Hamilton cemeteries in the age of wooden churches

St. Stephen's Anglican Church built in 1837.  Photo by @erskinec
St. Stephen’s Anglican Church built in 1837. Photo by @erskinec

When we look at today’s historic churches, we are often looking at a later building that is much larger than the original church. Not only are these buildings later, but they are made out of different building materials.

A lost Grave

The former grave site of Elijah Forsyth, who died in 1829, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec
The former grave site of Elijah Forsyth, who died in 1829, Hamilton (Ont). Photo by @erskinec

On Thursday, I wrote that a grave is a statement about place and family.

Another example is the lost grave of Elijah Forsyth.

In 1801, James Forsyth purchased 400 acres from Robert Hamilton for his son named, Caleb.

Twelve years later, Caleb divided up his land between his sons: Calib Jr and Elijah. Elijah got the western portion which is where the campus is located today.

According to unsourced notes that are located in the campus archives, Elijah, who a Methodist, held very extremes views.

On the morning of Oct 13, 1829, his extreme personality got the better of him. According to the notes, “he kissed his children before leaving the house. He then went into the woods and ended his life with a shotgun.”

Since it was suicide, the family had to bury him in unhallowed ground. There is a legend that he was buried where he died, a solitary grave overlooking a creek valley.