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The Lloydtown Cemetery

Jesse Lloyd, son of Quaker parents who migrated from Pennsylvania to settle in Upper Canada in 1788, moved with his family to a new home in King Township in 1812. He married Phoebe Crossley and together they played a major role in the founding of the community that grew up around the mills and other businesses, becoming Lloyd's Town, then Lloydtown. As a thriving centre for a developing agricultural area, the town- and Jesse - prospered.

One day the Lloyd family's servant girl died unexpectedly; Jesse generously set aside a parcel of his farm as a burial ground in 1834. Not long afterward, one of his own children, daughter Hannah, died and was laid to rest on the knoll then known as Lloyd's Cemetery.

Meanwhile wider events overtook Jesse Lloyd as William Lyon Mackenzie, an outspoken Toronto editor, led a growing opposition to the British colonial 'Family Compact;' Jesse took an active role in aiding Mackenzie's republican demands for political reform of Upper Canada's governance. In October 1837 an armed rebellion was attempted by Mackenzie's volunteers but quickly defeated by the government troops. In the aftermath of the uprising, many of the 'rebels' were jailed, two leaders hanged and the prominent dissenter Jesse Lloyd escaped over the border into Indiana where he remained in exile until his death in 1838.

Although the Mackenzie rebellion in itself was unsuccessful, it was reported by Lord Durham to the imperial officials in London who drafted significant reforms leading to responsible government in the Canadas. This connection with Lloyd and the 1837 revolt give the cemetery a unique and important position in local and national history.

After Jesse's death, the once flourishing community declined and was by-passed by railways, resulting in failure of local industries. Phoebe Lloyd lived to be a very old woman and was laid to rest in the cemetery on the family farm. In 1844 a Wesleyan Methodist church was built opposite the cemetery, implying association with that denomination rather than that of the Quaker faith of the Lloyds. In 1908 fire destroyed the Methodist church which was not rebuilt.

A detailed listing of stones and inscriptions in the cemetery, including a photographic record, has been made by the Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, titled "Lloydtown Pioneer Cemetery (Lloydtown)." This study records 138 stones, some detailing several family members, but some of the monuments are no longer legible. For this reason it is difficult to estimate the total number of burials, although there is firm evidence of at least 275 individual names. These represent a cross section of the Lloydtown population, including well known local families. The publication contains maps of the cemetery.

In the 1990s many concerned residents and descendants of the families represented in the Lloydtown Cemetery observed that the grave stones and overgrown vegetation needed attention and called for restoration of the venerable site. In 1998 the King Township Historical Society established a committee under the leadership of Jim Connell, a Pinkerton descendant, with the goal of raising funds to restore the monuments. With support from private donors, the King Township Council, a benefit dinner featuring Pierre Berton as speaker and a Canada Millenium Partnership grant, the restoration project was completed in September 2000.

The municipal Council on the advice of the Township of King Heritage Committee voted to designate the cemetery as a "Heritage Site" to preserve its integrity and demonstrate respect for past generations. A group of Horticultural Society volunteers gave the grounds a make-over with new shrubs and careful pruning. It is now a verdant haven, offering the visitor quiet testament to a long ago bustling village.

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