memory of the late Reverend Lewis Wilhams, a native of Hallan, Caermarthenshire, South Wales, England, who labored a faithful minister and servant of God at this place for several years, departed this life 26th Sept., 1822, in his 63rd year, much lamented."
"Here lieth the body of Rev. Richard Lyons McArthur, M.A., Trinity College, Dublin, and for some months curate of St. George's church in this town, departed this life 1857."
"Caroline, daughter of James and Caroline Gordon, died 1814."
"In memory of Sarah, widow of Wm. Dummer Powell, died 1834, aged 54."
This must have been the wife of W. D. Powell, the lawyer of Queenston, and one of the ten who formed the first Law Society in 1797, in U. Canada. From a letter in the possession of the Niagara Historical Society from Queen-ston, 1801, to Robert Nelles, 40 Mile Creek (now Grimsby,) we learn that the couple had eloped and driven all the way to Niagara to be married by Rev. R. Addison, and the letter written to thank Col. and Mrs. Nelles for their help also speaks of the fatiguing ride to Niagara.
To this comparatively modern cemetery many bodies have been brought from private graveyards, or others being destroyed by the march of improvement. On an old grey stone may be read:
"In memory of Mrs. Hannah Frey, widow of the late Capt. Bernard Frey, who died 1834, aged 76."
On another, close by, a well-known incident of the war of 1812 is recorded:
"Sacred to the memory of Capt. B. Frey, of his Majesty's late Corps of Butler's Rangers, who was killed by a cannon shot at Niagara, 22nd day of November, 1812, aged 58."
The story is that he had picked up a cannon ball from the street and was carrying it under his arm when a spent ball from Fort Niagara struck that under his arm and he died in consequence, but without a wound. Part of the Frey family remained in the U. S., while this member preferred to join the U. E. L's. in Canada.
Some well-known names follow, as
An unpretentious stone records the projector of the Welland
Canal; that monument to his energy and foresight is quite near:
Hon. W. H. Merritt was Captain of Dragoons raised in the war of 1812, was taken prisoner at Lundy's Lane and was not released till the close of the war.
Two "beloved physicians"
"In memory of Chas. Rolls, born at Princes' Maston, Warwickshire, England, 1785, died 1867, also Henry Rolls, M. D., 1814-1887."
A monument to the father of Dr. Clark, who preserves the manuscript journal kept by his father, Col.. Clark, from which have been gleaned many interesting particulars of early life in this province:
"In memory of Lieut. Col. John Clark, Canada Militia, born at Kingston, U. C., 1786, died at Walnutdale farm, Grantham, C. W., 1862, also his wife, Sarah Adams, born at Queenston, U. C., 1791, died 1864."
A large enclosure is sacred to the
families of St. John and Phelps as Lois St. John, wife of Samuel
St. John, mother of Abigail Phelps, of Kent, Conn., born 1756,
died 1849, aged 93."
A large vault has the name of Thomas Burns, the son of Rev. Jno. Burns, minister of Niagara and Stamford. Another has that of Richard Miller, Q. C.
About two miles from St. Catharines
lie the remains of this family, in which there were two famous
soldiers, although here their names are not recorded. Particulars
of the first are found in a memorial in the Canadian Archives.
His son, Capt. George Turney, of the 2nd Lincoln Militia, was killed at the battle of Chippawa, 5th July, 1814 that day so disastrous to our forces. The name was originally written Torney.
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Graves and Inscriptions
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