In the mid-1830s Roman Catholics emigrating from Ireland settled in the area of Acton, Ontario, Canada where the spiritual needs of the people were looked after by the Jesuit Fathers from Guelph.
From 1852 to 1857 infrequent Masses were held in the home of Matthew and Honora McCann until one day the floor gave way, resulting in some parishioners falling into the cellar. To prevent a recurrence, McCann and his neighbour John Mulholland decided to donate two acres of land to build a proper church (St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church) and cemetery. McCann and Mulholland are both buried here.
This small cemetery located in the countryside on Dublin Line contains many stones that are broken or illegible.
A map at the entrance to the cemetery identifies plots and the names of the deceased buried there.
Sleep on my dear in calm repose Though parted now awhile In yonder realm we’ll join to praise And greet your happy smile. 1872
Location: St. Peter’s Mission, Roman Catholic Church, Trafalgar Township, 9th line, Milton, Ontario, Canada
In 1823 a log church was built on this site to serve the Catholic Irish Immigrants who worked on the original Welland Canal. Some of these families are buried in the cemetery.
There is beyond the sky / a Heaven of joy and love / Holy children when they die / Go to that world above.
The first interment was a 12 year old girl who died from pneumonia in the depth of winter in the year 1825. Her father, wanting her to be buried in consecrated ground, placed her body on a horse drawn sled and traveled south to Milton from Orangeville (approximately 50 miles).
In death’s cold lies sleeping here / A tender parent, a companion dear /In love she lived, in peace she died / Her life was asked but was denied.
The Triller family was originally from Warren County, New Jersey, USA, and the family name was Driller. William Driller and his wife Mary (Maria) had 10 children. Sarah who was the 7th child and 5th daughter was born on 5 Dec 1790 in Knowlton Township, Warren Co. Her gravestone is located in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Note that in the early 19th century, the years, months and days were recorded on gravestones. Her burial there in 1856 may be explained by the adventures of her elder brother, Philip, who is listed in the “Annals of the Forty”, No. 9 (1958), pp. 24-25.
Philip Triller was born about 1754 and was the son of William and Maria Triller. He married Mary Catherine Young and they lived in Knowlton township, Warren County, New Jersey, where their children were born and baptized in the first German and English congregation in that township.
In 1805 Philip and his wife and children left New Jersey and journeyed to Canada, where his wife’s sisters and her brother had previously settled. They travelled with three wagons, two four-horse teams and one two-horse team. The roads were so rough that it sometimes took six horses to draw one wagon over the mountainous country. They stopped at The Forty (Grimsby) and stayed near Green’s mills for a year before moving to Trafalgar Township, Halton County.
In that time Philip, with his sons and son-in-law, sawed a great quantity of lumber for building purposes, and this was floated by raft along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Twelve Mile Creek in Halton near Bronte.
Philip owned 1000 acres of land between Burlington and Bronte, and it is said built the first mills on The Sixteen. He and his wife, Catherine, lie buried in an old Burying Ground on the shore of Lake Ontario near Bronte.
Death and grief are felt in the same way throughout the world regardless of religion or race. We are unified only in birth and death.
The statuary in cemeteries is matched only by the words on stone. This verse is from All Saints Churchyard in Newtown Lindford, England: Weep not Dear Friends, but be content For I to you was only lent. In love I lived; in peace I died. You asked my life but God denied. Farewell, dear friends, and cease to weep. In Christ I dwell; in Christ I sleep.
This memorial located in Victoria Lawn Cemetery, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada is in remembrance of three young children. They are the offspring of Joseph & Mary Shickluna and grandchildren of the celebrated Louis Shickluna.
Myra was born and died in 1879, Thomas (Tomey) Shickluna was born in 1875 and died on 28 August 1879 from acute dysentery. Leo also died from acute dysentery a few days later on 2 Sep 1879.
The memorial shows 3 young children seated around a lamb, a common symbol on the graves of children. Myra aged 6 months Tomey aged 4 years Leo aged 15 months Children of Joseph & Mary Shickluna
Weep not for me, dear parents dear. I am not dead but sleeping here. My glass is run; My age you see. Wait but awhile and follow me.
The patriarch of the Shickluna family in Canada was Louis Shickluna who was born in Malta in 1808 into a family of shipbuilders. He emigrated to North America disembarking in Quebec and moving to the United States where he was employed as a ship construction worker in Youngstown, New York State. In 1835 he visited his family in Malta, probably to claim his inheritance from his wealthy parents. In 1838 he moved to Ontario, Canada to pursue opportunities with the recently completed Welland Canal at St. Catharines and became one the city’s most notable citizens with a reputation of being a skilled shipbuilder, constructing over 140 vessels including snub-nosed schooners designed to make maximum use of the canal locks, barkentines, steamers and other vessels designed primarily for service on the Great Lakes. He is recognized in Canada’s Maritime History and his story is detailed in a plaque unveiled on November 29, 1979 on Yates Street, St. Catharines, Ontario.
A prominent Canadian shipbuilder, Shickluna was born in Malta, where he worked before emigrating to North America disembarking in Quebec. By 1835 he was engaged in ship construction at Youngstown, New York. Three years later, attracted by the traffic stimulated by the Welland Canal’s completion in 1833, he purchased a shipyard on the Canal at St. Catharines. Shickluna steadily expanded his operations, which contributed significantly to the commercial prosperity of the region. Between 1838 and 1880 he directed the construction of over 140 schooners, barkentines, steamers and other vessels designed primarily for service on the Great Lakes, thereby promoting the development of inland navigation in Canada. Following Shickluna’s death, his son, Joseph continued to operate the St. Catharines shipyard until 1892.
Due to failing health and rheumatoid arthritis he left the shipyard to his sons. Following his death in 1880, (he is buried in Victoria Lawn Cemetery, situated beside Welland Canal in east St. Catharines) his son, Joseph, continued to operate the St. Catharines shipyard until 1892.
A cairn is a marker compiled of stacked rocks. Initially it was an ancient custom of burying the dead to protect the body from scavenging animals.
Cairns vary in size related to whether they are used as a marker for the dead, a memorial, or on trails as a guide.
Markers known as Inukshuk are used by the Inuit and other people of the Artic regions of North America for the purpose of navigation. The word ‘inuksuk’ means “something which acts for, or performs the function of a person’. The Inukshuk form has become a modern day custom of tourists to indicate ‘I was here.’
Cairns also marked the places where coffin-bearers rested when the walk to the burial ground was a long one e.g. St Cyril’s Church (Cille Choirille), in Glen Spean, near Roy Bridge in Scotland. Gravediggers recited the Gaelic Prayer before filling the grave in this cemetery which has the most incredible view of any in the Highlands.
The area around Inverness in Scotland is rife with cairns. The Clava Cairn is a circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of three cairns at Balnuaran of Clava,
The memorial built at the site of the former Aignish Farm on the islands of Lewis and Harris is a a tribute to the people who took action to recover their homes and livelihoods in the land struggles between landlords and crofters in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The design of two stone structures reflects the idea of confrontation. The jagged stones reflect the aggression and tension of the event.
This ‘new’ cairn, built by John MacKinnon of Arisaig, was erected on the shores of Loch nan Uamh by the Forty Five Association and unveiled on 4 October 1956. The plaque states: This cairn marks the traditional spot from which Prince Charles Edward Stuart embarked for France 20th September 1746. ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ who claimed to be the rightful heir to the thrones of England, Scotland, France and Ireland was supported by many Highland clans both Catholic and Protestant. Supporters known as Jacobites led risings to reinstate him to the throne.
One of the most famous Scottish cairns commemorates the Battle of Culloden, the last Jacobite rising, fought on Drumossie Moor, to the north east of Inverness in Scotland. The cairn was erected by Duncan Forbes of Culloden in 1881, in memory of the fallen Jacobites. The inscription on the plaque of the 20 foot high cairn reads : ‘The Battle of Culloden was fought on this moor 16th April, 1746. The graves of the Gallant Highlanders who fought for Scotland and Prince Charlie are marked by the names of their clans’
In ancient Scotland, cairns were rallying points before battles and fights. Each man placed a stone on the ground upon arrival and removed it after the battle. The number of stones left was an account of the number of Clan members lost in the battle.
Actual shell fragments left on gravestones in pioneer cemeteries represent the journey through death and rebirth. Shells that are not part of the gravestone were left there to signify that the deceased had not been forgotten.
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In localities near the sea, entire graves were covered with shells because this product was cheap and readily available.
Although not a common symbol the shell most often used is a scallop shell which represents the baptism of Christ. Many baptismal fonts are often built in the form of a scallop shell.
It is also a traditional symbol of the Crusades.
This large scallop shell was designed by the deceased, Ransom Cook, some years before his death.
The art form of a child cradled in a scallop shell was popular in North America during the 19th century. Sears, Roebuck and Company had a contract with a Vermont marble producer to sell the shell headstone by mail order.
The conch shell was revered by many cultures as a symbol of reincarnation and wisdom. In Buddhism, the shell’s call can awaken one from ignorance, in Chinese Buddhism it signifies a prosperous journey; and in Islam the shell represents hearing the divine word. People in the Bakongo area of Africa believe that the shell encloses the soul (Pagans also held this same belief regarding the shell as a source of life.)