Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Ithamar Smuck was one of four children born to Jacob Smuck and Margaret Taylor. Ithamar was saddled with a family name of his grandmother Lucinda Shaw and his siblings were named Alice, James and Austin .
The family moved to Ontario in the late 1700s where they farmed in Glanford.
Ithamar and Agnes would have three children - Alexander who died in 1909 at 2 mos, Lyle who was born in 1910 and was possibly still living after 2007 when his sister Anne died (b 1918) since his death is not noted in the family genealogy chart.
Agnes lived to a good age of 93, surviving her husband by eleven years more than he lived.
a family photo can be found here

for a Taphophile Tragics at the Hamilton Cemetery

Monday, 30 July 2012

Mogul 88

the plaque on the left reads:
This mural depicts a train mishap that occurred on May 27, 1953. The Canadian National Railway's First Lady of the Mogul Fleet No 88 was leading with 3506 as pilot. The coal tender 'split the switch' after the engine had passed over it and tried to move onto a siding. Both engines overturned with Mogul 88 lying on the lawn at the north-east corner of Ferguson and Rebecca Sts. None of the crew were injured and damage was slight.
Artist: Ed Kowalski Jr
Mural Sponsor: The City of Hamilton and The International Village BIA

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

signs of age

with the cemetery sitting on top of a hill between two railway tracks, the monument has been blackened by soot on all sides. the stone has been worn away by a cascade of (acid) rain on the north side and is completely softened and unreadable on the west side. the east side, which is protected from the prevailing winds, is still easily readable to show that this monument belongs to the family of Isaac and Celia Chilman [née Cecelia Pim]  who had 14 children.

for a Taphophile Tragics at the Hamilton Cemetery

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


A simple grave with a lot of history. This past weekend saw the biannual Howard-Holland Family Reunion held this year in Hamilton, Ontario. It wasn't until 1991 that the Holland family knew the rest of the story of their slave history and the connection between the Holland and Howard families was established and the reunions were expanded to include the Canadian connection with gatherings alternating between the US and Canada.

Thomas John Holland was one of five children of August and Leatha Howard. Leatha was a free woman who willingly moved into the slave colony so that she and August could be together. Thomas was watched carefully since he was a tall, strapping lad and a 'valuable' slave. But he feigned illness and even starved himself to lose some of his strength. After years of pretending to be unhealthy the overseers paid a little less attention to him and by 1860 he escaped via the Underground Railroad and swimming the Niagara River to freedom. The brothers changed their name to Holland to avoid bounty hunters. It wasn't until 1873 that he met Henrietta Shortt and together they had 13 children one of whom would be John C Holland, a great source of social awareness in the city who would be named Hamilton's Citizen of the Year in 1953 just months before his untimely death. Thomas and Henrietta owned a feed store and to help earn some money, it is said that Thomas joined a choir and Henrietta was known to raise geese, making mattresses and pillows from their down before selling the birds.

And now, over 200 descendants have come to see where they made their home.

for a Taphophile Tragics at the Hamilton Cemetery

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

mothers and daughters

three generations - mother daughter and granddaughter - resting under this new looking memorial.
"Surrounded by her children, Catharina was carried on to glory to be with her Lord and Saviour in her 72nd year, in the evening of December 30, 2010." There were still six children surviving and 34 grandchildren plus ten great-grandchildren. All of whom spent Christmas Day with Catharina, including a newly found estranged daughter of Yvonne's who was taken to live away by her paternal grandparents (found on a personal blog designed to help find the missing family member)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Monday, 2 July 2012


Both Oliver Mowat and Bertha Gladys are deceased and resting at the Waterdown Union Cemetery. This is the first time I have ever seen the words deceased used on a gravestone and that was what grabbed my attention. 
And the absence of birthdates, which seems to be more common that expected. 
Oliver and Gladys were married on April 19, 1922 and had one child, Joyce Elizabeth. Her birthdate is 'confidential' according to the Horning Genealogy, but Oliver was born on January 13th, 1891 in Waterdown and died on February 2, 1962 at age 71 in Hamilton. Gladys was born on September 3rd, 1880 in Burlington and died in Hamilton on June 1, 1969 at age 88.

for a Taphophile Tragics at Waterdown Union Cemetery