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.
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.
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.–