Friday, March 16, 2012

Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Richmond Hill

Discarded Tombstone

Octagonal Dead House
Built 1863. 

Church & Grounds

Upside Down Monument
of Willie Arnold

Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church and Cemetery is located at 10066 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill. 

The first known burial in these grounds is believed to be a member of the First Nations.  The first European burial was that of Abner Miles in 1806.  For the first 11 years this site appeared to be the community burial ground until 1817 when the Presbyterian congregation was organized and took it over.

James Miles the son of Abner Miles, donated the land for the church and cemetery in 1821. That year the first church was built.  Early burials in the cemetery were marked with ceder slabs, in time these would deteriorate and had to be removed.  The first stone headstone was erected in 1828.

The cemetery is also the site of the octagonal dead house which was built in 1863 and used to store caskets of those who died in the winter months.  It was restored in 1993 by The York Chapter of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society.

The last photograph, shows the upside down, yes upside down, monument of young Willie Arnold.  My only explanation is that this scrolled memorial was once part of a larger, possibly family plot.  

The inscription is barely visible and the date cannot be read at all.  The Arnold family were a prosperous family in the area and donated the land in 1871 for St. Mary's Anglican Church which is next door. 

The Arnold family plot is actually located within the confines of St. Mary's. As the church complex grew the Arnold plot eventually ended up inside.  Could the above memorial have been part of the family plot from next door and inadvertently placed in the Presbyterian burial ground.  Who knows, but I don't think young Willie is underneath here.

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