By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement
While on tour, our Visitor Hosts are often asked questions that they may not be able to answer in that moment. However, we take note of the questions and try to find the answers afterwards. Here is one such question asked during a tour.
Where are the Henrys buried?
A large number of the Henry Family are buried in the cemetery which has become known as the Port Oshawa Pioneer Cemetery. This cemetery may be one of the oldest in our community with an interesting history.
The earliest known burial, based on headstones, is that of Nancy Henry, the mother of Thomas, who died in 1816. As described in Thomas’s memoirs:
Autumn came and wreathed its many colored drapery around the mighty forests’ head, but the bright tints faded, the red leaves fell, and when the heavy frosts came down on the bare brown earth, a great affliction fell on the little household in their lonely, forest home. The wife and mother died. Almost without precursor or warning she went, and left anguish and desolation behind her. Far from sympathizing friends, far from religious comforters, with none but her own little family around her, she bowed her head, and closed her eyes in death… [S]he was buried with Christian rites, on a little hill beside the lake… (The Annotated Memoirs of Rev. Thomas Henry, page 27).
It is likely this cemetery had been used for burials before the death of Nancy, but there are no burial records existing from that time.
Thomas is laid to rest at this cemetery, as are both his wives, his father John, five of his children, and three grandchildren.
Originally, this cemetery was located to the east of the harbour, on an area known as Gifford’s Hill, however, the cemetery was moved to Bonnie Brae Point in 1975 to accommodate harbour expansion. There were 195 individuals removed to the point, and an additional ten burials have taken place since then.