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If you have any articles you would like to submit, please let me know (janet-jones@sympatico.ca)

(History of cemetery; Vandalism; Restoration projects; queries, etc. found in the news)

Dufferin County - Primrose Cemetery Vandalized in the Summer of 2005 Article.

Reports of Cemetery Damage - thanks to Robert Neil for contributing this information

(1) Dolsen Cemetery: Here is the picture & the story. The old cemetery stones were put in a row years ago as the cemetery is located on the banks of the Thames River & due to erosion the stones and graves had to be moved. Many were repaired at that time.


(2) Mount Pleasant Cemetery - Here is another sad story.

(3) Dolsen Cemetery vandalism

(4) Dresden Cemetery Info

Follow Up Article:

From the Stratford Beacon Herald (thanks to Barbara for sharing):

Rural cemetery hit again

By Donal O’Connor
Staff reporter

Perth County OPP are baffled as to why anyone would want to topple gravestones in the McTavish Cemetery in South Easthope Ward.
The most recent of four incidents at the small rural cemetery occurred over the weekend when eight tombstones were pushed over.
Const. Glen Childerley said it was the fourth report of vandalism at the cemetery in a month.
There have been no obvious clues left at the site that might help identify who is responsible.
Frank McKay, chair of the cemetery board, figures the vandalism is the work of at least two or three fairly big guys or maybe "a carload either of drunks or on dope and just out for kicks."
Several other cemeteries have experienced similar incidents at some time or other, he said, but not weekly. "It’s disgusting and there doesn’t seem to be any solution to it."
The cemetery board will be meeting next week and will discuss whether to have the tombstones re-erected or not, said Mr. McKay.
One of the older stones in the cemetery that was knocked over and broken dates back to 1867, he said.
The secretary-treasurer of the cemetery, who asked that her name not be used, said up to 20 stones had been knocked over at one point and were all put back up.
But this past weekend the vandals returned and knocked over eight of them.
"It’s really devastating because a lot of the older people get very upset," she said.
And it’s not a matter of someone picking on a particular family where there might be a grudge involved, she said. "It just seems to be random."
There have been no tire marks, beer bottles or drug paraphernalia left behind, she said.
One of the difficulties in preventing the destructive incidents is that the cemetery is isolated.
The cemetery is located at the corner of Perth Road 109 and the Perth-Oxford boundry road just west of Tavistock.

Rural cemetery hit again
Perth County OPP are baffled as to why anyone would want to topple gravestones in the McTavish Cemetery in South Easthope Ward.
The most recent of four incidents at the small rural cemetery occurred over the weekend when eight tombstones were pushed over.

Cemetery Documentary in progress


If you have any interesting stories to share, let me know! janet-jones@sympatico.ca



Stacia Lett & Denise Noddin

With thanks to Marilyn Irish for sharing these articles

Graveyard desecration   
Cathie Coward, the Hamilton Spectator
Avery Faller-Morbi walks his dog Mocha around the damaged gravestones in Hamilton Cemetery yesterday morning. Vandals had pushed over and, in some cases, broke hundreds of tombstones. 
Cathie Coward, the Hamilton Spectator
'I feel very bad for the families,' said Mayor Di Ianni, commenting on the damage.      
Gary Yokoyama, the Hamilton Spectator
Workers from Hamilton Memorials use a portable crane to lift a toppled stone back onto its above ground vault yesterday.   

More than 230 tombstones vandalized at Hamilton Cemetery
By Paul Morse
The Hamilton Spectator (Jun 8, 2006)
The tombstone man eyed the vandalized weathered slab with professional calculation.
"That thing there? Two thousand pounds, easy," said Stan Hutchinson, head of Hamilton Memorials. "I have no idea how they did it."
Over 230 gravestones in historic Hamilton Cemetery -- plinths, scrolls, crosses and simple headstones -- were vandalized Tuesday night, a swath of destruction that sliced through the cemetery like a tornado, missing some and devastating others.
Many were pushed over, pressing the names into the ground. Others lay smashed in pieces, bright flesh of the stone exposed inside their dull rind of eroded marble.
The vandals attacked an older part of the cemetery on York Boulevard near Dundurn Castle, damaging many headstones from the early and mid-1800s. Some were so old, the inscriptions are no longer legible.
While graveyard vandalism is not a new phenomenon, one of this magnitude is, possibly one of the worst in provincial history.
The suspicion on everybody's mind, including Hamilton Mayor Larry Di Ianni who toured the damage yesterday afternoon, is that the vandalism is a nasty tribute to Tuesday, June 6, 2006 -- also known as 666, a biblical reference to the number of the beast.
Neighbours heard people in the cemetery that night, and called police.
"From 11:30 to 12:30, I heard kids outside, but I didn't hear any thumps," said cemetery neighbour Eska Hawley.
"I just heard male voices, and it sounded like they were just hanging out."
Patrol officers keep an eye on many of the city's municipal cemeteries to discourage drug dealing or partying, but graveyard prowling is not a priority call for police. Hamilton's municipal cemeteries are open public places where people walk their dogs, seek solitude, or hang out.
Robin McKee, who leads historical tours in the cemetery, was almost physically ill when he first saw the devastation.
"This is probably the worst vandalism in a cemetery in Canada," he said. "I've never seen anything like this before, and I'm really upset about it."
McKee was particularly shocked that someone pried the 2,000-pound engraved memorial slab off William Gourlay's above-ground vault looking for his body inside. It was a pointless exercise because Gourlay was buried beneath his purely decorative memorial.
Gourlay, a British officer with the 23rd regiment of Welsh Fusiliers who helped occupy Paris after the battle of Waterloo, sold his commission and settled in Hamilton in 1836. He joined the 12 Regiment of Gore militia, rising in rank until he became second-in-command to Sir Allan MacNab.
During the rebellions of 1837, Gourlay gathered volunteers to capture rebellion leader William Lyon Mackenzie. Gourlay and his wife lived in Barton Lodge, a mansion at the top of Beckett Drive, where he died in 1867.
Today's misspelled Gourley Park, near Garth and Stonechurch, is named after Gourlay.
Cemetery workers were able to right some of the undamaged headstones yesterday, but some were cracked or broken when they hit the ground. Initial estimates put the overall damage at over $30,000, a cost that will come out of taxpayers' pockets.
By late afternoon, Hutchinson and his crew finally reached Gourlay's tomb, lifting the one-ton slab with their truck crane, and the last sentence on his memorial shone in the shifting sunlight: "He was a sincere Christian and, in all aspects of life public and private, an honourable and upright man."
"A civilized society is judged on how it treats its dead. I feel very bad for the families," Mayor Di Ianni said.
"What sort of mind frame must you be in to vest this kind of devastation on tombstones?
"I say, shame on you, whoever has done this. We will catch you."

Follow Up:

Youths sought 'Devil's Day' party       
(with photo)
Hamilton Spectator File Photo

More than 230 tombstones were overturned in a rash of vandalism.        
Group surrenders to police, shamed by desecration of Hamilton Cemetery
By Paul Morse
The Hamilton Spectator(Jul 11, 2006)
Connor looked down at his mother's kitchen table yesterday and said he is ashamed he helped desecrate over 230 tombstones at a local cemetery.
Tall, tattooed and handsome, he's only 17, so Connor is not his real name. Under youth law, he cannot be identified.
Across the table, Connor's mother watched her son talk, her face a strange mix of disappointment in him and pride he had the guts to turn himself in to police. She's also happy that, with Connor's help, she was able to convince the others involved to do the same.
It all happened on and because of June 6, 2006 -- also known as 666, Connor said. Devil's Day.
Connor is into punk, thrash and heavy metal. He likes Korn, Tool, Disturbed, Slipknot, Mudvayne. Some of the music draws on Satanic imagery. And 666 is a biblical reference to the mark of the Beast.
Across the city, the word in school halls was that killer parties would be breaking out 666 night. Connor, his 14-year-old girlfriend and four buddies went to nearby Hamilton Cemetery in search of a rumoured party.
What the sextet didn't take into account was Devil's Day was a Tuesday, and bush parties rarely break out on a school night.
When they got to the cemetery, Connor claims some of the tombstones were already knocked over. They finished the job.
"It was like a kid's energy rush in a candy shop. They run around wanting this, this and this," Connor said. "It was that type of rush. We were just having fun."
Each youth was able to knock down dozens of markers. Then they combined to topple massive monuments.
"Some of them, we had the group work on them together because they were so big," he said. "It was something to do because it was 666, to celebrate that or do something."
He bragged about his exploits to his younger sister that night. Others in the group also told a few friends.
Connor went to school the next day ready to reap the rewards of a bad boy reputation. To his utter shock, schoolmates were totally disgusted. They threatened him. They called him an idiot and demanded he turn himself into police.
"One friend came up to me and said they should punch me out because it was disrespectful. I lost that friend."
That's when shame took over, he said.
Connor told his mother, who called police. Her son's vandalism hit her hard, in part because he has never been in trouble with the law. She told police her son would turn himself in.
Connor's mother has had a tough life. She ran away from disinterested parents at 14 and became pregnant at 15. To her astonishment, the father's family took her in. Respect became a central theme in life, one she has tried to pass on to her children.
Connor's mom brokered a deal with police. She pleaded for a few days to get the five teenagers to turn themselves in. Police agreed.
So Connor's mother talked to each teen individually. She told them what they'd done was wrong. Turning themselves in would show remorse and maybe make things a little easier before a judge.
But she insisted each had to tell their parents.
Several days later, all six were sitting outside her North End home waiting for police. They were taken to the downtown station where their parents and detectives were waiting.
Two 16-year-olds and three 17-year olds were charged with mischief over $5,000 and break and enter with intent. They will be back in court Aug. 14, to give parents a chance to line up legal aid lawyers.

From the Cornwall Seaway News – 09-Jun-2006 (Page 1 and 2)


Friends of Woodlawn Cemetery Spring Clean-up

    Woodlawn Cemetery, located on Cumberland Street, was incorporated on August 18, 1888. The 14-acre  parcel of land occupying 9,817 marked plots and 153 unmarked plots is run by a Board of Directors who conduct its business and ensure its upkeep. The historical, non-denominational cemetery is still very much in business with more than 5.5 acres yet to be used, which would easily provide plots for some 6,000 individuals. On June 10, 2006, Woodlawn Cemetery will be holding a Spring Clean-up of the grounds from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are needed and are asked to bring a rake, a hoe, a gas trimmer or whatever else can be used to help. Garbage bags and gas for the trimmers will be provided. This is the first time a clean-up effort of this kind has been held for Woodlawn Cemetery, but John McMartin, Chairman of the Board of Directors,  hopes to make it an annual event. Your assistance is greatly needed. For the first time in quite some time, a full memorial/decorating service will be held on the premises on June 18 at 2 p.m., conducted by Reverend Ruth Draffin. If weather does not permit an outdoor service, it will take place at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, at 28 Second Street East, at 2 p.m. Donations would be greatly appreciated in order to aesthetically improve the cemetery over the long term. Bring a lawn chair for your comfort. The Board of Directors is now also in the process of recruiting new members who can commit to one meeting per month from May to October. Across Ontario, graveyards are experiencing difficult times due to limited funding and require the help of volunteers to maintain them. For further information or to volunteer, please call Woodlawn Cemetery at 613-932-2635.

Thanks to Heather Bertram for sharing the following titled "Abandoned Cemeteries in Rideau Lakes"


Clues lead to Penetang: But mystery of Orillia tombstone remains
Local News - Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Although an Orillia family found 10-year-old Dorothy Nettleton's tombstone in its yard, the youngster probably never stepped foot in the Sunshine City.
Her family lived in Penetanguishene, according to the 1891 census.
The head of the Nettleton household, Charles, was the town druggist, with a shop on Main Street. He and his wife, Constance, had five children.
Dorothy was the middle child.
All of them were baptized at First Presbyterian Church in Penetanguishene. According to its records, the eldest son, John Morris, was born in 1887.
Elizabeth, called Bessie, was born in 1890, her sister Constance in 1895, and the baby of the family, Clarence, in 1898.
Dorothy, who was born in 1892, died March 15, 1902. The cause is still unknown.
That was all the information the Bumstead family had after finding the young girl's tombstone under the earth beside their John Street home. Cheryl Bumstead and her two children found two concrete markers while digging a garden last week, one with Dorothy's name, date of birth and death on it, the other with a single word: sister. A neighbour found the corresponding obituary dated March 20, 1902, at the Orillia Public Library.
"I didn't know who to call," said Bumstead. "If it was me, I would come and get it and put it at a cemetery where it would get the proper respect." What the mother of two didn't know was that there is a proper grave site.
It's in Penetanguishene at the First Presbyterian Church cemetery. The gravestone inscription reads: In Memory of Charles A. Nettleton 1860-1944 and his wife Constance A. Hooper 1862-1948. Resting Forest Lawn Cemetery, California. Their daughter Dorothy Nettleton 1882-1902. Where the rest of the family is buried remains a mystery. Bumstead was instructed by the city and a local cemetery operator to try to find the Nettleton family before moving the tombstone. Back in Penetanguishene, at the Centennial Museum and Archives, there is an archived marriage announcement from a Collingwood newspaper that John Morris Nettleton married Muriel Evelyn McGibbon in Regina, Sask., on Sept. 11, 1919. A street called Nettleton Drive remains in Penetanguishene, off Main Street.

Elgin Warden Paul Baldwin places a wreath at the foot of a monument erected in memory of 128 men, women and children buried on the grounds of the Elgin County House of Industry and Refuge, located immediately behind the original Elgin Manor on Fingal Line. (T-J photo by Ian McCallum)

Stone now marks historic cemetery
Many buried at old House of Industry

Wednesday July 26, 2006

By Ian McCallum
Times-Journal Staff
Gone, but certainly not forgotten.
In a ceremony cut short by a rapidly advancing thunderstorm, members of Elgin County council and invited guests gathered early Tuesday afternoon behind Elgin Manor to dedicate a monument to the individuals buried on the grounds of the Elgin County House of Industry and Refuge.
Opened in 1876 and decommissioned in 1964, the House of Industry occupied a 50-acre site that would become the home of the original Elgin Manor seniors facility.
A plot plan, now in the collection of the Elgin County Archives, reveals between its opening and 1894, 128 men, women and children were buried on the grounds, prompting county council to commission an attractive black monument listing all of their names in order to honour them.
“We’re here today to dedicate this monument to the people who were in the House of Industry,” noted Warden Paul Baldwin, “and to remember always there was a House of Industry here and that Elgin was a leader in looking after the indigents and senior citizens of our community.”
Erection of the monument was a joint venture between the Elgin County Archives and the Elgin County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.
“County council had the foresight and the benevolence to support the creation of this monument on these grounds in order to restore a measure of dignity to the individuals involved,” explained Brian Masschaele, manager of archives.
“For over 100 years their resting place remained unmarked,” added Brenda Edmonds, on behalf of the Ontario Genealogical Society, “and perhaps even the knowledge so many people were interred here has faded into history. Now with this monument they are truly gone but not forgotten.”

Ensuring Oakville's ancestors rest in peace
Howard Mozel
Aug 26, 2006

While the Town of Oakville's ongoing grave monument restoration program is part hard work, part science, it's all about preserving safety, dignity and history.

According to Supervisor of Cemetery Services, Parks and Open Space, Heather Turenne, this effort is more than simply a legal obligation to carry out, but a privilege.

"Recognizing our dedication and commitment to provide a dignified resting place for loved ones within our cemeteries, as well as our legislated obligations, the Town of Oakville, Cemetery Section, has undertaken the task to begin the restoration of monuments within our `pioneer cemeteries,'" she said.

The Town currently operates and maintains seven pioneer cemeteries (where there are no interment rights - graves - for sale), including Munn's, Merton, Wedgewood, St. Jude's, Oakville/St. Mary's, Bronte and Palermo.

As the cemeteries' owner, the Town is also mandated by The Cemeteries Act to assume responsibility for all markers in its cemeteries. To that end, the municipality has embarked on its comprehensive restoration program.

"This will be a lengthy process that will be implemented over the next number of years in order to ensure that the monuments are safe," said Turenne.

Most recently, cemetery staff had to lay flat 23 upright headstones in the older section of St. Jude's Cemetery because they were leaning at unsafe angles. The reason was their foundations - some of which were embedded only two feet or so - had heaved as a result of temperature changes within the ground. Many of these stones were installed at a time when St. Jude's congregation members did the work, which did not meet modern standards. (The oldest grave in St. Jude's - acquired by the Town in 1979 - dates to 1811.)

For example, Turenne explained, the newly poured foundations, or concrete bases, are at least four feet deep, well below the frost level.

The first step in the process is simply to identify which monuments require restoration through a visual inspection and by using a resistance meter. Next, a loader is employed to gingerly lift the heavy, mainly granite stones off their bases and move them to one side. The old foundation is removed then a four-foot hole is dug. Concrete, mixed on-site, is poured (a four-inch deep form creates the visible aboveground portion) then the marker is placed back and sealed.

Jim Hill, of Guelph-based Newman's Monument Restoration and Repairs said it's been his experience that most older markers were installed surprisingly well.

He said the hardest part of the process is getting the old foundations out. Rocks, tree roots and shrubs planted by well-intentioned loved ones can make that part of the job difficult.

"It's messy when we're doing it, but it looks beautiful when we're done," he said.

Hill - who travels across southwest Ontario in his job installing and repairing monuments - said he learns a lot of history and has even worked on the monuments of some famous people.

Restoring fragile old marble monuments is perhaps the most painstaking part of his job, since that variety of stone does not weather well and can easily break. The more salvageable markers of this type are reinforced by what is essentially a stainless steel frame then placed upright again or laid flat. The worst one he ever worked on was in 16 pieces.

"Some are just too far gone," he said.

Added Turenne: "These are the challenges municipalities face."

In the meantime, the latest round of restoration at St. Jude's is now complete.

"This is the first phase of many stones to be restored in St. Jude's Cemetery," said Turenne. "Our section is dedicated to continuing this process in the other pioneer cemeteries when St. Jude's is complete."

Three monuments in Wedgewood Cemetery have been completely restored and the Town will be completing work at Palermo Cemetery this year as well.

Vandals hit cemetery three times in two weeks



Wednesday April 04, 2007


Residents of Mt. Brydges are being asked to help police catch the culprits that have been knocking over grave markers in the Mt. Brydges Cemetery.

Vandals toppled several monuments in the cemetery on three separate occasions in a recent two-week period. The first time, five markers were knocked over, including two larger ones and three smaller ones, said Ron Madill, secretary-treasurer of the Mt. Brydges Cemetery Board.

The second incident was less severe, with only a couple of larger stones being overturned. In the third incident, however, the vandals knocked over about a dozen monuments of various sizes. Several older ones, which dated back to the mid to late 1800s, were broken. “A couple of them we may not be able to repair, “ said Mr. Madill.

Mr. Madill, who has been a member of the cemetery board since 1969, said this is only the second time that grave markers in the cemetery have been vandalized. About 20 years ago, he said, about five were knocked over, but none were damaged.

“It wasn’t like this,” he said, comparing it to the latest incidents.


There is a great deal of concern in the community over the incidents, said Mr. Madill.

With the long history that the cemetery holds for the village, its understandable why so many people have been upset by the incidents, he added.

From what cemetery board members have been able to ascertain, the incidents all occurred in broad daylight, probably in the late afternoon, said Mr. Madill. The culprits are believed to be elementary school aged children.

The cemetery board has spoken with residents who live around the cemetery and asked them to keep an eye out, he said. All village residents are being asked to report suspicious behaviour around the cemetery.

Local police will be keeping a closer eye on the area, said Strathroy-Caradoc Police Chief Brian McCarthy. “We’ve been making extra patrols and talking to people in the community.”

Reports from the public will be very important to the investigation, said the chief. “We’re relying on that more than anything else.”

Beyond the disrespect the vandalism shows for the families of the village, and the cost involved with lifting the monuments back into place and repairing the broken ones, there is a safety concern, as well, said Mr. Madill. Many of the grave markers are quite heavy, with some weighing as much as 500 pounds. Children could be seriously hurt if one of the larger monuments fell on them.

Cemetery vandalism ‘just awful’
Seventy tombstones toppled at Delhi Cemetery; monument makers help fix damage for free

Wednesday April 04, 2007

“Is nothing sacred anymore?” asked Norfolk County OPP Constable Marc Perrier, as he surveyed the Delhi Cemetery last Thursday.
Perrier and Const. Dave Ongena were at the cemetery collecting fingerprints, footprints, paintballs and other evidence left behind after 70 headstones were toppled sometime during the early morning hours of March 29.
Fresh flowers scattered and trampled could be found littered around toppled headstones.
While all the headstones represent loved ones now resting in peace there were some that stirred emotions, like that of the late Linda Marlene Derer who was six at the time of her death.
“Look at this,” said grave technician Orrie Ecker, who was at the cemetery assessing the damage, as he held up a piece of a porcelain broken off the wing of Derer’s tombstone angel. “This was the angel her parents probably put on her gravestone to act as a guardian. Now it has a broken wing, what a shame.”
Shaking their heads and trying to figure out why anyone would find pleasure in disrupting the dead, Ecker said this is a crime without any just cause.
“These people have done nothing to deserve this,” he said. “It’s a shame.”
Ongena, the first officer at the scene, said he originally thought the act of vandalism was reserved to a few headstones near the centre of the cemetery, until he continued to the north side of the cemetery where the majority of the damage was concentrated.
“People are obviously very upset by this,” said Ongena, as random people entered the area to check on their loved one’s headstones. “The problem with vandalism in a cemetery is that these headstones aren’t just headstones, to the families and loved ones of these individuals these headstones represent their deceased loved ones. It’s there memory that’s been disrespected.”
Ongena is hopeful that fingerprints from the monument surfaces and fresh footprints in the soil may help identify those responsible.

“My mothers and fathers headstone has been overturned,” said Delhi Cemetery Company director George Kough, pointing in the direction of their plots. “I want to find out what joy anybody would get out of treating someone’s late loved one this way. What did it accomplish?”
Although Kough had questioned how the estimated $5,000 in damage would be corrected, he speculated last Thursday the cost would likely be incurred through insurance or from the family’s pockets.
But it was an offer from Jack Bradfield, of Bradfield Monuments, and Peter Mauthe, of J&M Memorial, that provided comfort.
“They were so disgusted by what happened they came forward and offered to fix the headstones free of charge,” said cemetery board president Bert Hooftman. “This was a Godsend to us because (the DCC) is not a money-making outfit. We didn’t know where we were going to come up with the money to fix all the damage done.”
Bradfield said he closed his Simcoe location to bring his entire staff, while Mauthe said he left just his wife in their Simcoe office and brought the rest of his staff to Delhi.
“It’s just awful what has been done here,” said Bradfield. “These stones aren’t light, which is why I can’t for the life of me figure out how they managed to get so many of them off.”
“If you’ve got to find a positive here, it’s that at least there wasn’t a lot of damage done to the headstones besides being push off their mounts,” said Mauthe. “This is the worst case of cemetery vandalism I’ve seen, that’s for sure.”
As Bradfield, Mauthe and their crews worked to erect the monuments, many local residents were arriving at the cemetery to check the status of family headstones.
“My father’s stone has been turned over, who do I talk to about putting it back up?” asked one gentleman, who declined to give his name.
“You don’t have to worry about it,” responded Bradfield. “We’re here and we’re going to take care of it.”
“You are?” said the man. “Oh, thank you so much. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Thank you.”
The two simple words made the effort worth it for Bradfield and Mauthe.
“All I have to hear is thank you and I know I’m doing a good thing,” said Mauthe.
Last weekend two Norfolk County youths contacted OPP about their involvement with the cemetery vandalism, which resulted in both being charged with mischief over $5,000
The first youth, a 14-year-old Delhi boy, contacted police and revealed his involvement on March 31, while the second youth, a 17-year-old male, came to OPP headquarters in Simcoe on April 1 and admitted his involvement with the incident.
The two are to appear in Provincial Court in Simcoe at a later date to answer to the charges.
Police believe other persons may be involved with the vandalism. Police are asking for those responsible to come forward. They are also encouraging anyone with knowledge on this crime to come forward.

Vandals strike Drumbo

VANDALS: Senseless act



Woodstock Sentinel-Review

Thursday April 05, 2007


DRUMBO - Police are looking for suspects after an early morning crime spree near Drumbo Tuesday started with a house fire and ended with about 70 overturned headstones in Drumbo cemetery.

Drumbo, an otherwise quiet village in Blandford-Blenheim Township, has recently been a hotspot for mischief.

“As a rule, things are pretty quiet here,” said longtime resident Phil Harmer. “But it’s kind of frightening and gets serious when people start burning houses down.”

Police suspect these latest “random acts of senselessness and carelessness” are connected.

Around 3:20 a.m. Drumbo firefighters were called to a house fire on Gobles Road, just south of Highway 29. The home, which was under construction, was fully engulfed. No one was living there yet.

Harmer, a retired fire station chief, said the roof of the house burnt off and one wall was destroyed in the blaze. Damage is estimated at about $150,000.

“It looks very suspicious,” said Harmer, who has been with the Drumbo fire department for 40 years.


Police have not ruled out arson.

About 10 minutes later, while police and firefighters were still at the fire, a train struck a pile of railway ties that had been placed over the tracks in an area near the fire. Police say there was little damage to the train, but it could have resulted in a disaster if it had derailed.

Harmer, who is also the caretaker at the cemetery, got a call that morning after a motorist noticed the toppled headstones in the cemetery just outside of Drumbo on Highway 29.

For the first time ever, vandals trampled through the country cemetery and pushed over rows and rows of heavy stones.

“It’s so senseless, what thrill do you get out of it,” said Harmer, whose family has been involved in the cemetery for generations.

He added there had to be more than two people responsible given the weight of the headstones and amount of damage done in a short time period.

His parents’ and grandparents’ family headstone was also one of the 70 to 75 stone knocked over. He said there are well over 300 headstones there. A final damage estimate was not available Wednesday, but police expect it to be in the thousands of dollars.

“I’ve always be afraid of it happening,” he said, adding he’s heard of it happening in other communities.

Last week vandal knocked over 70 headstones in one of the worst cases of cemetery damage in a Delhi cemetery.

During that same night and time frame, two parked vehicles were broke into, causing about $2,000 damage.

“At this point in the investigation it is difficult to prove that all of this destruction of property was committed by the same person or persons,” said Const. Karen Overbaugh, of the Oxford Community Police Service criminal investigations branch.

However, police say it is likely some or all of the events are related in someway.

Last week police also received numerous complaints from residents’ whose licence plates had been stolen from their vehicles parked in Drumbo.

The following was a notice in this weekend's  Niagara Regional newspaper-a small paper that covers the Niagara Region of Ontario.

   Cemeteries Act (Revised)
  Notice of Declaration
  Re: Burial Site located at the South Side of Chestnut Street, (formerly St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church & Cemetery circa 1876, and no longer in existence), Part of Part of Lot 17, Concession 2, Lots 75-82 in Registered Plan #41A, Town of Lincoln, Regional Municipality of Niagara, Province of Ontario.
  Take notice that on June 19th, 2006, a burial site at the above location was reported to the Registrar of the Cemeteries Act (Revised).
  An investigation conducted under the provisions of the Cemeteries Act (Revised) indicates a burial of one adult within lot 79 close to the lot 80 boundary.
  The Registrar hereby gives notice of the intention to declare the site to be an "Unapproval Cemetery", and invites representatives of the person whose remains are still interred to contact the Registrar in writing within two weeks after May 18th, 2007.
  Dated at Toronto this 11th day of May 2007.
  Michael D'Mello
  Registrar, Cemeteries Act (Revised)
  Cemeteries Regulation Unit
  Ministry of Government Services
  5775 Yonge Street, 15th Floor
  Toronto, Ontario M7A 2E5
    Telephone 416-326-8393  Fax 416-326-8406
  FYI: Chestnut Street is located off Jordan Road in Jordan Station, Town of Lincoln.

Last updated: Monday May 14, 2007


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©Sheila Hill and Janet Jones, 2004-2007

If you have any photos of pioneer or abandoned cemeteries please contact us!

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