Photos by Barry Wallace
Hammertown, now not much more than a crossroads in the north-west part of King Township, was once a modest hamlet that apparently got its name from the ringing of the anvil in a blacksmith shop operated by a Thomas Elmer, on the south-east corner of the 12th Concession and the 17th Sideroad. So says Elizabeth Gillham in her 1975 book, Early Settlements of King Township Ontario. South of the long-ago, vanished smithy shop, The First Baptist Cemetery is still maintained to a certain degree by King Township, but the few remaining monuments are tumbled and derelict. Some other pioneer cemeteries in King Township are similarly and sadly disassembled. The two gravestones pictured below are, in my humble opinion, noteworthy. On the left , Edward McKay was born in 1780 at Islay, Arglyleshire, in Scotland, while on the right Donald Kennedy was also born in Scotland in 1780 and his wife Mary was born in the Highlands also, in 1791. These gravestones leave me wondering if these King Township pioneers were sorry victims of the cruel and outrageous Highland Clearances, torn from their birthplaces and years later peacefully laid to rest in the highlands of the King Ridge. The records of their existences have been transcribed and photographed, but what of the actual tombstones themselves? They lie fallen, but intact. For how long?
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