I have so far identified 20 ministers who have been laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery. The majority by far, were Baptist, Methodist or United Church ministers. I did not expect to find Anglican ministers here, because of the burial grounds beside St. Luke’s Anglican Church, however, Greenwood does have one former Anglican minister, and he was a Bishop. It seems a little unusual however, that I have found no markers for Presbyterian ministers in this cemetery. Six of Greenwood’s ministers are interred in the front, east side of the old section of the cemetery, in fact, three are close to one another in block 23.
Some of these reverend gentlemen did not even serve a church in this community, but found it a desirable place in which to retire. I have chosen a mix of the faiths to profile, dependant on information found available concerning their careers, and time in Burlington.
Because of the large number of ministers in Greenwood, I will continue with them, in the next chapter of A Walk in Greenwood.
Rev. Charles H. Emerson, 1842-1911 (Baptist)
Charles Henry Emerson was born in Grimsby, England in 1842. He was converted at the age of 17, and immediately began some preaching. He attended the Pastor’s College in London, then served some churches in England.
At the age of 28 he came to Canada and laboured at Russell Hall, a Baptist mission in Montreal. He then had a pastorate in Algonquin, after which he returned to England because of throat trouble, and pursued his secular calling in the building trade, for which he had apprenticed as a teen.
Rev. Emerson returned to Canada in 1880 and served several churches before coming to Burlington’s Calvary Baptist Church in November of 1904, where he continued until April of 1907. In 1904, his 4 children accounted a good percentage of the total membership of 15.
Rev. Lewis Warner Hill, 1854-1940 (Methodist)
Rev. L.W. Hill (as he always signed the register) was minister at the Burlington Methodist Church from 1909 to 1913. This was the building on Elizabeth Street, and congregation, which in 1925 became Trinity United Church. While he was minister here, his wife Margaret, aged 54 years, died and was interred in Greenwood Cemetery. Her obituary lists 12 out of town ministers, in addition to resident ministers of the village, who attended her funeral.
Rev. L. W. Hill was born at Cooksville, Ont. He graduated from Victoria College and was ordained at Prince Albert Sask., in 1881,in the same year marrying Margaret M. Long of Simcoe, County.Rev. Hill and his wife raised four sons, all well educated, and two daughters, who’s education we are not told about.
Rev. Hill died in May of 1940 at Parkhill. The remains were “motored” for interment in Greenwood Cemetery, where two ministers, relatives of his first wife, officiated at the graveside. Rev. Hill’s second wife and one married daughter are also interred in the family plot in block 23 of Greenwood
Rev. James Kendall, 1839-1913 (Baptist)
Rev. James Kendall died in January of 1913. Unfortunately our local newspaper, the Burlington Gazette, is missing for all of 1913, denying us his obituary, which at that time would likely have given details of his life and ministry. The Hamilton Spectator, did have a death notice with the information that he was a Baptist minister in his 74th year, his residence being on Pearl Street and his funeral from Knox Presbyterian Church. Another sentence under “Burlington Briefs”, relates that he was a well-known and retired.
The Burlington Gazette, however has left us more information through his activities in the community being reported, as well as those of his wife Anna Eliza, who lived here until she was 90, and their daughter Agnes until she was 72.
We know then that the Kendalls came from England to Canada and Hamilton about 1885 and then to Burlington about ten years later.
Sparse records of Calvary Baptist Church reveal that Rev. Kendall was pastor during 1897 when he increased the membership from 18 to 23 members. It appears he likely retired shortly there-after. The Kendalls although Baptist, for the most part attended Knox Presbyterian Church, Rev. Kendall participating in church work to the point of officiating at a funeral of a parishioner. Rev. Kendall was also elected as a trustee of the new high-school board in 1906.
Mrs. Kendall was given a birthday tea by the ladies of the community for both her 80th and 90th birthdays, the 80th at the Cleaver residence, and the 90th in her own home on Pearl Street because she was confined to her bed. At both parties, home made elaborate cakes bore the 80 or 90 candles, and all was detailed in the newspaper.
Agnes Kendall, daughter of Rev. James and Ann Kendall was a milliner, working for many years in Hamilton and later in Burlington. She was a member of James Street Baptist Church in Hamilton but mostly attended Knox Presbyterian Church here. Her mother’s funeral refers also to her pastor as from James Street Baptist conducting the service assisted by Rev. Hornsby from Knox.
The history of James St. Baptist Church does not include Rev. James Kendall as having been a minister of that church.
The Kendall family were interred in block 10 of Greenwood Cemetery.
Rev. W. H. Rowsome, 1838-1904 (Methodist)
This minister was born near Brockville in 1840, and at the age of 28 graduated from Victoria College with a BA. His first preaching was in Quebec City, after which he served in Albany N.Y. and Vermont. In 1882 he came to Hamilton for about two and a half years. In 1884, he purchased a property in Burlington, and became a permanent resident.
Rev. Rowsome then made a career change. He began traveling for A Rubber Company in Boston. He had a son living in Boston, at the time of his tragic accidental death, at the age of 64 years.
Mr. Rowsome was in the process of boarding an express train, at Williamstown Mass., on the evening of Sunday, Nov 20th, 1904 when he was struck by a freight train, was badly injured, causing his death. His obituary reports that he had been very successful in this employment.
On these business trips, he was usually away for several weeks. A daughter had married in June, and a son in August of that year and he was such a staunch Reformer, politically, that he traveled over 450 miles to get home to cast his vote for the Laurier Government, on November 3rd, and had not been home since.
Rev. Rowsome, and his family, had been residents of our community for twenty years. He was survived by his wife Jane Elizabeth, two sons, one of them living in Boston, and the other in Burlington, also three daughters.
The remains of Rev. Rowsome were returned to Burlington, where the family gathered for a private funeral, with interment in Greenwood Cemetery.
The Rowsome plot is in Block 12 of Greenwood. [daughter Muriel (known as Jo) is interred with her husband’s family in Block 10, just a few feet away]
Rev. G. Keith McMillan, 1905-1976 (United Church of Canada)
Rev. Keith McMillan grew up on a farm, and obtained his early education at Port Perry, Ontario. His university studies took place in Toronto, at Victoria College, graduating with a BA. Then on the same campus, he attended Emanuel College and was ordained in 1934. It is written that between exams, he was a very able hockey player. Rev. McMillan was married, also in 1934.
His first appointment took him to a railway town in northern Ontario, where he had charge of two preaching points, which were 112 miles apart. He spent eight years at Owen Sound, before coming to Trinity United Church, Burlington in 1956, where he served until the transition was made to Wellington Square United Church in 1966. Rev. McMillan served for another couple of years, in that new church, where he had been a driving force of the project.
The McMillan family resided in the Methodist Manse on Elizabeth Street while he was in service here. His three children, in 1956, when the family moved in, were young adults, aged 13 to 22 years.
Wellington Square United Church dedicated a well used event room, in memory of their much loved pastor, from 1956-1968, and who died in 1978.
Rev. McMillan and his wife Mary were inurned in Urn Garden 1 which is to the east, just inside the main entrance to Greenwood Cemetery.
© Peggy Armstrong, 2017
Sources: Greenwood Cemetery, OGS transcription
Burlington Gazette & Hamilton Spectator
B.H.S. archive files