Sunday, January 6, 2019

The O'Heron Children and Contribution


Children of M & C O'Heron (ordered by year of death) 
JANET A. DIED DEC 29 1861 AGED 1YR 3MOS 20DYS
CARRIE A. DIED SEPT 13 1871 AGED 18 DAYS
ALICE DIED AUG 16 1873 AGED 4 YRS & 3 MOS
JAMES DIED FEB 15 1875 AGED 6MOS 10DYS
  
The O'Heron monument gives us a glimpse into the tragic timeline of this family. Four children departed within fifteen years of each other -the oldest being four years old, the youngest eighteen days old. The sorrow from the loss of their children is inconceivable. The O'Heron's never got to experience the joys of watching these children grow into adults. As a parent my heart just sank when I began to read the inscriptions on this white bronze monument. Too many of the graves I've visited are that of children who had passed during the nineteen hundreds. All I can say is, I'm grateful for the medical advancements our society has accomplished within the last century and am surprised by how often life is taken for granted.

I was touched when Jon Armstrong the great grand son of Morris and Catherine O'Heron contacted me after reading my post The O'Heron Children. He shared with me information about his families history which I've been given permission to post. Thank you Jon, it was a pleasure learning more about the O'Herons.

Morris O'Heron Sr. was born in Ireland around 1797 and came to Ontario sometime before 1830. His wife Margaret was born in Pelham, Ontario in 1804 and died at Waterford in 1878 and is buried at Greenwood Cemetery.

They had at least two children, Morris Jr. (b. 9 Mar. 1833 d. 19 Mar. 1886 -Jon's great grandfather) and James who was born sometime around 1824 and died at Waterford in 1881.

James wife's name was Jane she is thought to have ran a millinery in Waterford; as the first millinery recorded in 1876 was that owned by Mrs. James O'Heron. It was said that her business was on West Street. Later, the business was owned by Mrs. Mariott and Miss Margaret Watkins.


Morris Jr. was a blacksmith/wagon maker and owner of a livery in Waterford -going south from Alice Street on Auty Street it was the second building on the west side of the street. He is believed to have been  married three times. Although not much is known about his first wife, they had at least two children; William (b. 10 Oct. 1853 d. at Simcoe 27 Feb. 1913) and Margaret (b. 1862 and died in Portland, Oregon in 1930).


The second wife of Morris Jr. was Charlotte Caroline Smith b. 28 Dec. 1835 d. 12 Dec. 1879 at Waterford of "dropsy." In Charlotte's final will she left her son John -who was 2 years old at the time- the following piece of property in Simcoe; "south half of town lot #16 on the west side of Colborne Street North." Children of Morris Jr. and Charlotte Caroline Smith;

Janet A. died 29 Dec. 1861 aged 1 year, 3 months and 20 days.

Josephine Isabelle b. 15 May 1864, Married James Fleming and died 23 Apr. 1954 in Canada

George b. 1865 who not long after Charlotte's death went west.

Alice b. Apr. 1867 d. 15 Aug. 1873

Carrie A. b. 27 Aug. 1871 d. 13 Sept. 1871

James Morris b. 5 Dec. 1874 d. 15 Feb. 1875

Sarah Alberta b. 1875 d. 1962 at Hornell, NY. Married to Howard Schultz.

John Norbert b. 6 Apr. 1877 d. 6 Apr. 1958 at Hornell, NY. (Jon's Grandfather)

Morris Jr. was married a third time to Arabelle Crabb Smith (b. Nova Scotia in 1839). Morris died at Waterford on 19 Mar. 1886 of indigestion and Arabelle died not long after. The family story is that she was found frozen to death at Morris' grave... Although there is no verified account of this happening Jon was told this story many times growing up.

John Norbert O'Heron was orphaned shortly before his eleventh birthday and went to live in Simcoe with his step brother and step sisters families. He enlisted into the British Army and served in the Boer War in South Africa. He later returned to England and married Jon's grandmother, Ethel Jane Murray of Dover. They came to the United States in 1909 and settled in Hornell, NY. They were the parents of three children, Murray, Carolyn and Mary Margaret (Jon's mother).

Divining the Stones

Hare Family Plot - Oakwood Cemetery, Simcoe, Ontario.
The Hare Memorials like most headstones tell a story, which through the symbols and inscriptions we can begin to piece together.

For even the son of man came not to be ministered unto,
but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many.
-Mark 10:45 King James Bible

Left: Doctor Dora Hare Dec. 26, 1894 - Sept. 13, 1945
Right: Lena May Hare R.N. June 28, 1904 - May 27, 1994

We have two women close in age, who both worked in the field of medicine but what connects these two women? A variation of the Chi Rho with interlocking wedding bands carved upon both their memorials tells us these women were both married but to who?

At the foot in between these women's memorial rests the gravestone of Robert B. Hare.

Robert B. Hare F.R.C.S Jan. 18, 1891 - Nov. 12, 1976
Here are interred, the ashes of the above, between the
two women, who have given me more love and
comfort than most men receive or deserve.
R.B.H.

To the left of Robert's stone at the foot of Dora's grave lays Michael Hare's memorial.

Michael Hare Oct. 5, 1931

After reading these memorials it's easy to surmise that Dora was Robert's first wife and that together they conceived Michael. Based on what little information was given on Michael's stone I believe he either did not make it to term or died shortly after being born. Sometime after Dora's passing Robert married his second wife Lena May. Of course this is all conjecture, the next step is to use the names and dates to search local archives to find solid facts through obituaries, marriage, birth and death records. So far I have been able to locate an Obituary for Dora Hare which supports my conclusion that her and Robert were indeed husband and wife.



R.N. -Registered Nurse
F.R.C.S. -Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons
Source: Canad. M.A.J Nov. 1945 , vol.53  pg. 513 Obituaries

"Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of these lovely and heart warming stones. Michael Albert Hare died 5 October 1931 surviving only 6 hours after his birth. (Death registration #025223 Norfolk County). His parents' residence at the time of his death was listed as 132 Norfolk Street South, Simcoe, Ontario.Robert Hare and Amy Dora Adams were married in Toronto on 15 September 1921. He was 30 and a medical student and she 26. No occupation was listed for her on the registration. (Archives of Ontario MS932, Reel 566, County of York). The Toronto Star death notice for Dr. Amy Dora Adams Hare did not list any children" -Readers Comment

Friday, September 1, 2017

Norfolk County Poor House & Burying Ground

Poorhouses, also known as Industrial Farms, Houses of Refuge, and Infirmaries, were the Canadian Governments response to poverty in the late Eighteen hundreds. Houses of Refuge were considered a last resort for the elderly, mentally disabled, and destitute. Public opinion of the time held that these individuals got what they deserved, and that their moral failings could be eradicated through hard work and order. Residents, or inmates -as they were referred to- would work in exchange for minimal accommodation, clothes, and food. Inmates also experienced restricted freedoms and punitive rules, but not everyone was accepted into these work houses; Township council would decide who was and who wasn't the deserving poor.

Ontario passed the Houses of Refuge Act in 1890, which provided municipalities with grants to purchase land and construct a sufficient dwelling. The Children's Protection Act of 1893, was amended to keep children out of Poorhouses, as they were not to serve as orphanages nor as shelter for children of dependent families. By 1903, every County was required to establish a House of Refuge due in part to the increase of elderly in need of assistance. The progression of social policy over time evolved Poorhouses into what we now recognize as nursing homes.


Prior to a Poor House being established in Norfolk County, paupers would often seek asylum in the county gaol. Although the gaol committee had no authority to opens it's doors to the destitute, in extreme cases it was compelled to do so less it allow paupers to die in the streets. Gaols where no place for the vulnerable in need of relief, which becomes apparent when faced with accounts such as this one from the Brant Herald on January 11, 1854:

"MURDER - INTEMPERANCE - A horrible murder was committed in the Gaol at Simcoe on Monday night of last week, which had its origin in rum. The following particulars of this melancholy affair, we copy from the Brant Herald. It appears that a dissipated vagabond named William Boycan, better known as 'Yankee Bill', had been causing disturbance through the evening in the streets, and in a grocery in the town, and was in consequence committed to the Gaol for the night. At his own request Boycan was put in a cell with a decrepit old pauper, named James Goodhue, who was kept in the Goal in mere charity. When the gaoler left the cell Boycan appeared composed and on excellent terms with his fellow prisoner. Some time in the night, however, the prisoners in the adjoining cells were awakened by cries of 'Mercy', 'Murder', and noises as of persons struggling in the cell occupied by Boycan and Goodhue - Thinking that Boycan was offering violence to the old man, they made every effort to compel him to desist by calling to him and to awake the gaoler, whose apartments are in another part of the building, but without avail. The old man Goodhue was murdered. An inquest was held on Tuesday, before N. Lamson, Esq., Coroner. The gaoler Mr. Walker, in his evidence, stated that on entering the cell in the morning he found Goodhue lying dead and Boycan apparently insane. He had heard nothing in the night. The body of the deceased presented a most revolting spectacle. His head has been dashed against the floor and wall and was beaten almost to a pulp. The scalp had been torn from the skull and a large piece was bitten out of one of his arms. One of his fingers was bitten nearly off. The jury, after deliberation, rendered a verdict of wilful murder against William Boycan. Boycan appears to be quite insane, no doubt from his habitual intemperance."


William Mercer Wilson, along with others of similar sentiment, influenced Norfolk County Council to authorize the first House of Refuge in Upper Canada -Ontario. In 1868, their facility was established on a hundred acres of land with existing buildings previously purchased from United Empire Loyalist Zebulan Landon. Located west of the town of Simcoe on part of Lot 16 and 17 in Woodhouse Township. Mr. and Mrs. Wallis were hired as the first officer and matron. On October 12, 1868, the first inmate, a 41 year old man from Townsend was admitted. By 1871, the number of residents had risen to thirty-two and would continue to rise.


On Saturday August 4, 1877, at eleven o'clock at night, a fire broke out at Norfolk's Poor House. An elderly blind inmate helped to evacuate several residents, while onlookers helplessly watched in horror as seventeen inmates burned to death -seven men, eight women, and two boys. Four other men were badly burned, two of which did not survive. The Norfolk Reformer reported "As many of them were old and feeble and incapacitated by disease, the task of rescuing them from the fire was one of great difficulty... Some burned in their beds, not having sufficient strength to move themselves from their couches. The cries for help of the poor creatures who were literally roasting alive were heart-rendering. Those who were present will never forget the anguish and suffering witnessed at the burning of the Norfolk Poor House. Poor old women and men who had sought an asylum to spend their days were ushered into eternity with scarcely a moments warning." In the presence of the deceased an inquest was held, although several theories were offered authorities never identified what caused the fire.

That Sunday morning two boxes were constructed to house the charred remains of the victims which were then interred in the burying ground at 5 pm that evening in two graves. "The ceremony was not very imposing as the bodies were placed in the grave without either song or prayer," reported the Reformer. "The old verse 'Rattle his bones over the stones/He is a pauper whom nobody owns' was most appropriately illustrated. Men who had fought for their country in 1812 here came to their death in the Poor House conflagration, and their bones were dumped in a hole without the tear of a relative or regret of a friend. Poor old women who had raised large families and watched them with a mother's care were literally roasted, being so emaciated by disease that they were unable to remove themselves from the scorching flames. How wise a provision it is that we are not permitted to know what is in store for us."

Other detailed accounts of this tragedy including the names of it's victims can be found in these New York Times articles: Appalling Disaster In CanadaSeventeen Paupers Burned


In the wake of the most horrendous fire Norfolk has witnessed, the county began to rebuild being awarded two thousand dollars insurance. The cost of a new brick building however, amounted to $45,000.00, and was contracted out to A.J. Dalby, of Jarvis. By June 1878, the new facility was complete, and served as the County Home until 1961. Norview, a long term care home, was then erected to the north of it.


Many died while taking up residence in Poorhouses. Often their remains were buried in unmarked graves on the property. Norfolk's Poor House Burying Ground had marked graves, unmarked graves, and two mass burials. It's unknown how many are interred on the property, or exactly where the burial ground is for that matter. During the time of the Second World War, the grounds fell into neglect, eventually being reclaimed by the forest, as many of the markers slowly sunk into the earth. In the early 1970's, under the supervision of Mr. Robert Landon, and Mr. Cecil Pettinger, twenty-eight headstones were removed from the woods and encased in cement at their present location northeast of the Court House, behind Cedarwood Village. It's likely there are more headstones beneath the overgrowth of the original grounds whose location overtime has become uncertain.

In 2004, there was concern for the preservation of the burial site as developers had purchased the Norview property nearby. At the time, the burial ground was not recognized as a cemetery nor heritage site, and therefore had no protection. The Norfolk Chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society advocated for a monument, and preservation of the property. The plot became recognized as a cemetery, and designated as a Norfolk County Heritage site in 2007.

Through the outstanding efforts of Bill Terry, and members of the Norfolk Chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society, 218 persons who died and were buried at the Poor House from 1868, to the mid 1930's, have been identified. This was no small feet considering no cemetery plans have been located, and the burial records that do exist show they were done rather carelessly. A list of known interments can be viewed at Find A Grave.


In an attempt to locate the burying ground, the local genealogical society had two dowsers survey the land near the encased headstones in 2007. Ross Cole, a dowser from Kitchener, was thought to have located fifty unmarked graves, and Mae Leonard, of Otterville, detected what she believed to be hundreds of burials. She provided such details as race, and age of those interred. When asked how she knows, her response was "They tell me". A research team from McMaster was later brought in by the County to perform ground radar and magnetometer surveys. The results were inconclusive, as the ground was heavily disturbed in the past, and contained building debris. In 2012, local resident Judy Chambers, who grew up near the Poor House, recollects the location of the burying ground. As a child her cousins and her would pass through the cemetery on their way to the pond east of the original Norview Lodge. This places the burial ground in the forest, behind where the headstones now rest, and not in the clearing where dowsers, and the research team from McMasters, surveyed. The location of the burial ground may never be confirmed, but the search continues.

In December of 2015, interpretive signage created by Robert Judd Design Company of Waterford, was installed near the Poor House headstones. On June 5th of 2016, a dedication ceremony was held in remembrance of those who resided at Norfolk's Poor House. 

“We will never know the name of every individual who was interred in the Poorhouse Burial Ground but in placing this record we recognize them for the contribution they made, their humanity and for the lives they lived.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Georgiana Machon (Fisher) - White Bronze


Blessed are they that do his commandments,
That they may have right to the tree of life,
And may enter in through the gates into the city.
Rev. 22:14

Georgiana Machon was the daughter of John and Jean Machon, and wife of Donald Fisher. She was born in Vittoria on November 28th 1860 and died there on December 20th 1901 in her 41st year. Her husband Donald was the son of Donald Fisher and Matilda Montross; he was born on November 8th 1849 and died in 1927. Georgiana and Donald had three children together: Vivian Ethel (b. May 16 1885, d. November 14 1930), Estella Grace (b. August 23 1887, d. 1937) and Christina Lea (b. April 18 1890, d. 1970). All of which are interred at St. Andrew's Cemetery in Vittoria with the exception of Estella , I have yet to be able to verify her location.

Innes Family Tree


John Innes Died Jan. 12, 1881
Aged 66 Yrs

Elizabeth wife of John Innes Died April 8, 1896
Aged 68 Yrs

Jane Died Aug. 31, 1877
Aged 19 Yrs

Christina Died June 25, 1871
Aged 7 Yrs

Children of John & Elizabeth Innes

As one of the more unique memorials erected in Lynnville Cemetery the Innes monument demands attention. Trees are regarded as a symbol of life while tree trunks with limbs cut off represent a life cut short. The amount of cut branches often signifies the number of family members interred. The thistles suggest that the Innes family was of Scottish descent. Legend has it, over seven hundred years ago a thistle saved Scotland from a surprise invasion. In the dark of night, a shoeless Dane stepped upon a thistle and let out a cry thus alerting the Scots of the impending invasion.

Forever Friends


On April 28, 1944 while out riding their bikes cousins Frank Kondas (left) and Andy Kish (right) were killed instantly when struck by a New York Central mail train. Frank was born March 8th 1938. Andy was born July 28th 1936. Frank and Andy are buried together in the Catholic section of Tillsonburg Cemetery - Goshen St. entrance.

Ingersoll Tribune, Thursday, May 04, 1944 Pg: 1 Col: 6 Friday, April, 28, 1944 Kondas, Frank  Kish, Andy Tillsonburg

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Burial of William Thomas Salmon


"In the midst of life we are in death"
Sacred to the Memory of
William Thomas Salmon
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons.
London, England.
Fell a victim to malignant Scarlet Fever
Contracted in the exercise of his profession.
Feby. 3, 1864.


"In the midst of life we are in death" a befitting epitaph, William succumbed to Malignant Scarlet Fever contracted while serving his patients. We often think of soldiers who have given their lives while in service as heroes; William Thomas Salmon was also a hero, who risked and lost his life helping those in need.

This epitaph is an excerpt of the memorial service outlined in The Book of Common Prayer: The Order For The Burial of the Dead an english variant of the antiphon Media vita in morte sumus. Written below is the portion of the service in which this epitaph appears.

Friends and relatives would congregate along graveside, as the deceased was being laid to rest these words were spoken or sung. Afterwards earth was casted upon the deceased, as the minister would continue reading the next section in The Order For The Burial of the Dead.

"MAN, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.

In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?

Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.

Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour; thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee."

William Thomas Salmon is interred at St. Johns Anglican Cemetery alongside his father Judge William Salmon. Based on it's characteristics and the material used I suspect his headstone was carved by Samuel Gardner.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Roberts Quarry Stone Memorial


In Memory of
John Roberts Ridgemount Bedfordshire England
For many years Clerk & Treasurer of Paris
Over fifty years leader of a church choir & no quarrels
Died Aged 77

Julia Cook Roberts The Manor House Flitwick Wood Bedfordshire England
A loving devoted wife & mother
Died Aged 82

 Sarah Ann Roberts Aunt Sarah
Loved and honored by all who knew her
Died April 3rd 1921 Aged 84

amati in pace requie gatis

This memorial of Ontario Quarry Stone erected by...

John Roberts was born on March 22 1806, his parents were Thomas and Sarah Roberts. Julia Cook was born on April 19th 1805, her father was Richard Cook. On April 24th 1826 John and Julia married. Together they had nine children, one of which was born in Canada, the rest in Ridgemount, Bedfordshire, England. In 1849 Julia and John immigrated to Canada along with six of their children, William, Julia Amelia, Sarah Ann, George, Alfred, and Fredrick. John died March 2 1883. Julia died September 13th 1887.

The Roberts Children

Thomas Roberts born January 23 1827, died March 24th 1875 in Woburn, England.

William Roberts born November 29th 1830.

Julia Amelia Roberts born July 31 1832, died August 29th 1898.

Charles James Roberts born October 20th 1835.

Sarah Ann Roberts "Aunt Sarah" born October 13th 1837, died April 3rd 1921.

George Roberts born in 1839.

Alfred Roberts born about 1840, died April 1916 Grass Valley, California, USA.

Fredrick S Roberts born in 1844, died March 19th 1911.

Charles H Roberts born in 1850 Paris, Ontario, Canada.


The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; General Register Office: Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths surrendered to the Non-parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857

Year: 1851; Census Place: Paris, Brant County, Canada West (Ontario); Schedule: A; Roll: C_11714; Page: 39; Line: 14