|Howitt Monument, Howitt Memorial Cemetery|
Howitt Memorial Cemetery is a well-kept cemetery in Puslinch Township southwest of Guelph, Ontario, located on the southwest corner of Laird Road West and Sideroad 10.
|Howitt Memorial Church|
Until 1983, a small church stood beside the cemetery, although regular services had not been held there since 1929. The stone church was built in 1886, replacing a wooden church that built on the property of John Howitt in 1843. From 1843 until 1925, the church served a Methodist congregation. In 1925 the Methodists merged with the Presbyterians and the Congregationists to form the United Church of Canada. Four years later, however, the members of Howitt Memorial decided to join the congregation of Norfolk United in Guelph, and the church was closed.
Dominating the cemetery is the monument to John HOWITT (1805-1881). John was born in Derbyshire and came to Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1834. Shortly after his arrival he purchased 500 acres in Guelph Township known as "The Grange" and 800 acres in Puslinch Township including the land now occupied by the cemetery. He married twice and had 22 children, 13 of whom are commemorated on his monument. Other Howitt children are buried nearby. Despite being a Methodist, John was known as "Quaker" Howitt due to his pacifist beliefs. He was said to be the largest landowner in Wellington County, and was a breeder of purebred shorthorn cattle.
|John KIRKLAND (1804-1857)|
Most of the gravestones in the cemetery date from the second half of the 19th century. The oldest stone is that of Frank HEATH (1835-1848). Frank was most likely the son of Edmond Field HEATH (? - 1871), a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo. Another important early stone is that of John KIRKLAND (1804-1857) and his wife Sarah ATTENBOROUGH (1802-1858). The stone is now broken (although still quite readable), however, a photograph of the intact stone from the 1960s survives.
While I didn't find Hannah's gravestone (although I did find a base for one), I did find two other monuments not listed in the 1985 transcription. The first was a fragment of a gravestone bearing an epitaph that implores the reader "Weep not" because "I am not dead but sleeping here." The second turned out to be a footstone. The stone was almost completely buried by soil and leaf litter. Using plastic tools and my hands (never use metal tools around gravestones) I uncovered a footstone with the words "Father" and "Gone home" and an engraving of a winged crown.
|Unknown, Died Oct., 8, 1881|
The caretakers of Howitt Memorial have done a good job of protecting the older gravestones. While many of these gravestones are no longer vertical, and some are broken, concrete pads have been poured and the gravestones laid on top. This has prevented grass from encroaching on the stones, and made my job of photographing them much easier.