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.

When I am dead and buried – Hamilton Pioneer Cemeteries

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

Marks Binkley died in 1805 and had the following inscription placed on his gravestone:

“When I am dead and buried,
And all my bones are rotten;
When this you see,
Oh think of me,
Lest I should be forgotten”

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.

Signs and Omens – The Tale of Strange Lights

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

According to some folklore, strange lights can warn of approaching death.

There is a story that tells of a mother and son who were visiting relatives in the countryside. One evening, the mother and son were upstairs and glanced out the window to see two lights moving towards the farm house.

The lights were moving along a country lane and kept getting closer and closer.

Just as the lights appeared to be right outside the house, the light started to move away and then disappeared at a foot of a hill where the family cemetery was located.

The mother immediately went downstairs and the whole family searched house for a possible cause for the strange lights. Everything was moved, but no light or mirror could reproduce the effect.

A few days later, mother and son suddenly became ill.

And just as suddenly, they worsened and died.

Mother and son were buried in the family cemetery, just where the lights had disappeared.

Signs & Omens – The Tale of Sailing Ship Troy

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

In earlier times, people often believed that death could be foretold by signs or warnings. I don’t have any local tales, but here is one from New York State that I recently read in a book that was published in 1975.

Lake Champlain is a very stormy body of water, particularly late in the shipping season. There once was a sailing ship called the Troy and it was carrying a cargo of iron ore from Port Henry to Westport.

It was late November 1825, the winds suddenly picked up and the water became very rough. The ore shifted and the ship went under, taking all hands.

Typical for those earlier days, the crew was largely extended family and when the weather turned bad, family friends gathered on the pier hoping for the ship’s safe return.

At home, the mother and sisters sat around the fireplace; waiting with dry clothes and warm food for the boys.

Suddenly, women heard the men arriving home. There were sounds of front door opening and the stomping of the feet.

Everyone rushed to the door but no one was there.

The mother and daughters realized that this was a sign that the boys were not coming home.

A few days later, personal items from the crew began to appear on shore, but no bodies were ever found.

In the cemetery of Westport there is a stone maker that lists the missing crew members:

“Sacred to the Memory of Capt Jacob Halstead AE 25 years and his brother George Halstead AE 13 years Sons of John & Phebe Halstead who were lost together with three others the rest of the crew of the Schooner Troy in a gale of wind off Westport Nov 23, 1825”

The original story was published in the 1906 book entitled: History of Westport, Essex County by Caroline Royce.

As a side note; in 1999 a sonar scan of Lake Champlain located the Schooner Troy in about 300 feet of water. The ship is nearly intact and appears to be well-preserved. It is one of the few surviving examples of a sailing canal ship.

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).