Friday, February 28, 2020

Old Durham Road Cemetery

The other and much more local site that honours early black settlers in Grey County is the tiny Old Durham Road Cemetery.  This is a very old pioneer cemetery near the hamlet of Priceville.  In our years coming up from Guelph to our former home, the cabin in the valley, we drove past this spot on every trip.  I actually have a geocache hidden there.

I have no pictures of my own though, so I've had to borrow these from the internet; apologies if they're a little blurry, but the story is worth remembering.

Black settlers were the first non-aboriginal people to move into this area, starting in 1849.  By the 1861 census there was a flourishing community of 100 settlers and their families.  But the community dispersed in later years as settlement grew, many moving to Owen Sound, where the memorial I featured yesterday is found.  

The cemetery was lost, grown over, and ultimately ploughed over to grow potatoes!  Starting in 1989 a local volunteer committee began work to restore the cemetery  This is the memorial I remember seeing first, 21 years ago, when I started my regular trips to the valley, coming up on weekends to build the cabin..  It was showing signs of age then, and consisted of only four broken tombstones under a plexiglass cover.
It had been dedicated by Lieut. Governor Lincoln Alexander in 1990, who I posted about a few weeks back, with a large boulder engraved to mark the occasion.

Later the volunteers added these crosses to remember the individual settlers buried here.

More recently the volunteers ran a campaign to build a better shelter for the remaining 4 gravestones.  This was dedicated in 2015.  It's a highlight of exhibits for the small local museum in Flesherton.  



  1. How many other old cemeteries have been totally lost, especially those of racial minorities? About 50 years ago there was a fad of having an old tombstone as a decoration and many really old headstones were stolen to grace someone's home. Some old cemeteries have only stones that were too large or broken to be worth stealing. There's also a cemetery nearby where the only headstones are large relatively flat fieldstones -- the people in that small community must have been destitute.

  2. Interesting history that I did not know that you had. Interesting to read about.

  3. It's educational to read posts like this because I'm sure many people, myself included were not aware of Black History Month or the tributes in your area.

  4. The book mentioned yesterday has a very fitting title " Hidden in Plain View" and is about the slaves, the underground railway and the messages hidden in the quilt designs. Guess Mrs F.G. might need to have those ones at the front another day. Memorials, they have a valued place in all our lives, and the tributes are from the heart.

  5. Well worth preserving, pity cross rail does not think that way in the UK, they are digging up a medieval cemetery to plough through a new line. Government wants shooting

  6. Fascinating, and as others have said, well worth preserving. What a wonderful thing to do.

  7. How interesting and what fortitude for those persons making that long trip. Thanks so for sharing.