Jennifer Fenwick Irwin reminded me as I told her of my thoughts on William Davis that the Lilac Festival was on in Franktown. She suggested I try to ask a lot of people if they knew where this lost cemetery was that Mary Davis was buried in. I decided to start where it all began for William Davis and his family. St. James Anglican Church in Franktown.
Gary Leach, the warden of St. James filled me in on the history and I was overwhelmed by the historical beauty of the interior of the church right down to the original gas light fixture still hanging in the centre of the church.
St. James Church of England, Franktown, (above photo) as photographed in 1925 by Colborne P. Meredith. The new belfry with pointed openings, the removal of the coating of harl to reveal the stone construction of the walls, and the removal of the pediment halfway up the tower were the only exterior changes made when this church wsa gothicised in the med 1890’s. The cracks in the front wall betrayed this as Beckwith’s oldest surviving church building. During the century between its construction and the taking of this photograph, this church had come down in status from being the centre of the rectory of Beckwith that included mission stations at Carleton Place, Smith’s Falls, Pakenham and Fitzroy, to become the tail end of the parish of Montague with Franktown. The erroneous construction date of 1833 on the sign board would later be replaced by the equally wrong date of 1822 on a datestone. This church actually was built in 1827 and 1828. National Archives of Canada negative no.PA-26902
St. James Anglican Church – Franktown
128 Church Street – Lot 11, Con.3
History dates back to 1818 when the first settlers came to Beckwith Township. Large tracts of land were surveyed, and townships formed, one being Beckwith in 1817. These settlers were Scots Presbyterians and Church of England adherents, many from Ireland.
St. James is recognized as one of the oldest Anglican churches in Eastern Ontario in continuous use. The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1822 and completed in 1827. The stained glass windows were from England, and had to be stored in Perth until the roads were passable.
Capacity of the church was reported to be 250 to 350, as there was originally an upper level gallery. In 1852 a meeting was held for the Missionary Church Society with 250 persons attending. It was the mother church of Carleton Place and Smith Falls.
With declining populations, in 1958, St. James became part of the Clayton Parish, sharing its Rector with St.George’s Clayton, and St. John’s Innisville. However, this little stone church still stands as a memorial to the hardy pioneers who built it.
At present Sunday services are held at 8:30 a.m. and ALL ARE WELCOME
Gary was very interested in my story about William Davis and he told me exactly where the Franktown cemetery was. It was not located near the church as the ground had been too rocky to contain a cemetery. I gave him a copy of my book Tilting the Kilt- Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and he put my business card on the bulletin board. He told me that each week a different parishioner would take my book home and read it. I found this very cool as the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum’s new exhibit is: They Left Their Mark so I found this quite fitting.
Gary told me that I would have a difficult time finding the lost burial plots as it was on private land and now covered over in growth. I was really disappointed in hearing that, but I went to the Franktown Cemetery to find the “replacement” monument for William and Mary Davis. I had looked up their headstone on the Canadian headstones site and knew exactly what it looked like.
When I walked into the graveyard I felt like part of my mission was complete. As I looked at the marker for William and Mary I knew we at least had one of the original headstones. One day it would go back to its rightful place in Beckwith Township and maybe Mary and William could finally be reunited.
I thought Mary was at the Wayside Cemetery but she is not, as I checked the list they had. So, it has to be a smaller burial plot somewhere on that road.
GPS Location: N 45 02′ 11.7″ – W 076 09′ 37.0″
Located corner of Tennyson Road and Beckwith Conc. 7, across from Baptist church Wayside. Very unkempt and has long been abandoned. Many stones of Scottish settlers. The Tennyson road was a main route to Richmond and Carleton place from Perth. Wayside had at one time, a cheese factory, a school and two churches.