Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cemetery at Linton ~ stories to be guessed at

Photos by Barry Wallace
One of the few King Township cemeteries I had never visited until just recently was St. Paul's Presbyterian Church cemetery at Linton, on Hwy. 27 halfway between Nobleton and Schomberg.   The church is long gone but the cemetery lingers on, not surprisingly.   This a pioneer cemetery but has its share of latter-day burials and monuments from the mid-20th century.   There seems to be an equal number of old monuments proclaiming the Scottish and Irish origins of the long-departed.   There are a dozen gravestones that indicate their owners were born in the late 1700s and there is every reason to believe that many of these early King settlers were escapees from the potato famines in Ireland and the highland clearances in Scotland.   According to the Ontario Genealogical Society's Directory of Cemeteries for the Region of York, the person with the oldest birthdate who was buried at Linton, was John White.   He was born in 1770 and died in 1865, at the age of 95.   His wife, Sarah, was born in 1779 and died in 1879 at the age of 100 years.   One can't help but wonder at what age did these hardy souls arrive in Upper Canada.

Linton, like all the small, old cemeteries, with its carved monuments, only hints at the stories of those laid to rest here.   There are those who were laid to rest here at average ages for the times.   There were others who inexplicably lived to ripe old ages, like John and Sarah White,    above; he being born in 1770 and she in 1779.   He lived to be 95 and she 100.   Then there are the all-too-many children that never made it to adulthood, such as the children of the Reverend James Adams and his wife, Margaret.   They lost a daughter, named Margaret, just 15 days old, another daughter named Margaret, who lasted two years and three months, followed by the loss of an infant son.   Some parents had to see their adult children die in their prime, such as Hugh  and Ellen Riddell.   Over the course of 10 years, between 1881 and 1891,  they buried four of their children: Robert, aged 32; Isaac, aged 22; Ellen, aged 23; and David, aged 34.   One can't help but wonder what maladies or misfortunes overcame this family's adult children.

In all old cemeteries, one will come across headstones with names and dates obliterated by time and conditions, and others that are perfectly and beautifully legible.   Although now lying flat on the ground, the headstone of Letitia Bradford (one of those born in the late 1700s), is a fine example of the stonemason's carving skills.   While excellent craftsmen, stonemasons were not always good spellers in the 19th century.   Following is a transcription from a Linton headstone (1868) for a three-and-a-half week old baby boy named Marshall Montieth Lynn: 

This loving bud so young so fair 
Called home by early doom
Just came to show sweet flour (sic)
in paradice (sic) could bloom

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace


  1. The inscription gave me chills.

  2. Barry,

    You may be interested in these photos taken in the early 1970s of the now demolished St. Paul's Presbyterian Church