Port Hope Pioneer Presbyterian Cemetery

From an article, by the late James Cutting, in the 31 May 1978 issue of the Port Hope Evening Guide

Early cemetery photograph Nestled against a hillside along the south side of Bruton Street, two or three houses east of Julia Street, lies an acre or so of land overgrown with bushes and shaded by quiet trees. You have to hop over an old iron farm gate to get a closer look at this property. This serene spot used to be a graveyard. It still is, but you would hardly know it. Vandals have toppled most of the stones which date back to the 1820s up to the 1870s and a number are broken into pieces.

Immediately to the southern rear of this forgotten graveyard is a converted apartment building, facing along Baldwin Street, which was once one of the original Presbyterian churches built in Port Hope in 1831. The three tower-like spires that used to jut from the front of it are now gone, but there is still a semblance of the original church in the building that remains there.

Just exactly when this graveyard first came into existence isn't known, but it, at one time, was the last resting place of the most distinguished pioneer families of the town. While several of the finely-inscribed grave stones still remain at the site, overturned though they may be, some have been smashed and the tops of others have been removed from the graveyard and are probably patio stones in some neighbour's back yard.

The church records of who actually is buried in this cemetery have also been lost in the past, and only the larger grave markers provide a few clues as to the pioneer families that buried their loved ones in this site. Apparently most of these families have since disappeared from the community and there is no one left to care for the long-abandoned plots. According to the Ontario Cemeteries Act, the municipality is responsible for maintaining abandoned cemeteries, and, occasionally once a year, a town works crew enters this sacred ground to clean up any trash and set up the fallen grave stones.

An ornate iron fence which once surrounded this cemetery has also been pulled apart and is now used as a cover for a children's hideaway in a hole at the north end of the graveyard. If something isn't done soon to retrieve what stones still survive, this valuable historic segment of our past pioneers wil be gone forever.

The following excerpts are taken from a booklet prepared by dedicated members of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church who were instrumental in initiating the restoration of this lovely cemetery in 1980.

Presbyterian Pioneer Cemetery On Bruton Street, in a quiet residential area of Port Hope a short distance north of Walton Street and two blocks west of Pine Street, there is a Pioneer Cemetery. It is on a sandy hillside, where the terrain commences its western descent into the Ganaraska River Valley. About sixty early pioneers of the area are known to be buried in this tranquil shaded site.

The first church, a small frame structure, was completed in 1831 and was located to the south of the cemetery. It stood in a pathless wood separated from Walton Street by a deep gully which necessitated a long detour to the west for the worshippers to reach the church. After a time a bridge was built across the ravine which was later filled in and is now Church Street.

From the following list of those buried in the cemetery, it is indicated that the first burial took place in 1829 and the last in 1873 about the same time the Union Cemetery on Toronto Road was established.

The following are those known or alleged to have been buried in the cemetery:

Name Birth/death dates Age Notes
Alexander, AgnesNov 1859-28 Jun 18607 monthsD/o William & M.


BARRIE, Hannah Catherine (nee Clark)1833-14 Oct 186128 Married Alexander Barrie Mar 1861
BRAND, Daniel1792-17 Mar 187280Born Suffolk, Eng.; migrated to Canada 1819 and settled on a farm 2 miles west of Port Hope, purchased from Jonathan Sexton; married Elizabeth Marsh Sexton (r/o Jonathan) and had 3 sons, 8 daughters
BRAND, Elizabeth (Sexton)1801-09 May 187069W/o Daniel
BRAND, Aletta Ann04 Oct 1839-03 Oct 18682Unmarried d/o Daniel & Elizabeth
BRAND, William26 May 1820-184929Unmarried s/o Daniel & Elizabeth
CAMERON, E.K. (Mr.)1823-27 Dec 1847 Native of Scotland; funeral held 05 Jan 1848 and attended by Odd Fellows; stores closed at the hour of the funeral as a mark of respect.
CAMERON, Margaret McAlpine1802-18 May 185553D/o James & ...
CASSIE, Reverend John1807-19 Jun 186154Also infant d/o Reverend John & Pamela, died 08 August 1842 (10 days)
COLBY, Eva1854-14 Mar 18558 monthsD/o Enoch & Eliza Ann
CORNETT, Joseph04 Jun 1811-29 Jul 185443Born Co. Armagh, Ireland
CRAIG, Henry J.07 Feb 1854-18 Aug 18546 months, 11 daysS/o William & Hannah
CURRY, JohnSep 1866-30 Mar 186818 months
CURRY, Mary Ann
DODDS, NicholDied May 1873Funeral 02 May 1873
DODDS, Peter1830-22 Mar 186535
DODDS, William1828-11 Jan 186335S/o Nichol & Jacobenia
FERGUSON, ...Died 1867W/o Donald
GIBBS, Eliza1803-22 Mar 185956W/o John
GIBBS, GeorgeDied 08 Aug 1859
GRANT, Maryett1829-183910
HALLIDAY, ElizabethDied 26 Jul 1845W/o John
HENRY, Samuel1812-08 Mar 187159
HOUSTON, Daniel1784-27 Mar 185874
HOUSTON, Ellen1840-30 Dec 186121
KNIGHT, Sarah (nee Sleeman)1823-06 Jul 187047W/o C. Knight
L'ESPERANCE, JohnDied 1857 H/o Clarissa Brand (d/o Daniel & Elizabeth); came from Montreal as a lumber buyer and was in Peterborough in 1849; later owned the American Hotel.
LYALL, John1780-11 Nov 185171One of 186 elders in the Presbyterian Church ordained in 1827 by Rev. Jenkin
MAITLAND, Mary Jane1834-01 May 185925D/o James
MATHER, Margaret1843-20 Feb 185916D/o John & Jane
MAYBEE, Elizabeth1794-07 May 183945W/o Benjamin
McCONKEY, Matthewc1805-184742Of malaria while constructing a mill. H/o Margaret Horner (married James Robinson 1847). [Info per Hugh MacMillan, descendant (Ancestry.ca)]
McELROY, Samuel1805-15 Aug 184035Br/o Sarah Vint
McNEILLIE, Janet (nee Richardson)1794-23 Mar 186369W/o Thomas McNeillie
McSPADDEN, John (M.D.)1794-12 Mar 184349
McSPADDEN, Mary Jane1813-28 Sep 187259R/o Dr. John
McSPADDEN, James1824-09 May 183814 Eldest s/o Dr. John & Mary Ann; died as a result of a very sad accident. He had left his home on Walton Street to retrieve something from the Presbyterian Church on Baldwin Street. A friend happened to pass the rear of the church, saw a ladder to one of the windows and the form at the top was that of James hanging from the window which had fallen upon him as he attempted to enter.
McSPADDEN, Charles1826-01 Jan 187144 years, 2 months, 28 days)
MILLER, Ellen1857-07 Feb 18581D/o John A. & Sarah
ORR, John1785-23 Jun 186681Native of Ayrshire, Scotland
ORR, Jane1795-15 Oct 187378W/o John
ORR, JeanAug 1835-09 Oct 18427 years, 2 monthsD/o John & Jane
ORR, MaryJun 1837-23 Sep 18425 years, 3 monthsD/o John & Jane
QUAY, ThomasOct 1786-10 May 184962 years, 7 months One of first elders ordained in 1827; stone erected in Union Cemetery; also stained glass window in St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Walton Street.
ROBERTSON, Peter1826-07 Mar 186842Br/o John
ROSS, Crawford1827-25 May 185326Native of Ross-shire, Scotland
SCOTT, Mary1806-27 Feb 184135W/o John
STEELE, Grace23 Mar 1852-06 April 18531 year, 15 daysTwin/o Gratian
STEELE, Gratian23 Mar 1852-06 Apr 185215 daysTwin/o Grace
STEELE, John1797-17 Sep 187275 Native of Greenock, Scotland; 50 years in the province; published the Watchman in Port Hope from 1850-1855
STEELE, Mary1831-29 May 185120Cousin/o Gratian & Grace
TISDALE, Mary AnnJul 1836-28 Apr 186427 years, 9 monthsW/o William
VINT, Esther J.1846-05 Jan 187023D/o James & Sarah
VINT, Mary E.1845-10 Oct 187126D/o James & Sarah
WALLACE, JohnDied Apr 1866Native of Ayrshire, Scotland
WALLACE, JohnJul 1827-03 Oct 18292 years, 2 monthsS/o John & Jane
WALLACE, JamesNov 1829-05 Sep 18309 monthsS/o John & Jane
WALLACE, ElizabethSep 1833-26 Jan 18344 monthsD/o John & Jane
WALLACE, JamesJul 1831-12 Oct 18376 years, 3 monthsS/o John & Jane
WALLACE, ThomasNov 1815-25 Jul 18171 year, 8 monthsS/o John & Jane
WALLACE, JohnMar 1835-01 Jul 185520 years, 3 months
WALLACE, JaneJun 1841-29 Aug 186322 years, 2 months
WHITE, John1791-07 Jan 186675
WHITE, Dorcas1789-10 Jun 186677

Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario