Monday, May 7, 2012

grave post #19

While I was in Niagara Falls last week looking at the giant flower, I stopped off at Niagara-on-the-Lake and after a short repast of tea and scone, I walked around and found this cemetery at St Mark's Anglican Church.
The church itself has an interesting history as the oldest Anglican Church in continuous use in Ontario since 1790.  The construction was ambitious and it took until 1809 before any services were held in the building. During the War of 1812 the church was used as a hospital by the British and Canadian forces.  The cemetery surrounding the church was a community burial ground from before the church was built and the oldest stone belongs to Elizabeth Kerr who died in 1794. I still need to find her grave.

I did find the grave of the first reverend, Robert Addison. He had applied for service abroad and when a request came to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts for a resident clergyman, he left England for Upper Canada. He brought with him 1500 books and a silver chalice that are still in possession of St Mark's. I have nothing more to add than what is on this stone... and all photos can be enlarged by clicking them.

David Cowan, born in 1742 in Lanarkshire Scotland, emigrated to the American Colonies in 1770 and became a gardener to George Washington at Mount Vernon. When the American Revolution broke out six years later, he wished to remain loyal to the Crown and was given a safe passage by Washington to Quebec.
He joined the Provincial Marine Dept, a branch of the British navy on the Great Lakes manned by the UEL* and colonists and during the War of Independence he captained several armed vessels. After the war ended, he continued to captain several more ships that plied the Great Lakes. Lt Governor John Graves and Lady Simcoe (who were also among the congregation at St Mark's) were known to take passage on his ship, the Ottawa, and later Lt Cowan would commandeer the Frances, named after Simcoe's son and then the Camden, named after the Earl of Camden. It was on this last ship that he died while on board in the harbour at Fort Erie on September 24th, 1808.

This memorial stone was placed near the entrance in the grave yard of the the St Mark's Anglican Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Where his original grave is located is unknown as the burial ground was partially destroyed during the War of 1812 in 1813 and many of the original stones, especially those of the military were lost.

* UEL United Empire Loyalist
* R.N  Royal Navy

find more lost graves at Taphophile Tragics

24 comments:

  1. What a treasure places like this are.

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    1. It was very interesting...I spent almost 2 hours there and it is not a very big graveyard!

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  2. It's very interesting to read a bit of the history as well. I really don't know that much about the war of independence from the Canadian point of view and it's nice to hear a little bit about it.

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    1. We inherited a lot of immigrants as United Empire Loyalists from the Revolutionary War.

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  3. Very interesting post with some wonderful photos!

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    1. Thanks. This was one of the easier researches I've done since most of the information was on the stones (and in a tourist brochure about the church!)

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  4. Sounds as if this cemetery could be a wonderful insight into the history of Canada - especially as the Church was used as a hospital for a time! Interesting post!

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    1. We are being inundated with War of 1812 history this year, so I may find out more about this church.

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  5. Interesting details, 1500 books sounds like a small library and a nice link between the two men. Wonder if they knew each other before the funeral service?

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    1. I was wondering that, too. Cowan would have been travelling on his ship, but their paths may have crossed a few times.

      I have since found more information on Addison and will save that for another post.

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  6. Interesting post complemented by lovely photos!

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  7. With all the War of 1812 events going on, this cemetery could prove to be very interesting.
    And that Cowan certainly moved with some high rollers!

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    1. yes, there are lots of events happening. this is practice for getting into the history!

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  8. Wow...this was of incredible interest. I loved your share and the history.

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    1. it seemed such an unassuming cemetery at first. but NOTL is full of history.

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  9. ooh, i want to goto niagara falls as well!
    and as a bonus a cemetery, thats always nice... :)

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    1. it was interesting to wander around with this meme in mind as the names were unfamiliar to me, but were likely important to the town and I didn't want to miss anything story worthy!

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  10. That's a funny contrast - you went from seeing something very much alive to a place about death. Nice balance.

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    1. I hadn't thought of it that way, but yes!

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  11. NOTL I eventually figured out. The photographs with the text are wonderful, especially that second one. I can understand your staying 2 hours. I have not thought that the War of 1812 is significant this year, but understand now. I know absolutely nothing about it, save the name.

    That George Washington was not a 'small' man, was he? I wonder if Cowan ever met him again, or indeed, if he regretted jumping ship, so to speak.

    Yes, please. More of this type of history when you have sluiced it all through your brain.

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    1. The War of 1812 is HUGE this year - at least in these parts as most of it was fought in this area. The rest of the country may quite well be oblivious to it.

      I am sure Cowan was quite happy with his change in life - going from a gardener to a Ship Captain.

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  12. Fantastic post, wonderful pictures.

    Herding Cats

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