Hamilton Graves speak to Us

Jane Ann who died on Feb 23, 1848 at the age of 3 years, Binkley Pioneer Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec
Jane Ann who died on Feb 23, 1848 at the age of 3 years, Binkley Pioneer Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec

A grave is a statement about place and family. A grave say that we have roots in this landscape and these are the people who care about me, both in life and in death.

For Hamilton pioneers, the farm cemetery was a physical expression of those values.

In the Binkley 1805 Cemetery, there is statement about a young girl named Jane Ann, who briefly lived and then died on Feb 23, 1848. On the tombstone her family wrote:

“This lovely child, so young and fair,
Called home early by death,
She came to sleep like a flower,
In Paradise the last hour.”

Cemeteries anchor the historic imagination

Hamilton Cemetery is the Oldest Public Cemetery in Canada. Photo by @erskinec
Hamilton Cemetery is the Oldest Public Cemetery in Canada. Photo by @erskinec

“Cemeteries are key elements in the creation of memories, heritage, and attitudes towards the dead and the dying.” Deathscapes, Memory, Heritage and Place in Cemetery by Katherine Cook(2011), M.A. Thesis.

MacNab’s Family Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont).

MacNab's Family Cemetery at Dundurn Castle
MacNab’s Family Cemetery at Dundurn Castle

Like many Hamilton farming families, Allan MacNab had to create his own family cemetery. In the years before his death in 1862, MacNab’s Inchbuie cemetery would have held his first wife Elizabeth, who died in 1825; his only son Robert, who 1834; his second wife Mary, who died in 1846; plus his brother David and two of children.

After 1862, MacNab’s daughter Minnie was also buried at this location.

In 1901, the City of Hamilton purchased the Dundurn Castle property, except for Inchbuie. The photo show Inchbuie in 1901 within today’s landscape. At the time of photo, MacNab and his family would still have been located in the tomb.

As a result of a dispute over the land, Allan MacNab and his wife Mary were re-buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery because they were Catholics. Other members of the family were re-burried in the Hamilton Cemetery.

MacNab Family Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec
MacNab Family Cemetery, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec

The source of the 1901 image is the Flickr account of the Hamilton Public Library, Special Collections, while the details regarding dispute over grave locations is from book entitled the Hamiltonians by Margaret Houghton.

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.

Sir Allan MacNab buried at the family cemetery called Inchbuie, located at Dundurn Castle,Hamilton Ontario

The former family cemetery for the MacNab at Inchbuie
The former family cemetery for the MacNab at Inchbuie

Sir Allan MacNab was buried with: his son (Robert MacNab); his parents (Allan and Anne MacNab); his first wife (Elizabeth Brooke MacNab); his second wife (Mary Stuart MacNab); his brother (David Archibald MacNab); two of his brother’s children; and MacNab’s daughter (Minnie MacNab Daly).

Yr 1862 MacNab dies on Aug 8th at Dundurn Castle, Hamilton Ontario

Dundurn Castle, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec
Dundurn Castle, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec