Tuesday, October 16, 2012

grave post - Hendrie

The Hendrie family were fabulously wealthy. In fact, the people of Hamilton were fascinated to discover upon William Hendrie's death in 1906 at age 75, that his estate was worth 2.3 million (although there were many debts and taxes owing). Railways created Hendrie’s business, and cartage, contracting, manufacturing, and rail promotion ultimately involved him in the production of structural iron and steel for which Hamilton has been well known. He was also a sportsman who loved horses and horse racing and he passed on this love to at least one of his four sons, George.  Horsebreeding grew out of his cartage business and William bred and sold horses  (saddle and road and carriage) and would eventually contribute to the forming of the Ontario Jockey Club. In 1931 (perhaps coinicidentally, perhaps not, a hundred years after the birth of his father) George would donate the family's Valley Farm to the City of Hamilton and it would later become a part of the Royal Botanical Gardens. (You can read about the Hendrie Valley Trail here). There is a usual family monument (left) with separate flat stones surrounding the plot for various family members. The stone for George Muir Hendrie, however is not so usual.

George Muir Hendrie
born Hamilton Canada Feb 4 1865
died New York USA Nov 29 1942
fourth son of William and Margaret Hendrie
sporting son of a sporting father
breeder and lover of thoroughbred horses
sporting dogs and game chickens
buried in the "Louisville Cup"
won by his horse Great Britain 1914

I am not sure which is more shocking, the 'game chickens' or that he was buried in the cup won by his beloved horse. I am also not sure what he was doing in New York in 1942.

The family is buried in the Hamilton Cemetery that borders the Royal Botanical Gardens but, if you were to visit Hendrie Park and walked through these ornate gates
past the fountain you will find a plaque
 honouring the donation of the park

and if you continued and walked around behind this tall hedge...

you will find another grave site

Foaled 1896 - Dies 1916
Winner of FUTURITY 
and other races
and a sire of good horses
"dumb creatures we have 
cherished here below
shall give us joyous greeting
when we pass the golden gate
is it folly that I hope it may be so?"

Taphophile Tragics has more interesting tales from the grave


  1. I didn't know about the Hendries. Very interesting stuff. And I like the looks of this cemetery.

  2. Dumb creatures? I have a feeling that horse gave him a kick when he got to heaven. Great post, very interesting and a good read.

    Beneath Thy Feet

  3. Hmmm...I don't think we have any animals buried in the Guelph cemetery.

    1. the horse is actually buried on the land that is now RBG

  4. You do find such interesting graves and memorials! And it looks a lovely well-kept cemetary.

  5. Buried in a cup? Small man? Big cup? Ashes, presumably. Hmm.

    Game chickens???

  6. Truly fascinating places, graveyards, and you found some interesting facts about this man. A 2.3 million fortune in 1906 must have been a vast sum.

  7. hahahahahaha. i had to read it a few times, didnt get it, im so slow!
    but now i do. buried in a cup?! hahahahaha. wonder if thats really what he wanted...


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