Tag Archives: farmland

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)

The Abandoned Farm House in Carleton Place — Disappearing Farms




Photos by Finz19-Ontario Abandoned Places

Please note I did not take these pictures, as contrary to beliefs I do try to stay out of trouble:)

This is an old farmhouse on HWY 7 – Photos by Finz19

In Lanark County we have many farms that have been forced into abandonment like the one in the above picture. What kind of toll does it take on the former owners of these lost properties?  It would be false to say that farmers don’t become attached to their land and the memories of family connections.  Farmers take nothing and turn it into something, year after year and it becomes their life force.

The farm pictured above used to be the McCrae farm on Hwy #7 near Carleton Place. Murray and Audrey MacRae once proudly owned this home and their children’s names were: Linda, Cathy, Ann, Heather, Don, Jimmy, and Howie.  Now the buildings are in shambles and the walls are covered in graffiti.


Carolann Lowry McRae told me that the family initially sold it to an individual who bequeathed it to his son, who in turn sold it to a developer. As Sandra Hurdis Finigan from MPP Scott Reid’s office pointed out- “I did some research on the McRae farm on Hwy 7 for work. According to both distant family and Beckwith Township the farm was bought by a person who has let it get to this state”.

Miles away another kind of scenario played out in 2014. Frank Meyers on Meyers Creek Road near Trenton finally lost his farm to the government after a long battle. Is this what should happen when your family farms the same plot of land for 2½ centuries? “This is heritage property,” said the 81-year-old, pointing at his freshly plowed fields in Quinte West, Ont. This is the property that was given to my forefathers when they fought for the British army against the Americans. This land was designated for us.”

Today, the Meyers land has finally been expropriated and designated for something else: a new headquarters for Joint Task Force 2, the Canadian military’s top-secret special operations squad.  I am grateful for the military, who protect our freedoms, but what about Mr. Meyer’s freedom to live out his life on his own land and pass it onto future generations, as is his right?

Word is that the government acquires property like this for the “greater good”, whether willingly or by expropriation with not a care or thought into the history. More often than enough they do nothing with it after they acquire it. Frank & Marjorie Meyers are another prime example of what is happening to some of our farmland.  Frank will never cash the cheque they gave him as he wants his farm back.

In my opinion, the right thing to do would have been to let Frank Meyers sign a lease that allowed him lifetime rights to harvest. When they pass away–maybe then the government can take it and use it. Still wrong in my mind, but I don’t control the world. We can deem rights for a heritage building, so why not land? To think this is a unique situation, is to live with your head in the sand.

I feel for the families that have lived and worked their land for generations only to have them either taken away or deteriorate. Surely something better can be done. Have we no respect at all these days? We are now losing farms and farmland at an alarming rate, and I worry for the future as there are fewer resources now to sustain this industry. Each time I look at old photos of our former Lanark farmers from years gone by I know for a fact- one day we will regret the loss of our farms.



Photos by Finz19-Ontario Abandoned Places



Photos by Finz19-Ontario Abandoned Places




Photos by Finz19-Ontario Abandoned Places



So what happened to the old McRae farm?

Ted Hurdis —actually the province paid for the land to allow them to expand hwy. #7 from two lanes to four. I believe they then turned ownership back to the original owner who in turn sold it to a local contractor. There are a number of reasons it hasn’t been utilized since then.