Being Buried on Farmland



Joyce MacKenzie– Linda – I’m dropping this historical map off Carleton Place/Mississippi Lake off. My own ancestors settled in the area in 1832. I know that in the early days – the pioneer settlers were buried on their own lots.

So who is buried out there, and not in a cemetery? We have two small commemorated family burial sites in Carleton Place. The Willis family at Riverside Park on Lake Ave West, and the Morphy Cairn on Emily Street. So who else is out there? No idea, but if someone was buried anywhere and remains found, it would be reported and treated with dignity. So why did our ancestors bury their family on their farmland?

Traditionally, members of the family who owned a farm and the farm workers and their family members were also often buried on the farm. There were strong cultural and religious reasons why people wanted to be buried near their families and ancestors.  In those days families became increasingly identified with their farms, until cemeteries became more prevalent. Times have changed, however, and the practice of burying people in family graveyards on the farm has disappeared.

Early families were buried on private family residential land, or in small community or denominational cemeteries. By the 1850s, most of these small cemeteries had been pushed out of the more urban  areas and farm burials were rare even in the more rural surrounding townships. The pressure of urban growth led to the development of commercial cemeteries.

From my research, it was believed that the person’s status etc. in the life hereafter could be affected if the farmer and his family were not buried on farmland, and that they might even be punished by their ancestors. Such a person might also come back to haunt the living.


Kings Warks and Cemeteries–Interesting Discoveries of Lanark County

Most Obituary listings did not have a notation of the cause of death, but now the old obits offer a rare glimpse into the living conditions of a frontier environment that was fraught with perils and pitfalls.

Death by drowning, for example, was an occupational hazard for lumbermen. And sometimes the water killed you and there was a very real chance that you might be carried off by cholera.

As in one case I wrote about this year, family cemeteries have become a lonely spot where lay the remains of many of our ancestors, with a wooden slab. I know for a fact there are still some out there *now hidden away in time with foliage and age waiting to be discovered.

My choice is to have my ashes scattered on my property with my late dog Axel’s ashes similar to the farmers of days gone by. No headstone, no cemetery, just to become a memory with a tree planted on top of me- and no, I am not worried about my ancestors punishing me. As Tolkien said: Not all who wander are lost.


*Wayside Cemtery-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.

Lanark County – Cemeteries

The Forgotten Cemetery at the End of Lake Ave West

Kings Warks and Cemeteries–Interesting Discoveries of Lanark County

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Hit By Lightening— The Sad Tale of Henry Crampton

A Monument Back in Time –Time Travelling in Lanark County —Part 1

Like a Prayer I left My Mark in Franktown — Part 2

Marilyn Brown

As a child, on my way to Brewer Park and Bathing Island (in Old Ottawa South) my older brother by 6 years used to show me some old graveyards not to far – especially the one close to the playground. It was down an old, never used at this time path, and at the end of it, there was a small graveyard. ‘Scared the ‘Devil’ out of me (his intention) but haven’t checked it out all these years later. There were others within the city also. Guess it was allowed at the time.–

Lost Ottawa
July 16, 2016  · 

Beach-goers enjoy the waters at Brewer Park on a hot @Ottawa day in August of 1956.

Are you allowed to swim there anymore?

(City of Ottawa Archives CA039881)

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

2 responses »

  1. As a child, on my way to Brewer Park and Bathing Island (in Old Ottawa South) my older brother by 6 years used to show me some old graveyards not to far – especially the one close to the playground. It was down an old, never used at this time, and at the end of it, there was a small graveyard. ‘Scared the ‘Divil’ out of me (his intention) but haven’t checked it out all these years later. There were others within thecity also. Guess it was allowed at the time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s