This was to be the first of a couple of posts that will take our readers on a tour of some beautiful and most importantly, unusual grave markers. My main purpose was to highlight the grave stones, but two beautiful old churches found their way into this post instead. A future post will feature more unusual grave stones. The stories and pictures here I hope you will enjoy.
This first post is about one of the oldest burial grounds in the area. St. Paul’s Cemetery, located at 1304 Zion Road, (4th Con.) south east of Millbrook, Ontario. After travelling a couple of miles, you will come upon the three acre cemetery, but the impressive old church will immediately catch the eye! The old wood frame church is unlike any you will ever see anywhere else.
The church is part of the St. Thomas Anglican Parish of Cavan- Manvers Township. Although it might appear abandoned, a church service and a cemetery decoration day are held here annually. Ironically, the burial ground was established in 1818, but this church was only built in 1837 to replace an earlier place of worship nearby.
By the 1850’s Millbrook had prospered and grown substantially. As the population grew the Anglicans who had walked to St. Paul’s on the 4th Line to attend Sunday services demanded a new Anglican Church be built within the Village. By 1856 the St. Thomas Parish Church was built in the town of Millbrook.
Because of their age and history, the St. Paul’s church and cemetery are both in need of repairs to ensure the safety of the public to enjoy. In 2015 church Trustees applied for and received a grant of $2500 from the Township of Cavan-Monaghan under the Community Funding Grants Program. Because of the massive job, work has to be spread over several years. The first year of the grant 17 headstones were restored and some repairs were made to the chapel building.
Before leaving the area, check out another historical church, The Marsh Trinity Church. This old church, can be found at 1 Peterborough County Road 21 west of Millbrook. Follow King Street past Tapley Quarter Line to Glamorgan Road. Note: Glamorgan is now a ghost town. This lovely old church was built in 1876 to save the local farmers the long trip to services at St. Thomas Anglican church in the village of Millbrook.
This little chapel, originally called “Holy Trinity” is located five miles west of Millbrook and was the home church to generations of local families since 1876. This land was donated by James Fallis an original settler of the area. Sometime later, an old Orange Hall was moved to the property and is still in use as a Parish Hall.
According to the Millbrook and Cavan Historical Society’s This Green & Pleasant Land, Chronicles of Cavan Township, “One steps inside to an interior that has changed little in all these years. Its two box stoves with their silver painted pipes create a sense of warmth. The widely spaced pews, the prayer seats, the large wooden lectern, the old harmonium, all speak quietly of long past worship services and memories for so many who have attended this church”.
The church is very unique, as it is one of the few board and batten church buildings remaining anywhere. Note: Worship Services are still held here during July and August at 10:30 a.m. This church did not have a cemetery.
As an interesting aside, many years ago while leading hikes for the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, we had often assembled or stopped here for a break on the way to Bethany. The Ranger, at the time had no idea of the historical significance of this unusual building.