Well, I have to say that this afternoon was pretty exciting for me. Jay and I went on an outing which is always a fantastic pick-me-up for me. I really enjoyed it. Once I was done what I needed to do today job search-wise, we hopped in the truck and headed out north of London. Our mission: to seek out the Black Donnellys’ grave. This is something I have been wanting to do for years ever since I first heard the story. As such, it has become a little bit of a bucket list item for me. Forgive me if it is just a little bit morbid.. Bolstering this is the fact that it is in a book of mine: Top 100 Things to See in Ontario by Ron Brown. Jay and I have kind of turned visiting all the things in this book into a bit of a special thing that we do together.
The grave is located in the cemetery at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church located at Highway 4 and Roman Line in Biddulph township. It’s about 2 minutes south of Lucan. Surprisingly, it was actually quite easy to find the grave itself. We walked in the main cemetery entrance, and we quickly picked it from its position way in the back. It stood out, not because it was flashy, but because it was quite a bit wider than all of the others. I would assume this was so that all of the names could be fitted onto it. Anyways, this is what it looks like:
This is not the original one, as it was removed by the family due to vandalism. This is just the replacement. Even so, it seems that there are quite a few visitors judging from the decorations and the collection of stones and pennies on top of the headstone itself. I added a penny of my own and so did Jay.
We also visited the Donnelly homestead which is a few kilometers further east down Roman Line, where there is no trace of the original family home as it was burned down in the massacre in 1880. It is currently a modern private residence, and tours of the homestead are available by appointment. We passed on this, though it was neat to drive past.
Last but not least, meet St. Patrick’s Catholic Church:
It has a little bit of history itself as it is one of the first churches built in the area with the current facility built around 1858-59. The architecture is beautiful. Jay admitted that he has a soft spot for the architecture of old churches. I have to agree with him. 🙂
After we had seen all we had set out to see, we decided to head back into London as we were both getting quite hungry. On the way through Arva we managed to get a quick snap of the Arva Flour Mill, which is apparently the oldest running flour mill in Canada. Interesting stuff! We tried to check it out but it appeared to be private property. Too bad really.
It was such a great afternoon! I had a blast!