THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT
Who are they and what is their story?
Illegible abandoned grave in Toronto.
Sadly, time and neglect are rapidly destroying a critical part of our history. As villages became towns and towns became cities, many gravesites were moved or simply plowed over as urban sprawl pushed city boundaries further and further out. Still other graves were abandoned as families moved and the dead were eventually forgotten. As these stones disappear, so too does a chunk of someone's genealogical story.
From 1825-55, many of Toronto's dead were buried in Potter's Field which was situated just west of Yonge on the north side of Bloor St. Eventually urban sprawl forced its closure and from 1851-8 about 6700 bodies were re-located to Mount Pleasant and Toronto Necropolis Cemeteries. Upon reinterment, most of the stones were placed flat on the ground and have succumbed to a state of overgrowth and damage due to neglect.
Not all the bodies were actually moved. Several hundred bodies were left behindand still resting under 'Mink Mile'. So if you're in the Bloor/Yonge area, do tip your hat and say hi to the pioneers who built this great City of Toronto.
St James Cathedral at Church and King Streets still has about 3,000 bodies buried in the old cemetery beneath the car park and playground where victims of a 19th-century cholera epidemic and soldiers killed in the War of 1812 are buried. They say the mound on the north side is full of bodies.
Not all of the stones below were fading but included here because they are interesting. The rediscovered (see the shaving cream topped stones) were buried and difficult to read. We've done a bit of research and added death detail found in the original burial registers. More will information will be added over time.
Abandoned graves that cannot be read aren't digitized. WIthout detailed burial records, graves if this nature are not useful genealogical research tool. That's why it's critical to find and document old burial sites.