Tuesday, May 14, 2013

grave post - Abner Miles

When Abner Miles, an innkeeper and merchant from York, settled on the lots each side of (what is now) Yonge Street at Major Mackenzie Drive in 1801, there was not much in the village of Richmond Hill, so he began by establishing an inn, a store, and an ashery (a potash business, burning scrub brush and wood to produce raw ingredients for soap, candles and other mainstays of pioneer homes). The inn, or tavern, was perhaps the most important of Abner Miles businesses to help form the new community as it quickly became a favourite watering hole as well as a focal point for auctions, dances, masonic dinners and town meetings.
Soon, local residents and Yonge Street travellers were using the name Miles' Hill to refer to both the rise of land and the new community that gradually took shape along the road from Major Mackenzie Drive north through the core of modern Richmond Hill. Although Abner may have been the first resident of the area, it was the Miles' children who confirmed Abner's status as the "father" of Richmond Hill. The marriages of his daughters Hannah to James Playter, Lucy to John Langstaff, and Elizabeth to John Arnold marked the founding of three families who were to play important roles in the community's subsequent history. His son, James continued in his father's enterprises.
On his death in 1806, his son James inherited his land, what had by then amounted to two thousand acres, eventually donating land for the Presbyterian Church a manse, a school and a cemetery where his father was buried. 

Nothing is known of his education or early work. He was born about 1752 somewhere in Massachusetts. At some point he married a woman named Mercy, and together they had six children - five daughters, Hannah, Lucy, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mary as well as son James.

I don't know where all the other taphophiles went, but now that the weather is nicer (sortof - we actually had bits of snow fall out of the sky yesterday!!) I have resumed my visits to cemeteries. I'll try to entertain you with my researches. There are more photos of the cemetery over on SightLines

Taphophile Tragics


  1. As you wandered this cemetery you doubtless passed the graves of some of my ancestors...poor Irish immigrants all.

  2. Fascinating post. I have to admit the dire weather we had during the winter put me off visiting cemeteries. I also had to take a break when my 15 month old became very ill with a cold. Hopefully I weather will continue to improve.

    Beneath Thy Feet

  3. I just realized I was never sure what potash was before.

  4. He sounds like quite a chap. And it's nice to give him a bit of internet afterlife.

  5. Very nice post! It sounds like a nice cemetery to do some wandering in. :) Thanks for sharing this on Taphophile Tragics!


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