Tag Archives: cemeteries

The John Dunlop Burial Site Almonte


John Dunlop Burial Site

Lot 12, Con 6, Ramsay Twp.

Burials – 1873 – 1900

Photos taken at least 15 years ago by Effie Robertson, nee Dunlop, great-granddaughter of pioneer John Dunlop and Jane Liddle.

History of the Dunlop Family in Britain, Canada and the United States, published by Beatrice Murray Dunlop in October 1935.

“It is said of John Dunlop that he was typical dour Scot.  Walking across his acres one day, he stopped suddenly, drove a stake into the ground and strode on without explanation.  This action was taken to mean that he wished to be buried at that spot, and there he was buried in July, 1873.  His wife, Jane Liddel (Liddle) died the following year and lies buried beside him in the acres they cleared.”

In Memory of

John Dunlop, died July 26, 1873, aged 81 years.

Also his wife, Jane Liddle, died May 4, 1874, aged 84 years.

Native of Scotland.

Emigrated to Canada in 1821.

2 small stones beside the main headstone with the initials – J. D. and J. S.

It is also believed that George Dunlop, son of John Dunlop and Jane Liddle is also buried here in 1900.

This picture was taken by Don Cooper, in the summer of 2001.

Pictures supplied by Fran & Don Cooper – donfran@sympatico.ca – Posted 18 December, 2001.


Kings Warks and Cemeteries–Interesting Discoveries of Lanark County

Another Disappearance in Lanark County

Found on a Hill in Beckwith – Country Roads Take Me Home

Hit By Lightening— The Sad Tale of Henry Crampton

Whatcha’ Talkin Bout Willis? — This Old House in Carleton Place

Twitching or Grave Dousing– Our Haunted Heritage

Before and After — Auld Kirk

The Statue of Liberty of Carleton Place

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

The Non Kosher Grave — Our Haunted Heritage

So Who was Buried First in the Franktown Cemetery?

Tales of the Tombstones — The Crozier Children

Personal Confessions—- I am a Taphophile



A few weeks ago Janice Tennant Campbell  put a photo on my page saying I was a taphophile.  A taphophile is someone who loves cemeteries and funerals. Canadian Headstones.com is where gravers spend time when they’re not in cemeteries. It’s a sprawling database of thousands of burial records. Each record consists of a page where the living can enter a deceased’s name, and find the burial location These hard-core gravers, like genealogists, have built a culture around documenting the dead. Some ask me about my search for history and say,

Really? You don’t have anything better to do than this?”

I can assure you I don’t spend all my free time with dead people.

Taphophilia has always seemed a strange term to me. Perhaps it’s too scientific, or maybe it smacks just a bit too much of hipsterism.  Akin to the idea of cemetery collector, I’ve always fashioned myself as a memory collector, pocketing the histories of men and women long gone and yet still oddly alive when I stroll past their stones. It’s always about memories, even on a mission at the Oakland California cemetery last year looking for the Black Dahlia’s grave.


I don’t feel I am morbid and like to talk about death all the time, in fact I think I have a pretty laid-back attitude toward graving. But I do take time to note strange names—or the forgotten. A cemetery is a powerful place. With all its lifelessness, it is mighty and compels me to think about my choices: Do I make a contribution? Do I live my passions?  Do I make a difference?

A cemetery is authoritative in its unassuming way of humbling us, and yet empowering in its wake-up call for us to appreciate what we have here. Do we really fear death—or do we fear not truly living? I always feel inspired by the lives that lived before me and the legacy they have left for me.
 Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Twitching or Grave Dowsing– Our Haunted Heritage


Last October 28th on our Cemetery Walk we had a demonstration of twitching or grave dowsing. I have added an article by Brenda Marble from the Cass County Historical & Genealogy Society Volunteer.


Photo of our local gal Lorna Drummond who did the Coulter cemetery, and provided us examples at St. James Cemetery in Carleton Place.


Marked Coulter private cemetery outside of Clayton, Ontario

Dowsing is an age-old art that has been used for centuries to locate water, graves and etc. I first learned about grave dowsing from a fellow volunteer, Marian Schlicher, at the Cass County Historical Society while working on “The Cemetery Project”. Since that time, I have conducted several of my own experiments and researched different theories. I still don’t know that answer as to just exactly why this technique works, but I can assure you that this technique does work and has been proven. I will attempt to teach you how to dowse for graves in this article.
There are several ways to make dowsing rods, but I since I have only used one of these methods, that is the method that I will recommend.

Start with 2 metal coat hangers. Cut them at the neck just before the point where they join to form the hook of the hanger.
Straighten each hanger, trying to get out all bends.Once the hangers are straight, make a 90 degree bend for the handles. I recommend that the handles be 3 to 4 inches long. You may need to vary the handle length depending on the size of your hand.

Hold the rods lightly in your hands, with elbows at your waist and forearms parallel to the ground. The rods should be held straight out, also parallel to the ground and parallel with each other. Do not place your thumbs over the bend of the handle, this will restrict movement. Do not grip too tightly, only enough to keep the rods parallel.
Approach the suspected gravesite, walking very slowly.
If a body is present, the rods will cross in front of you when you are over the grave. Once you step off of the grave, they will uncross.

Let me stress that in order for this method to work properly, you must go to a cemetery with marked graves and PRACTICE. Everyone develops a slight variance in their technique and just because something works for me does not mean that it will work exactly the same way for everyone. For some, this method will not work at all, but I have found that it works for at least 90% of the people that I have taught this method to. Some people have associated dowsing with witchcraft, however, I do not believe that 90% of the population are practicing witches, I’m certainly not which means that there has to be a scientific explanation and requires no “Special Powers” by the person who is performing the dowsing.

Most cemeteries in the United States bury their dead in a Christian manner. This means that all bodies are laid with the head pointing west and the feet pointing east. It is very important to remember this, as the layout of the body will later help you determine the gender of the person buried there and also help determine if the burial ground contains human remains. I have not yet experimented with Indian burial grounds. It is my understanding that many of them are buried in a sitting position so some alterations to this technique may be necessary while dowsing in Indian burial grounds or cemeteries with different religious backgrounds. The techniques I describe in this segment will be based on Christian burials.

As mentioned earlier, Christian graves are laid out in a west/east direction. When trying to locate a lost cemetery, it is best to walk in north/south direction in order to pick up a pattern. Usually you will find the graves to be separated by 2-3 feet. As you cross each grave, the rods will cross and then uncross as you step off of them. I find that I take 2-3 steps between each grave (this may vary depending on the size of your step, which is why practice is, important). If you find that a pattern develops (cross, 3 steps, cross, 3 steps, etc.) you have most likely found a cemetery. You will then need to determine the perimeter of the cemetery. By walking north and south, you can come pretty close to determining where the burials begin and end. When you reach the edge of the burial ground and are not longer picking up bodies, go back to the last grave and begin walking east and west. You will now be picking up on the length of the body, you will get some variances depending on rather infants, children or adults occupy the end graves. Keep walking east and west until you are no longer picking up bodies. By the time you have completed a square, you will have a good idea of the perimeters of the cemetery. Be sure to always check past the last body for at least 20 feet. Remember that you are looking for a pattern. You will find that Christian burial grounds are very well laid out. Side by side and head to toe in perfectly straight lines. This is important to note because animals can also be picked up with dowsing rods, however, it would be unusual for an animal burial ground to be laid out so symmetrically. So, the symmetrical layout of the burials is your first clue that the remains are most likely human.

There are two methods to determine gender of the person buried. The first one can give a false reading depending on rather the undertaker buried the person correctly, the second method has proven to be foolproof, so far. It is VERY important to use both methods when determining rather a burial site contains human remains.
Method 1: (Overhead) Standing over the center of a grave, hold one rod over your head. The rod will swing around and point to the feet of a male or the head of a female. I don’t know the scientific reason for this, but I can only guess that each gender is polarized to the earth by different portion of the body. You may get a false reading. It is uncommon, but does happen, that a person can accidentally be buried backwards. I have found this several times which is why method # 2 is used as confirmation.
Method 2: (One-finger) Standing over the center of the grave, balance the handle of one rod on your index finger, holding the rod straight down. The rod will begin making a circular motion. It will rotate clockwise for a male and counterclockwise for a female. No matter how the body is laid in the grave, this method will give the correct gender. This method can also be used when more than two people are buried in one coffin or one grave. In this case you will need to go over the entire grave using the one-finger method. If there is a break between the bodies or a difference in gender, the rods will swing in a pendulum motion and then resume a circular motion. This is good to use when an infant is buried with their mother, etc.
Combining the two methods will help determine human or animal remains. Animals will also register gender but it is unlikely that they will all be buried in a Christian manner. So if you find several burials, use the gender methods to determine the layout of the bodies. If all heads point west and the one-finger method agrees with the overhead method, then most likely you have found human remains.
Since I starting using this technique, I have often wondered what causes the rods to cross. I have done some research and have found that several scientists claim that the rods pick up a disturbance in the earth’s magnetic field, other’s claim that they are picking up the gases from decaying bodies. I have proven that these theories are incorrect. I give a presentation on dowsing and use a video tape to demonstrate the different techniques; however, this could easily be faked. In order to convince my audience that this method truly works, I asked for volunteers to test the method on living subjects. Much to their amazement, the rods will cross over the body of a living human while they are lying on the floor. They will also give a gender reading. So, the above theories by scientist cannot be true if this method works on living individuals. It has to have something to do with the magnetic field given off by our bodies that remains with the body even after death.

Water dowsing is done much the same way as your basic grave dowsing, however I have found a slight difference in the reaction of the rods when finding a large body of underground water. For me, when I walk over an area that contains a well or larger body of water, my rods begin to take me in a circular motion, both of them pulling me to one direction and around. On water pipes, however, I still get the rod crossing. This segment is important as you must learn to recognize rather you are picking up on a burial or on a water source. You can usually solve this rather quickly by following the length. Most of the time, your water source is a water pipe and once you find the direction that the pipe is laid, the rods will stay crossed as long as you remain over it. One step to the left or right though, will cause your rods to uncross, further establishing the fact that you are over a pipe. This is great for finding the water pipes in your yard and will save money if you ever have to have them dug up.

Once again, I’m including another segment on practice. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. You cannot be sure that the readings you are getting are accurate unless you have perfected the technique while practicing on marked graves. Do not look at the stone before you attempt dowsing. Do all the methods mentioned above, make your determination and then verify it with the information on the stone. Doing this over and over again, varying gender and ages, and soon you will become comfortable enough to be confident of your dowsing. The more comfortable you become, the more sensitive you will become with the rods. If you are having trouble getting this method to work for you, then you are probably holding the rods too tightly, placing your thumbs over the bends of the rods or walking too fast. If you can rule out these three most common problems, then you probably fall within the 10% who cannot perform this technique.

There are many skeptics who will say that this technique does not work. In the summer of 2000, I was given the opportunity to prove that grave dowsing does work when I was called to a local cemetery to check a lot for unmarked graves. Upon dowsing, I found 3 unmarked graves located in the lot. The family, doubting this method, instructed the funeral home to dig anyway. Two wooden coffins were found in the exact locations that the dowsing rods had indicated, the 3rd location was not checked. Was this just luck? You be the judge.

Brenda Marble
Cass County Historical & Genealogy Society Volunteer




Howls in the Night in Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

The Devil You Say in Carleton Place? Our Haunted Heritage

Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

The Non Kosher Grave — Our Haunted Heritage

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling — Our Haunted Heritage

 Could the Giant Pike of Carleton Place Have Turned Into the Lake Memphremagog Monster?

Carleton Place Was Once Featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Our Haunted Heritage

Young Hearts Run Free — Warning– Story Could be Upsetting to Some

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


Part 2 of  A Monument Back in Time –Time Travelling in Lanark County


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.

Wayside Cemetery

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.