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 BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site    
 Author:  Butch McLarty
 Dated:  Thursday, December 06 2007 @ 03:05 PM EST
 Viewed:  2,596 times  

Sixty pioneer headstones from Gladstone Baptist Cemetery in the Municipality of Thames Centre broken up and tossed in the dump

Pioneer gravestones dumped at landfill, LFP, Sat. Dec. 8, 2007

RESIDENTS in the Municipality of Thames Centre (Dorchester, Nilestown area east of London) are angry that their municipal government have smashed all of the pioneer headstones in Gladstone Baptist Cemetery and trucked the debris off to the landfill site.

Greg Borduas, CAO of Thames Centre, says it was safety concerns over the condition of the old pioneer tombstones that prompted the action.

A sheepish-looking Bourdas further defended the move by saying that it was "approved by the [five-member] municipal council and advertised in the newspaper."

But area residents say the little-known move by the municipality with its administrative offices in Dorchester, Ontario, shows disrespect for the pioneers of the area that cleared the land and built the local economy from the ground up in the 1800s.

They say that the headstones are historical artifacts containing geneological information such as family members, birth dates and dates of death that are irreplaceable.

As a result, several residents are combing through the piles of debris at the dump to retrieve the headstones.

CAO Borduas says that Thames Centre plans to erect a memorial in the Gladstone Baptist Cemetery with the names of the deceased pioneers inscribed on the memorial.

Investigation underway

According to the A-Channel on Friday, the provincial registrar of Ontario's cemeteries will be investigating this matter to see if the municipality of Thames Centre followed proper procedures pursuant to the Cemetery Act and its Regulations when it disposed of the pioneer headstones.

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  • BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site | 17 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: jponeil on Thursday, December 06 2007 @ 04:03 PM EST
    There are several ways to safely remove and transport old gravestones, but most methods while basically simple are time consuming and labour intensive (read - not inexpensive). Likely the older marble stones, from years of acid rain and possible chemical interaction from the concrete setting itself weakened them, but still, it can be done. It's just time consuming work.

    There are several things we can learn from stones themselves, even ones that have been removed and placed in a cement wall such as these ones where. The shape, type of stone used, the way the inscriptions where carved (IE - tools used) and so forth can date the manufacture of the stone, and it's origin. There are literally whole books on the subject. Pictures alone seldom suffice. For example, I am sure the name of the stone cutter - sometimes placed on the back, sometimes on the front, near the bottom - was not recorded photographically on all these stones before their destruction.

    There are many, many, many pioneer cemeteries across Ontario that have been destroyed in the past, but usually the stones end in some practical application. For example, my great-great-grandfather who fought with the GLI in the War of 1812 (the GLI was the regiment you read about when you learn of Laura Secord) - his pioneer grave stone is under a barn foundation down in the Ottawa valley area. However, the same thing has happened many times in London. I suspect there are people in this city who have old graves stones in the foundation of their house or under an old step or walkway and may not even be aware of it. This would apply to houses built right up to the 1950s.

    I hope residents can comb through the rubble pile and recover whatever is possible, despite the poor weather

    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: Sapphire on Thursday, December 06 2007 @ 04:21 PM EST
    My burning question is this:

    If the wall supporting the tombstones was unsafe, whky didn't the city just fix it? It would have cost less than dismantling the tombstones and trucking them to the rubbish site. We, in London, are very lucky this did not happen to Oakland Cemetary. Looks like it would have been gone by now if it had been situated in Thames Centre.

    Guess who isn't going to be relected in Thames Centre in the next election.
    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: Mr_Ambassador on Thursday, December 06 2007 @ 04:57 PM EST
    Apparently Galdstone Baptist Cemetery was an abandoned pioneer cemetery, but there's still proper processes to follow pursuant to the Cemeteries Act before tombstones are removed.

    I wonder if Thames Centre did that.

    When you come to that infamous fork in the road, pick it up because you never know when you'll need an eating utensil.
    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: Protestant on Friday, December 07 2007 @ 05:51 AM EST
    It is vulgar to put tombstones in a dump along with other construction debris. I could care less if it was done following a legal process. Whoever came up with idea that it's O.K. is a creep and so is anyone that would do it.
    Safety Concerns Is A Red Herring
    Authored by: Meadow Lily on Friday, December 07 2007 @ 09:05 AM EST
    I believe the safety concerns were a red herring. One of my friends, who has (opr maybe by now, had) family members buried in the Gladstone Cemetery, notes that the cemetery is very close to a new subdivision of expensive monster homes. Also, another friend who actually lives in Thames Centre and is an avid newspaper reader, says he did not see the advertisement warning of the proposed removal of the tombstones. I believe this case will be of great interest to genealogy groups around Ontario - and I hope the London and Middlesex Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society responds to the situation. This is particularly ironic when the annual conference for the Society is being held at Fanshawe College next May - now organizers will have a great "what-not-to-do" story to relate. Hopefully anyone and everyone will phone the Thames Centre office in Dorchester and express their outrage - or better yet, send off a letter. It was very interesting that the elected mayor of Thames Centre was not on camera - instead it was one of the employees. Sort of like having the clerk of London make all the major pronouncments instead of Mayor Anne. I am certain that the municipality of Thames Centre - which was once the individual townships of West Nissouri and North Dorchester - is going to regret the wholesale destruction of the pioneer burial ground. Certainly my friend with family members buried there is already drafting letters to area MPPS, and to other and assorted powers-that-be. How difficult would it have been to have the municipality delay the removal of the tombstones until at least several descendants of the families buried at Gladstone had been personally contacted??? Sounds like something's fishy in old Thames Centre - hope it doesn't turn out to be some greased palms.
    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: Milyn Hall on Friday, December 07 2007 @ 09:59 AM EST
    Bottom line is ...The Cemetary Act covers such incidences, heaven knows the City of London was unconcerned about Westminster Townships many pioneer cemetaries..... myself and MK and the LACH had to presure the planning staff and they finaly fessed up to the knowledge when deed proof was provided... you just can't in this day and age trust civic process or methods.
    The CAO's explanation for that matter is dutifull of dismisal, as a lack of respect, especially those who pay him taxes... now, what dose he think of you all ?
    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: admin on Friday, December 07 2007 @ 10:35 AM EST
    From the A-Channel-London website:

    Pioneer Cemetery Dismantled, Junked

    They were the pioneers of our area and tonight their legacy has -- quite literally -- been thrown away.

    Residents east of London are outraged after a pioneer cemetery was dismantled and then tossed in a dump, not by vandals but a municpal government.

    It's an action the Municipality of Thames Centre is defending, but the destruction of the pioneer cemetery has ancestors and area residents furious.

    Apporximately 60 headstones from the Gladstone Baptist Cemetery have been tossed in the dump, and are now scattered among pieces of concrete and even old toilets.

    Glen Bourduas, the CAO of Thames Centre, says the decision to take over the cemetery relates to health and safety as the walls around it were crumbling. He says that's the same reason why the headstones couldn't be saved.

    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: admin on Friday, December 07 2007 @ 03:36 PM EST
    Gladstone Baptist Cemetery

    (may not be exact)
    BLACK, Catharine
    In Memory of Catharine,
    Daughter of Duncan & Mary Black,
    Died Aug. 21. 1859, Age 12 ys. 5 ms. 9 ds.

    BROWN, Duncan,
    In Memory of Duncan,
    Son of Dougald & Mary Brown,
    Died Aug 1, 1868, Age 4 mos.

    CEASER, Martha,
    In Memory of Martha,
    Daughter of J.W. & H. Ceaser,
    Died Aug 11, 1874, ae 3 yrs. 7 mos.

    DEMARAY, Abram,
    AbramSon of Benj. V. & Rebecca Demaray,
    Died May 9, 1857,
    Aged 14 ys., 9 ms. 28 ds.

    DEMARAY, Angelina,
    Angelina, Wife of David Demaray,
    Died _____ 2, 188__

    DEMARAY, Jane,
    In Memory of Jane,
    Wife of David Demaray,
    Died Jan 19, 1885
    Age 98 yrs. 2 mos. 8 ds.

    DEMARAY, Kzia,
    In Memory of Kzia,
    daughter of Wm. & Mg't Demaray,
    Who died May 20, 1846,
    Aged 8 yrs. 4 m. 3 d.

    DEMARAY, Margaret,
    In Memory of Margaret
    Wife of David Demaray
    Died Apr. 19 1857
    Aged 45 yrs.

    DEMARAY, Phidelia
    In Memory of Phidelia
    daughter of William & Margaret Demaray
    Who Died Oct. 22, 1851
    Age 2 yrs. 2 m.

    DEMARAY, Rebecca
    Wife of Benjamin V. Demaray
    Who Died Mar. 8, 1855
    Aged 38 years 10 mo's. & 17 d's.

    DEMARAY, Washington
    In Memory of Washington
    Son of William & Margaret Demaray
    Who died June 16, 1849
    Aged 8 yrs. 2 ms. 16 ds.

    FAULDS, Wesley Wesley
    Son of Andw. & Almira Faulds
    Died Oct 28, 1863
    Aged 2 ys. 6 ms. 13 ds.

    FULLER, Amy In Memory of Amy Fuller
    Died Mar 25, 1867
    GRANT, Catharine In Memory of Catharine
    Wife of Wm. Grant
    Who died _________

    GRANT, William In Memory of William Grant
    Died Nov 22 1856
    Aged 54 yrs. 4 ms. & 3 ds.

    GROAT, Ann Eliza
    Ann Eliza, Wife of Randle Groat
    Died Mar 23, 1873
    Aged 22 yrs. 2 ms. & 7 ds.

    GROAT, Baby
    In Memory of our little Baby
    Son of Standish & Catharine Groat
    Who died Apr. 11, 1856
    Aged 5 days

    GROAT, Eliza Ann
    In Memory of Eliza Ann
    daughter of Wm. & Nancy Groat
    who died Sept 12, 185__
    Aged 2 ___ 5 ___

    GROAT, EZRA In Memory of Erza
    Son of Standish & Lydia Groat
    Died Jan 5, 1855
    Age 23 yrs.

    GROAT, Lydia In Memory of Lydia
    Wife of Standish Groat
    Who died Apr 12 1851
    aged 60 yrs.

    GROAT, Margaret M. Margaret M.
    daughter of Standish & Lydia Groat
    Died April 6, 1849
    Aged 6 mos. & 9 ds.

    GROAT, Martha
    In Memory of Martha
    Wife of Jacob Groat

    GROAT, Rachel M. Rachel M.
    daughter of Standish & Lydia Groat
    Died Oct. 8, 1851
    Aged 5 ms. & 25 ds.

    GROAT, Standish
    In Memory of Standish Groat
    Died Mar 19, 1873
    Aged 87 Yrs. 10 Mos. & 15 Ds.

    GROAT, Stephen Stephen
    son of Standish & Catharine Groat
    Died Aug. 2, 1854
    Aged 3 ms. & 27 ds.

    HAZEN, Elgin Elgin
    Son of Mark W. & Edith Hazen
    Died Sept 10, 1885
    Aged 8 Yrs. 1 Mo.

    HILL, George In Memory of George
    Son of Wm. & Sarah Hill
    Died _________

    KNOTT, Selena Our Baby
    In memory of Selena
    Dau. of Thomas and Sharlotte Knott
    Who Died April 26, 1878
    Aged 1 Year 10 Mos. & 2 Days

    LAWER, George W. In Memory of
    George W. Lawer
    Son of Jas. & Cath'ne Lawer
    Died Feb 27, 1876
    Age 1 yr. 1 mon. & 5 ds.

    MACKLEM, W.H. In Memory of W.H. Macklem
    Died Mar. 4. 1876
    Age 27 YS.

    Geo. MacQuisten
    Died Aug. 28. 1881
    Aged 17 y'rs.

    Alex. MacQuisten
    Died July 3. 1882
    Aged 23 y'rs.

    MARSH, Anna In Memory of Anna Marsh
    Born Dec. 13, 1764
    Died Feb. 28, 1847

    MARSH, Jacob Jacob Marsh
    Who Died May 30 1856
    Age 5 yrs. 10 ms. & 5 ds.

    MARSH, Lydia Lydia Marsh
    Died June 3, 1855
    Age 80 yrs.

    MARSH, Mary E. In Memory of Mary E.
    Daughter of J. & C. Marsh
    Died May 30, 1874
    Aged 1 yr. 9 ms. 10 ds.

    MARSH, Randal Randal Marsh
    Died May 19, 1855
    Age 83 yrs. & 3 ms.

    MARSH, Samuel In Memory of Samuel Marsh
    Died Feb. 15, 1861
    Age 56 yrs.

    MOORE, Deborah In Memory of Deborah
    Wife of Thomas Moore
    Died Dec 5, 1860
    Aged 62 years

    MORE, Ester In Memory of Ester
    daughter of James & Mary More
    Who died Aug. 20, 1853
    aged 1 m. & 5 d.

    MORE, Jesse In Memory of Jesse
    Son of Thos. & Sarah More

    SHERK, Caroline In Memory of Caroline
    Daughter of James & Rosana Sherk
    Died Jan 11 1866
    Age 10 yrs. & 10 ms.

    SHERK, Mary A. Mary A.
    dau. of James & Rosana Sherk
    Died Sept. 22 1863
    Age 14 yrs. 5 ms. & 25 ds.

    SINCLAIR, Willie Willie
    Son of Duncan & Nettie Sinclair
    died Sept 9, 1875
    Age 1 yr. 1 mos. & 18 dys.

    STEWART, William William
    Son of John C. & Mary Jane Stewart
    Died Nov 5, 1895
    Aged 22 yrs. & 29 dys.

    TANNER, Mary Lucy In Memory of Mary Lucy
    Dau. of George & Mary Anne Tanner
    Died June 28, 1868
    Age 6 ms.

    THICK, Albert In Memory of Albert
    Son of George & Eunice Thick
    Died Sept 10, 1867
    Age 5 ys. 6 ms. 13 ds.

    THICK, Eunice Mother
    Eunice, Wife of George Thick
    Died Sept 4, 1886
    Aged 62 years

    THICK, Harriet M. In Memory of Harriet M.
    Daughter of George & Eunice Thick
    Died Aug 15, 1857
    Age 2 yrs. 2 mos. 6 ds.

    THICK, James J. In Memory of James J.
    Son of George & Eunice Thick
    Died Mar. 10, 1867
    Aged 3 ys. 11 ms 25 ds.

    THICK, Mary Mary
    daughter of John & Angeline Thick
    Died June 3, 1849
    Age 3 ms.

    THICK, Thomas In Memory of Thomas Thick
    Died Mar. 27, 1857
    Age 29 yrs. & 5 ms.

    THICK, Uri G. In Memory of Uri G.
    Son of George & Eunice Thick
    Died Aug. 25, 1857
    Age 3 ys. 8 ms. 22 ds.

    YORK, George In Memory of George Edson
    Son of Wm. & Margaret York
    Died Mar. 3, 1861
    Age 2 ys. 11 ms. 19 ds.

    YORK, Margaret Margaret
    Daughter of Wm. H. & Ruth York
    Died Apr 7, 1854
    Age 11 ms. 9 ds.

    YORK, Mary Mary
    Dauthter of Wm. H. & Ruth York
    Died Apr 1, 1850
    Aged 9 ms. 26 ds.

    YORKE, James E. In Memory of James E.
    Son of Wm. & Ruth Yorke
    Died Oct 23, ___

    UNKNOWN - Elizabeth J. In Memory of Elizabeth J.
    Daughter of __________
    Council Sounding Sheepish
    Authored by: Meadow Lily on Friday, December 07 2007 @ 04:30 PM EST
    Tonight the A-Channel managed to track down the Mayor of Thames Centre - apparently many other people had been tracking him down today as well, and not for happy reasons. Now the province is investigating because you really can't simply uproot gravestones and cemeteries without proper notification to various agencies. It looks like the council may have to recover all the tombstones from the dump and remount them on the monument planned for the Gladstone Baptist Cemetery. I hope this proves a costly lesson - not just for the council's budget but perhaps at the polls in the next municipal election. There was a time when municipal councils could run their little fifedoms like a closed shop but those days are long, long gone. One of the families in the Gladstone list, the Demarays, have direct descendants living in London. I assume other famiies do as well. I still plan to send off letters both to the Thames Centre mayor and to provincial MPPS. By the way, the mayor of Thames Centre comes from North Dorchester - residents of West Nissouri want this p;oint emphasized.
    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: admin on Saturday, December 08 2007 @ 11:56 AM EST
    Section 68 of the (Ontario) Cemeteries Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.4

    Disturbing burial site prohibited

    68. No person shall disturb or order the disturbance of a burial site or artifacts associated with the human remains except,

    (a) on instruction by the coroner; or

    (b) pursuant to a site disposition agreement. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.4, s. 68.
    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 08 2007 @ 06:02 PM EST
    Let the heads roll!!

    "Conscription if necessary, but not necessarily conscription!"
    Red Faces In Thames Centre
    Authored by: Meadow Lily on Saturday, December 08 2007 @ 08:28 PM EST
    If you go on the Thames Centre website, you can see a lovely photo of the council members who made the ill-fated decision to send the tombstones to the landfill site. You can also fire off emails expressing your dismay. According to one source, who had ancestors buried in the Gladstone Baptist Cemetery, council members have been receiving emails from Britain, the U.S. and various points in Canada. These are interesting times we live in - it will be intriguing to see what action the province takes. But there are undoubtedly some red faces among council members - perhaps they should retake the official website photo with them all mouthing the words, "Mea culpa."
    BREAKING NEWS: Pioneer headstones tossed into the Thames Centre Landfill Site
    Authored by: admin on Sunday, December 09 2007 @ 03:21 PM EST
    Provincial cemetery officials will likely do nothing unless they receive at least one official complaint.

    One thing I've noticed about bureacrats and officials at all three levels of government in Canada. They rarely do anything unless forced to.

    Look how CSIS and the RCMP screwed up the Air India investigation. That was and is criminal.

    Karlheinz Scchreiber says the RCMP never interviewed him during the Airbus investigation which purportedly lasted five years or more -- and he was a central figure in the affair!

    If more Canadians knew how many major screwups there were in Canadian official-dumb, they'd be more than amazed.
    Grave diggers are sociopathic creeps.
    Authored by: Protestant on Monday, December 10 2007 @ 05:43 AM EST
    The human organisms who decided to bulldoze this cemetary and dump the tombstones in a garbage dump said it was necessary for safety reasons.

    I think it was a plot to steal the land.
    In a few years time they would put up a for sale sign that reads possible land change use, and sell it...or erect another Community Hero's playground for the new subdivision.

    I don't believe public safety was in jepordy.
    I think the elected officials were persuaded and manipulated by a developer who is having trouble finding purchasers for the extrobantly priced new homes with backyards facing a cemetary and they used safety as an excuse.

    Trucking headstones off to a garbage dump is vile.

    I have a hard time believing anyone with such disrespect for the dead could possibly be elected to govern the living.

    They could have respectfully buried the weathered tombstones in a cache and marked the spot with the proposed monument IF they were indeed a safety hazzard.

    This beautification could have been done respectfully.

    Copy ot the Council Minutes
    Authored by: tiptoe_goose on Monday, December 10 2007 @ 04:43 PM EST
    Report No. cs-024-07 Gladstone Cemetery Cairn . The director of corporate Services /Clerk presented Report Cs-024-07 Dated Oct. 15 07 , concerning the Gladstone Cemetery Cirn with a new granite monument that will be inscribed to acknowlege and identify those buried in the Gladstone Cemetery . The director reviewed the "QUOTATIONS"
    recieved and advisded that funds have been allocated in the 07 budget in the amount of $10,000 for this project . After som discussion on the matter it was then .
    Moved by D Reiche
    Second by J Regan
    Resolved that the Cemetery Manager be authorized to have the existing cairn dismantled , document all of the information contained on the individual monuments/markers and then replace the cairn with a new granite monument to be supplied by the Elgin Monuments at a cost of $7,048.00(plus gst) noting that the new granite monument that will be inscribed to acknowledge and identify those buried in the Gladstone Baptist Cemetery. CARRIED
    (Thames Centre Council Minutes from Oct.15th 07 page 5)
    This took me the entire day of serching council minutes but I did find it. Just my thinking ...I wonder if the quotes taken by council had written in them how the dismantled cairn would be handled? I know I type quotes for a business and concering debris we always add it in our quotes.
    Copy ot the Council Minutes Sept. 10 07
    Authored by: tiptoe_goose on Tuesday, December 11 2007 @ 03:03 PM EST
    (This should have came first ! but I just found it today)
    Report no.cs012-07 Gladstone Baptist Cemetery Cairn.
    Director of corporate services/clerk provided an updae concerning the status of the Gladstone Baptist Cemetery Ciarn. In 06 the Municipal staff understook a site visit to all the abandoned cemeteries within the Muncipality inoroder to identify if any maintance work would be required. A further site visit was conducted at the Gladstone Cemetery with Doug Petit of Ingersoll Memorials in attendance . Upon inspection it was determined that the existing cairn is badly deterated and not able to be repaired. The Director noted that funs were allocated in the 07 Capital budget to construct a new cairn. An attempt made by staff to remove some of the existing monuments from the cairn in order tht they may be used in a new memorial , However some of the monuments broke into pieces. As a result the staff is no longer supportive of reconstructing a memorial with the existing monuments. The Director provided some of the options for the councils consideration and recommended that the existing cairn be replaced with a new pernament granit monument that would be inscribed to acknowledge and identify those buried at the G.Cemetery. Moved by M Meyer Seconded by D reiche
    Continued Thames Centre Council Minutes Sept. 10 07
    Authored by: tiptoe_goose on Tuesday, December 11 2007 @ 03:14 PM EST

    The Cemetery Manager be authorized to have the existing cairn at the Gladstone Baptist Cemetery dismantled ,document all the information contained on the individual monuments/markers and then replace the cairn with a new granite monument that will be inscribed to acknowledge and identify those buried in the cemetery.
    Motion Carried !
    (( AGAIN ! did they know the stones were going to the dump? and what was wrote on that quote to dismantle the cairn, Who dismantled and carried away the stones))