As the Story is Told: The Cemetery, Part 3 – The 1920s and 1930s

As the Story is told: A history of Morpeth and communityEvery Thursday, I share an excerpt from my Great Aunt’s book, As the Story is Told: A History of Morpeth and Community, which was printed in 1986.

…continued from last week…

The twenties.
The decade, 1920-1930, was quite routine, annual meetings were held and as usual there was little money to operate on. In 1923 the laneway issue was resolved when Mr. Trudgen was paid ten dollars. It was not registered. The Trudgen burial plots had sold well and by the middle twenties there was talk of needing more land again. The first mention of any perpetual upkeep fund was in 1927. It was proposed that if the plot owners would subscribe to this plan their lots would receive care for all time. It took several years before many plotholders participated. In 1928 a motion was passed stating that only the plots where the perpetual care of the yearly fee was paid would have the grass cut. What an odd patchwork. Mr. A. B. Kimmerly served as secretary for many years and serving as trustees in this span were Percy Barker, Hiram Hill, John Coll, Uz Craig, John McDonald and E. K. Bury.

Morpeth Ontario Cemetery

The thirties.
The depression of the thirties was a period of extreme hardship and had a very adverse effect on the cemetery. The Morpeth Women’s Institute became committee to assist the board. The first ladies on this were Mrs.’ Wade, Leibner, Spence and Miss Leibner. In 1934 this institute held a card party and dance and canvassed the plotholders raising enough money to pay for the erection of the steel fence and gates. The trustees looked at several fences in the area and decided that it should be the same as at the Rodney cemetery. The total cost was $196.43 for material and $28.20 for labor. A program, courtesy of Helene Duck, shows that a dedication Service was held on August 19, 1934, showing:
Chairman, Mr. George Barnwell
Organist, Mrs. Leroy Kimmerly
Prayer, Rev. W. W. Prudham
Anthem, Community Choir
Short Address, Mr. M. J. Wilson, Chatham
Vocal Solo, Miss Dorothy Coll
Scripture Lesson, Rev. R. M. Weekes
Sermon, Rev. J. McDermott
Vocal Duet, Mr. E. Elsham and Mr. Murray Holmes
Dedication, Rev. R. M. Weekes
Short Address, Judge J. F. McKinlay, Detroit
Closing Prayer, Rev. Prudham

In case of rain the service was to be held, St. John’s Anglican Church.
The next project by the W. I. Was to raise funds for the fencing and grading of the driveway. Previously, on occasion the hearse and cortege could not cope with the condition of the drive and would park on the side of Highway 21 in the village. The casket would be carried across the field. Gordon McKellar tells that on his first funeral to Morpeth the hearse sank to the axels in mud and a team of horses was needed to free it.

With this work done these ladies tackled an even larger project raising funds to erect an edifying entrance, fieldstone posts crowned with the lettered iron arch and steel gates. These Committee members were Mrs. A. Early, R. McKinlany, S. Wade, A. Walters and Miss Dorothy Coll. Also noted in the W. I. Records, now on microfilm at the Ridgetown library, is a reference to the help this society gave to the flower beds at the cemetery. The Institute in very austere times did an excellent job in improving the grounds and deserved the appreciation of the community.

In 1939 there was a service held to dedicate the gates.

Morpeth Ontario Cemetery Gates

Morpeth, Ontario
Cemetery Gates

In 1934, still feeling the need for more land and with no funds, Mr. Kimmerly offered to loan the board some money. Mr. Trudgen asked five hundred dollars for one quarter acre which the trustees considered excessive and no action was taken. However a larger parcel of land was purchased from the Trudgens in 1938 for five hundred and fifty dollars, made possible by loan from Mr. Kimmerly.

In this decade the names of Harry George, James Serson, Fred Smith, George Barnwell and Norman Carnie appear as trustees. Before leaving it should be noted that sometimes there was so little interest shown in the annual meetings that the men from the card club were called to help conduct the business.

2 thoughts on “As the Story is Told: The Cemetery, Part 3 – The 1920s and 1930s

  1. Pingback: As the Story is Told: The Cemetery, Part 4 – 1940s to 1960s | The Farmhouse Chronicles

  2. Pingback: As the Story is Told: Morpeth Cemetery, part 2 | The Farmhouse Chronicles

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