In the interest of being first on the scene with the local news – remember I am a journalist; and hey, it was me who brought you the story of the mysterious arty signs in Madoc and what they were all about, before the official news media got to it – I thought that tonight I’d tell you about some work being done at a very historic spot. And, since the local weekly papers don’t show up in newsboxes and mailboxes until tomorrow or Thursday, I think I’ve got a scoop!
Mind you, I will confess that I haven’t had time to find out the “who” or the “why” behind this story, though I can surmise them. Also, I expect one or more of my readers might be able to supply that missing information. No, I’m just documenting yet another interesting thing I’ve spotted in my daily travels through central Hastings County – and I’ve got the “what” and the “where” covered.
What it is is some kind of cleanup/tree-thinning work at the White Lake Pioneer Cemetery, which is where some of the earliest residents of that tiny hamlet just a bit south of Madoc off Highway 62 are buried. You can read an interesting article here, from a couple of years ago, about the history of the cemetery – it has headstones dating back as far as 1847 – and one local family’s good work at keeping it in good shape. (There are some great photos too.) And here you can see closeup photos of its headstones. Recognize any names?
I think the tall, tall trees in this old cemetery are what make it so visually arresting, but I imagine that such trees need to be thinned now and again, and as far as I can tell that was what was going on during a work bee I spotted the other morning on my daily drive to my job in Belleville. I don’t yet know (this is the “who” part) whether the work was being done by volunteers or by the Centre Hastings works department. But as far as I can tell, this project has not hurt the place aesthetically; there are still lots of great tall trees there, and as of my commute home this afternoon the downed logs had been removed.
I imagine the pioneer families of Huntingdon Township (which is what the area was before it merged with the village of Madoc to become Centre Hastings) – the people who had braved a perilous ocean crossing to come to this rough country and start a new life, who had chopped down so many trees with their axes to clear land and create places for modest homes and barns, and who chose that pretty little hill as the place to bury their departed loved ones – would be pleased to know that so many years hence, people would still be taking care that all was shipshape.
And I bet they would have been awfully envious about the chainsaws.