In Amherstburg, we take our history seriously. From 2012-2014, we’ve been celebrating the War of 1812 in numerous ways that bring the event alive for residents and history seeking visitors to the town. The pride and joy is historic Fort Malden but a walk through town reveals history at every turn. Street names, parks, even the Marsh Historical Collection tells stories of a community rich in history. Recent additions to the Navy Yard Park really make you think and wonder.
The stories that could be told if these people were around to tell them. Of course, Amherstburg isn’t alone – we’re but one community located on the Great Lakes which were the great transportation and dividers of the time. For the past couple of years, we have been day and over night tripping visiting communities, forts, and historic sites in southern Ontario. It’s fascinating to think and be proud that we’ve managed to maintain so much.
There’s another part of historic story telling that isn’t as immediately obvious and yet people drive by them daily without much thought. I’m talking about cemeteries. Are you aware of the CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project? It’s ambitious – the plan is to catalogue each of Canada’s ~18,000 known cemeteries. Imagine the stories!
A number of search tools will let you find a cemetery by name or even a headstone if the name was still readable when photographed. But, I would suggest that you don’t do this first – find your country and look for the list of cemeteries. You’ve probably been by so many of them and not known the name or history behind it.
Essex County has a big list…
There’s one, in particular, that I see on a regular basis. It’s at the intersection of County Road 10 and County Road 20 – the Wyandotte Indian Cemetery.
Further north, the Walls Fugitive / Slave Cemetery…
Off into Kent County, the North Buxton cemetery…
The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, not all cemeteries have made the list – in particular, it would be nice to have the Battle of the Thames Cemetery catalogued. Those that are catalogued have pictures of headstones, historical plaques and more. There’s even a spot to suggest a change or improvement to the information that’s on file. The entire collection is a huge repository of history – ours.
In your community, what stories are waiting to be discovered?