With no compulsory registration of deaths before 1869, such information about early residents of an area is often difficult to obtain. Gravestones are frequently a wonderful source of such statistics, but unfortunately many early burial stones have now been lost or become so worn that they are almost illegible. Another source of information about early residents is sometimes found in the newspapers, whether in the day-to-day news of the area, or in the obituary section. Some of these death notices, especially those that appeared in the “Christian Guardian”, were very lengthy and elaborate, describing the life of the deceased in great detail. News items in contrast were often gory, sometimes pathetic and occasionally horrendous in their description of the circumstances surrounding the individual’s death.
This Heritage Paper looks at such newspaper notices concerning residents of West Flamborough Township–people who were part of the history of the area, and whose gravestones do not record such interesting and sometimes sad information.
“On Sunday morning last (31 January 1828) Mary Ellen, only daughter of W.H. Coulson of West Flamboro” Gore Gazette – 6 September 1828.
“At West Flamborough on Thursday, 11th inst. (11 September 1828), Mrs. Fortier, wife of Charles Fortier, of Amherstburgh. She had for several years been in a state of mental derangement.”Gore Gazette – 13 September 1828.
“On Monday, 27th May, at his residence in Flamboro’ West, John K. Simons, Lieut-Col. of the 2nd Gore Militia”Christian Guardian, Toronto – 30 June 1832.
“On 23rd ult. (23 July 1834) at his residence in Flamboro’, Walter Simons, aged 42 years”Christian Guardian, Toronto – 6 August 1834.
“Abner Everett, who came to Canada 1794, settling at Flamboro West died there September 26, 1836, age 57 years: survived by his wife and 2 children”Christian Guardian, Toronto – 5 October 1836.
“Susan, daughter of John McIlroy, died in West Flamboro’, the 8th inst.” (8 November 1839.Christian Guardian, Toronto – 27 November 1839.
“At West Flamboro, on 16th inst., (16 April 1841) James Crooks Jr., eldest son of the Hon. James Crooks, aged 30 years.”Christian Guardian, Toronto – 21 April 1841;The Church, Toronto – 21 April 1841.
“Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Morris lost her father while she was an infant. In 1834, she moved with her mother to Niagara Falls, and shortly after that to West Flamboro, where she lost a brother, and also married Thomas Morris in 1836. She died May 18, 1841.”Christian Guardian, Toronto – 1 September 1841.
“At West Flamborough, on Saturday evening, 19th inst., Sarah Ann, wife of Andrew Todd Kerby, in 42nd year of her age.”The Church, Toronto – 25 November 1842.
“Mrs. Elizabeth McKay, daughter of John Keagy of Flamboro West, died the 13th inst., (13 January 1845) in Ancaster Township, survived by her husband and 5 children.”Christian Guardian, Toronto – 29 January 1845.
“At West Flamborough, on 2nd inst., (2 February 1845) Sarah, wife of Walter Colcleugh, P.M., and second daughter of J. Kirkpatrick, aged 20 years.”Toronto Herald – 13 February 1845.
“Mrs. Christiana Cummings, nee Angle, was born in New Jersey, married Daniel Cummings in her 19th year, and came to Canada with him in 1795, settling in West Flamboro’, where she died July 10, 1845, in her 77th year: survived by her husband.”Christian Messenger – 1 December 1845.
“Samuel Carpenter, born in Sussex County, New Jersey c. 1776, emigrated to Canada West, settling in Saltfleet Township in 1787. In about 1801, he married Mary Templer of Grimsby who died in 1839. In 1839, he married Mrs. Simonds of Flamboro’ West. He died 12 September 1845, survived by his wife and family.”Christian Guardian, Toronto – 17 December 1845.
“In Flamboro West, on 8th inst., (8 May 1846) Ralph Bullock.”The Church, Toronto – 15 May 1846.
“On 27th ult., (27 May 1846) at his residence, in the Township of West Flamboro’, Edward Ryckman, aged 83 years.”Examiner, Toronto – 3 June 1846.
“An inquest was held on Monday in West Flamborough, on the body of Jacob Moore, aged about 14 years, son of John Moore, who was killed the previous evening (6 September 1846) by a young colt running away with him.”Hamilton Gazette – 10 September 1846;Toronto Herald – 14 September 1846.
“Mr. Stephen Sealey, a native of the U.S., died suddenly, Monday afternoon, at his residence, 4th Concession, Flamboro West.”Dundas Warder – 23 April 1847;Christian Guardian, Toronto – 28 April 1847.
At Toronto, on 30th ult., (30 October 1847) Sophia, second daughter of Andrew Todd Kerby of West Flamboro.”Hamilton Gazette – 1 November 1847.
“David Morden was born in Sussex County, New Jersey, and came to Canada in 1786, settling in Dundas, Flamboro’ West. In 1815, he moved with his family to Uxbridge, where he died April 24, 1848, in his 80th year; survived by his wife and numerous relatives.”Canada Christian Advocate – 13 June 1848.
“Mrs. Rachael Cornwill was born in Pennsylvania, near the Susquehanna River, and came to Canada with her parents in 1804, settling in Flamboro’ West. In 1811, she joined the Presbyterian Church, and in 1818, she and her husband, Jesse Cornwill, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. She died August 3, 1848; survived by her husband and seven children.” Obituary notice sent from Westminster.Canada Christian Advocate – 15 August 1848.
“At Flamboro West, on 21st ult., (21 August 1848) John Hynes, lately of Toronto, and who was for many years Captain and Adjutant of the First Frontenac Militia, Kingston, aged 64 years.”British Colonist, Toronto – 15 September 1848.
Originally published in Heritage Happenings, March 1987.
© The Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society 1987, 2021.