It is not known who was the first to be buried in the cemetery or when the burial occurred. There was no mapping of the cemetery or records until recent times. As related earlier when dealing with the property, dates on tombstones go back to 1885 even though the actual site was not deeded to the cemetery until 1907. These stones bear mute testimony to the heartache and sorrow of the early residents. For example, several children of Mr. and Mrs. John Carley died with a few days of each other in 1885, probably of diptheria, and children of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Taylor passed away in 1895. And there are memorials of young mothers who died along with their newborn babies.
Shortly after the end of the first World War, in a burst of patriotism and gratitude a subscription was taken up and with the money raised a cenotaph was erected. This imposing memorial of red granite is just inside the fence about the middle of the cemetery. It bears this inscription:
AND LOVING MEMORY OF
OUR DEAR BOYS WHO DIED FOR
LIBERTY AND HUMANITY
SERGT. NOBLE J. BRADEN M. M. 116TH BATTN.
KILLED IN FRANCE AUG. 13, 1918
PTE. WILLIAM E. OXBY 19TH BATTN.
KILLED AT VISEN ARTIOS AUG. 18, 1918
MEMBER OF L.O.L. 1899
PTE. JAMES W. TENNISON 116TH BATTN.
KILLED IN ACTION OCT. 1, 1918
GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS
THAT HE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS
Sad to say this local pride did not extend to cover the general care of the cemetery. Many of the pioneers were taken to Lindsay, Orillia or Udney for burial because the cemetery had become a jungle of wild roses, weeds and briers. Only a few families took care of their plots with the rest being left to an annual bee to try to keep some semblance of order. The ground was very uneven with a gully running from the well out to the road where the south gate is now. In 1948 it was decided to level the ground and contribute money to hire a caretaker. Marshall Campbell came in with his bulldozer and turned it into what we see today. In the early 1930’s a hockey rink had been made between the church and the part that had been made between the church and the part that had been used for cemetery purposes.
At the same time this part was laid out for burial sites. The practice of holding a decoration service was instituted with the offering going toward the care of the cemetery. For many years the service was held outside where the rink had been, until there were too many graves in that part to set up benches for the congregation. By 1979 an area closer to the church was cleared of brush and trees and levelled to provide additional space.
Paying someone to dig a grave is a recent phenomenon. It used to be, that in the event of a death in the community the men gathered and worked together to dig the grave. This has now almost completely changed as have many other old customs.
In the days before riding lawn mowers, Robert McKenzie and Rand Watt lavished hours of care on the grounds with very little remuneration. Since then various people have cut the grass for a short period. The last few years Donald Childs has done this, keeping it one of the most beautiful and picturesque cemeteries in the country.