A Most Picturesque Graveyard – Binkley’s Pioneer Cemetery

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

Despite development that has occurred around the Binkley graveyard, it still matches two descriptions found in the campus archives:

“The cemetery is on a hill over-looking the marsh a wedge-shaped piece nicely kept and very very peaceful.”

“The cemetery is reached by a winding road around the brow of the hill, most picturesque’

Before I knew there was a cemetery located here, I used to glance up from the parking lot that is located below and wonder whether those objects were tombstones.

Now years later, I have discovered one of the beautiful little spots in Hamilton. Judging by the quotes above, this is a timeless appreciation of this unique piece of landscape.

Some quarrels don’t end with death – the Binkley Hollows 1854 Cemetery

Binkley Hallow 1854 Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont) Photo by @erskinec
Binkley Hallow 1854 Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont) Photo by @erskinec

The Binkley Hollow Cemetery is another beautiful graveyard located across the valley from the Binkley Pioneer cemetery.

In the campus archives, there is an interesting note by an unknown author that was written in the 1940s.

According to the story, Hiram Binkley had a quarrel with his family, likely the father, and he decided to start his own cemetery in 1854.

The Binkley Hollow Cemetery holds 34 monuments and overlooks the same valley and former marsh as the 1803 Binkley Cemetery.

As mentioned in an earlier posting, cold winters can pose a challenge to burying the dead, and this was also the Hiriam’s own burial.

Hiriam instructed his family to bury him facing east so he could welcome the day of resurrection and that he be sealed in cement.

Maybe he feared grave robbers or maybe he feared that his estranged relatives might want to re-bury him in the main family cemetery. Whatever the reasons, his wishes could not be followed because the winter was very cold and the cement would not set.

As far as can be determined, Hiriam still rests at peace, waiting judgement day with his side of the family.

All in the Family – The 1803 Binkley Family Pioneer Cemetery in Hamilton (Ont)

The 1803 Binkley Pioneer Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec
The 1803 Binkley Pioneer Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec

Around 1801, the Binkley Family purchased 800 acres between the campus and Dundas. They set aside land for a church and school. They also set aside land for a family graveyard. The first people to be buried at the Binkley cemetery were David (b. 1752) and Margaret (b. 1750) Barringer in 1803.

Hamilton’s Family Farm Cemeteries

Binkley 1803 Graveyard, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec
Binkley 1803 Graveyard, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec

In the early years, Hamilton consisted mostly of farms. As a result, graveyards were typically devoted to one family. Located on the edge of the property where farming was difficult. The graveyard was often on a hill or overlooking a valley. The land was either sandy or offered good drainage.