St. JOHN’S CEMETERY – History
Excerpt from “Unto the Hills” A History of the Parish of East Mono
By the Rev. Allan Read, 1952
(The Rev. A. Read served as clergy to Mono Parish 1947-54)
CHAPTER EIGHT The Parish Burying Ground
Full of history is the Parish burying ground at Old St. John’s Church on the Seventh Line Mono. The Church was begun in 1832, but there are graves of even older vintage, many of them unmarked. Amongst the early graves is that of William Robinson, the stone showing that he was killed by a thunderstorm from which he had taken refuge in a hollow tree in 1831. Another early grave of the same year is that of T. Henery White. Here this infant babe is buried with the injunction “Lie still sweet babe”, while a small slab of brown fieldstone cut with the slow labour of an unaccustomed hand marks the spot. In the cemetery are the earthly remains of those early pioneers who did so much for those who were to come after. Here are buried the Cobeans, the Atkinsons, the Fletchers, the McManuses, the Jacksons, the Speers, the Pattersons and many many other devout men and women.
Two grave stones are of special interest. The first is of Issac Easebury south of the church. On the bottom of this tomb-stone, there is written:
“I.E was wilfully shot while sitting at his own fire-side by -----“.
Many variations of this story exist, but one old timer, a descendant of the McLaughlins writes the following:
“I heard the shot which ended the life of Isaac Osberry (as it was pronounced) (Easebury). The belief was that the shot was fired by a man who wanted to marry Isaac’s mother, a widow. This man was arrested and spent a year in Brampton Jail, but not condemned or at least came back to Mono Mills and I think finished his life in or near the village. He lived one concession from Mono Mills on the road to Orangeville. The reason for the shooting was that the man referred to, coveted the property of Mrs. Easebury and her son Isaac. But Isaac objected to his marrying the mother. He shot through the window of the room where they were sitting. The property mentioned was some acres nearby on which was a very small grist mill on a little stream which a little lower down joined another and the two formed the Humber River, on which the McLaughlin grist and woolen and sawmills were. The shooting of Isaac took place in the evening before dark. ----Isaac and his mother were said to be gipsys, and were considered to be unusual persons. Mrs. Eastbury never married a second time so far as I know though her son was shot by a man who wanted to marry her – a man named Irwin so it was alleged at the time”.
Another grave stone of interest is a small one immediately north of the church door. The Rev. A.C. Watt one windy New Year’s day, hitched up his buggy in preparation to go to Mono Mills to perform the wedding of Sarah Holmes and Richard M. Speers. Having placed his wife and infant daughter in the buggy, he went into the old rectory on the Seventh Line to wash his hands. The wind blew a piece of paper in front of the horse, causing the horse to bolt. The buggy upset, and the unbaptized infant was killed. With a heavy heart, the Rev. A.C. Watt made his way to the wedding at Mono Mills, and returned to bury his infant daughter in the old cemetery.
For a number of years, the cemetery was as so many other small country cemeteries, a scene of desolation. Thistles, burdocks, briars, brambles and wild raspberry thickets covered half filled graves and ground hog holes. The Rev. E.P. Wood made the first blue prints of the cemetery, and began what many had tried to do before, the cleaning up of the cemetery. It was not until the Rev. H.W. Bracken came that real progress was made. The cemetery was carefully mapped again, and the land worked. A system of perpetual care was commended, insuring the cemetery of available revenue for the future, and the work so carefully begun has continued on apace. The cemetery has been much enlarged and a windblock of pines has been planted across the back of it. Members from the four churches sit on a cemetery board with the wardens and the rector to look after the important work.
Outstanding has been the lay-leadership of Joseph Varey and Samuel Patterson during the last dozen years. The Annual Cemetery Service has been steadily growing, and to-day the spot is a worthy dignified resting place for the bodies of the heroic pioneers. The beautiful elm trees on the north side with the neatly trimmed grave stones and the broad expanses of grass is a far change from the tangled jungle hithertofore.
Thus the history of the Parish of Mono is written. Our pages stop here but the work goes on. The history is still being written but in actual deeds and accomplishments rather than in this book. The prayer is that the descendants of these early pioneers might be worthy of the heritage they have been given. Christ is still offering to men the Abundant Life. May the rural folk of the Parish of East Mono still find Abundant Life as they live and pray and work and play in the hills from whence come the Nottawasage, the Humber and the Credit.
From the Orangeville Sun Aug. 6, 1931 Newspaper Clipping Image
A CENTURY OLD TRAGEDY
The other day one of our subscribers recalled a tragedy that saddened the people of the Mono Mills district one hundred years ago. On July 29th 1831, one of the oldtime logging bees, so necessary when the country was being cleared up, was held on a farm near Mono Mills. A number of men were at work in the bush when a heavy rain and windstorm came on. They ran for shelter and three of them-John Wright, Jacob Brooks, and John McLaughlin-took refuge under a hollow tree. During the storm another tree was blown over and struck the tree under which the men were standing, killing all three. The tragedy shocked the entire district and the whole countryside was represented at the funerals of the victims. John McLaughlin, one of the men killed in the storm, was a brother of the late Dan. Michael and Frank McLaughlin, who were the first settlers in Mono Mills, and was the grandfather of James and Joseph Haffey and Mrs. Dennis Horan, of Albion.