Death Comes Early in 19th Century Hamilton

Binkley Hallow Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec
Binkley Hallow Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec

In the early years of Hamilton, death was common and could come at any time.

Reverend John Miller took charge of Ancaster Church on August 8th, 1830 and kept a parish record from 1830 to 1838.
Scanning his entries, it is easy to discover how the young often had very short lives.

On May 22nd, 1831 Rev. Miller buried 6th month old Elias, the son of Andrew Todd and Sarah Ann Kirby.

David, son of Thomas and Margaret was born on Aug 27, 1830. Rev. Miller baptized David on Sept 20th, 1830, but one year later he was buried on Sept 23rd, 1831.

There is one story from the 1794 Annville, Pennsylvania tells how 150 on horseback and in carriages followed a young father riding a horse and cradling a small coffin in his arms

Locally, there was the story of William Notman who would a have a successful career in Canada politics.

William was born in Scotland (1805) and then moved to Dundas in 1821. In 1827, he setup a law practice in Ancaster and started to raise a family.

On Dec 11th, 1832 William’s wife, Maria, gave birth to a daughter named Maria. The baby was baptized by Rev. Miller on Dec 15th; on the same day that Rev. Miller buried Mrs Maria Notman, aged 28.

Rev. Miller noted that 250 people attended the service that Sunday.

One month later, William Notman’s 2nd daughter, Emily who was dead. Emily died on Jan 11th, 1833 at the age of two.

The Ghost Story of Lover’s Lane

Odds and Ends – an artist’s notebook

Oct 26th – In the spirit of Halloween, I have re-posted an edited version of last year’s short film: the Legend of Lover’s Lane. Based on the long standing legend from Ancaster (Ont) of what happen at the Hermitage Mansion in the early years of the 19th century.

The Ghost of Lover’s Lane – Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster, Ontario

Odds and Ends – Monday June 8, 2015

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist, outside the campus art gallery
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist; outside the campus art gallery.

In the next week or so, the re-building of the Hermitage Ruins will begin.  My understanding is that the process will start with the numbering of all the stone in the main structure.  I have not heard yet whether they are going to save the remains of the outer buildings or not.

Last year, I had the good fortune to have the founder of Ghost Walks to show me the ruins. He told me the tale of Lover’s Lane and the Hermitage Ruins.  A few weeks later, I went on the actual tour – at night.  It was an amazing experience, and I strongly recommend the experience to everyone.

For those of you who missed the original posting, here is a repeat of the Legend of Lover’s Lane.

http://www.ghostwalks.com/hermitage.htm

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskine

 

Odds and Ends – The Hermitage

 

Artist Chris Erskine
Artist Chris Erskine

 

Working on a new film project and reflecting on different ways of using historical photographs and drawings in modern urban landscapes. Last summer, I tried a technique used in several recent documentaries.  I am not happy with the results.  As a result, I am still searching for a better way of accessing the past via present day landscapes.  I thought, however, that you may find these past attempts interesting.

Chris Erskine, artist

chrierskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

 

 

#Art Post No.7 – Very Merry Hermitage Xmas

I like to wish everyone the very best during the holiday seasons.  Here are a few moments of the Hermitage Ruins landscape covered in snow from earlier this month.  Unfortunately, it looks like a green Christmas this year, so please enjoy this short video as my Xmas card to you.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Hamilton Artist Update 36 – Hamilton City Hall

 

http://fatcats-starvingdogs.com A weekly update of Artist Chris Erskine’s art and art related interests.

This week: traffic problems on the 403, Hermitage fate goes before Hamilton City Council, the influence of Hamilton Artist Chris Healey.

http://chrishealey.me/

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com
@erskinec

#SavetheHermitage – Call to Action

Call to Action – Email 159 words of support to Hamilton City Council by 5 pm, Sept 24, 2014 to save the Hermitage Ruins that are located in Ancaster, Ontario. One word for every year that the Hermitage has existed. Council needs to know that the community will support their decision to save the Hermitage.

Here is the link to the Councillors emails

http://www.hamilton.ca/YourElectedOfficials/WardCouncillors/

Thank you in advance for your support

Chris Erskine
chriserskineartist@gmail.com
@erskinec

Hamilton Artist Update 31 – Hermitage Painting Sketch Project

This week, Artist Chris Erskine continues his painting sketch of the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster.  He also provides a quick update on the recent decision by Hamilton City Council to resolve the fate of the designated heritage buildings to the new year.  He also provides a brief update on the formation of a Facebook group entitled Save the Hermitage.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Meaning of Hermitage

What does the Hermitage mean to you?  This is the question posed by Leanne Pluthero and Marla Loretta (on Aug 22nd), organizers behind the Save the Hermitage Facebook page.  Artist Chris Erskine tries to answer this question as an individual and as an artist.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Fate of Hermitage Hangs in the Balance

This Tuesday, the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee will decide the fate of the Hermitage Ruins, located in Ancaster, Ontario.

At issue is how much of the Hermitage will be saved.  The Hamilton Conservation (HCA) authority is proposing to reduce the surviving walls to a height of 3 feet, except for the area immediately around the main entrance to the mansion.

The HCA case for partial demolition of the Hermitage is based on safety and costs.

The safety argument is based on people jumping off walls seems a bit of a stretch.  If that is the standard for safety then the gates at Dundurn Castle will need to be torn down.

If the argument is that the walls may collapse then proper fencing around the structure (until proper restoration work is performed) should address any insurance concerns.

People, who knowingly climb over or under fencing that is setup to protect them from falling stones, should no longer be able to hold the Hamilton Conservation Authority responsible. This is why the City puts up fencing and signage around construction sites.

With regards to the money, the Hamilton Conservation Authority is a large organization with significant resources available to it, much more than the average home owner.

In addition to its own budget, it has access to further resources through its foundation (including the ability to fund-raise).  Therefore, there is no financial reason why the HCA cannot do full and proper restoration work.

Furthermore, the HCA has had stewardship responsibilities for over 40 years, lots of time for them to plan and set aside funds for proper restoration work.  The issue isn’t money or safety, its values. It appears that the HCA does not value the Hermitage Ruins, and if you do not value something, why would you invest in proper restoration.

When the HCA comes before the Committee on June 24th, it is my hope that the Permits Committee will stand up for our heritage and say no to any request for a partial demolition.

In my view, the job of the Permits Committee is to protect our designated heritage, not smooth the path towards it destruction.

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec