Franktown cemetery 2015– photo by Linda Seccaspina
If you read the story of when I travelled back in time to find who belonged to a headstone left at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, you know how much I love a mystery. Leona Kidd ( got to meet her yesterday!) wrote the strange story, and it is included in the new Beckwith Then and Now book.
Word was when they realized they needed somewhere to bury local citizens, they had a lot of bush to clear to create a new cemetery in Franktown. Franktown in the early days was noted in the Province of Ontario Gazetter and Directory as a village on Goodwood Creek in the Township of Beckwith, County Lanark 15 miles away from Perth. Lands in the vicinity averaged $12 an acre, and the population was 200. The Brockville and Ottawa Railway also had a station near the village.
If you were part of “the better off” burial within the church itself was preferred, but in the case of Franktown the ground was too hard, so they found a location not far from the church. In those days one’s social status depended on the section of the ground where you were buried– preferable east. In such a location, the dead would be assured the best view of the rising sun on the Day of Judgment.
People of lesser distinction were buried on the south side, while the north corner of the graveyard was considered the Devil’s domain. It was reserved for stillborns, bastards and strangers unfortunate enough to die while passing through town. If you read my series on cemeteries last October, we had many an issue similar at St. James Cemetery in Carleton Place.
Suicides, were usually deposited in the north end, although their corpses were not allowed to pass through the cemetery gates to enter. They had to be passed over the top of the stone wall or fence.
Local Franktown man John Ferguson was in charge of the whole affair, and one day he stood there and admired all his work on the cemetery and wondered who would be the first person buried there. So my question to you is– who ended up being the first to be buried in the Franktown Cemetery?
Well, you will have to buy the Beckwith Then and Now book to find out. I know–that’s not nice but— I am very easy to find if you need to complain that I taunted you..:)