The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 29 no 9, April 2018. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.
St. Elizabeth Elementary School, St. Elizabeth Church and its adjoining cemetery sit on four acres of land donated from Michael Shields’ farm. One of the earliest headstones is for John Cashman who died on December 1, 1848. From then, there are headstones dated through the 1850s and 1860s right up to the present day.
The southern portion of the cemetery, next to the road, was used fi rst, then the cemetery continued expanding in a northerly direction. In the “old” part of the cemetery we fi nd many simple headstones alongside those that are more ornate works of art. No, there isn’t anyone buried there who was prime minister or who walked on the moon! However, there are many interesting characters who were buried there or memorialized there.
From the First World War, there is a memorial stone for William H. Smillie who was killed in action in the Dardanelles at the age of 40. The Dardanelles (Gallipoli) Campaign, took place at the Gallipoli peninsula (in modern day Turkey) between April 1915 and January 1916. It was a joint British and French operation, mounted to capture Constantinople and to secure a sea route to Russia. However, the attempt failed, with heavy casualties on both sides.
In the western part of the cemetery there is a military headstone, which is unusual to fi nd outside of a military cemetery. Sapper Michael J. Maloney, who actually survived the War, died on January 11, 1920. His headstone lists him as CRT CEF. A sapper was a combat engineer; this rank was equivalent to a private. He was a member of Canadian Railway Troops in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, which was the designation of the fi eld force that served overseas in the First World War.
His family erected a memorial stone for Joseph Andrew Cletus Holmes who served as an air gunner and held the rank of sergeant in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War. He was killed on August 24, 1943 and is buried in the Berlin 1939 – 1945 War Cemetery.
Many members of the parish served the larger community as mayors, secretary-treasurers and councillors. One notable is farmer and trader, Alexandre Prudhomme. He became the fi rst mayor in the newly-formed Municipality of East Hull.
At the first general meeting of the municipal council held at the residence of James A. Davis on the 28th day of October 1889, a motion by Councillors Patrick Maloney and Samuel McClelland saw Prudhomme elected mayor. This was a position to which Alexandre was re-appointed annually by his fellow councillors until his death in January 1894.
Twenty-five-year-old Cantley lad, Anthony Milks, was one of 386 Canadian voyageurs recruited by the British Government with the permission of the Canadian Government, to go on the Nile Expedition from 1884 to 1885. The members of this expeditionary force navigated the many rapids of the Nile River to rescue Major-General Charles George Gordon who had become trapped at Khartoum, Sudan.
Part One of this article appeared in the April 2018 Echo. Mary Holmes is a Board member of Cantley 1889 (www.cantley1889.ca facebook.com/ Cantley1889).
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