Friday plans rained out

Hello again!

The initial plan for the day was to visit St Paul’s Cathedral downtown again, but due to unforeseen circumstances (including today’s dismal weather), we had to re-evaluate our plan this morning. While we did manage to get the rest of the stones out of the ground earlier this week, and have already cleaned the majority of them, there are still dozens to finish! We decided to continue with the cleaning process on a few stones this morning as well as continue our cataloguing of them! The cataloguing process we have been using was started because we needed a way to identify them separately from each other as they were being moved around the site during excavation. We also got our first shipment of limestone shale that the stones will be placed on! It was a very exciting morning for us!

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When we found them, the stones were placed nicely into 3 almost distinct rows. We labelled the rows as ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’, and each stone received it’s own number – starting at 1 in each row and continuing as high as 57 (so for example, a stone might have the catalogue number A12, as seen below). We also decided to transcribe the stones and have begun to write down the entire legible inscription of each stone. The top left image is our initial before picture, recently uncovered with a catalog number for our records. The second image on the right is the stone after its first cleaning, with the appropriate flag still attached. And finally, the bottom image shows the transcription of the information on the stone. There is still official cataloguing to do, but this is a simple way we have used to keep track of our finds.

This afternoon, we continued our research at Western University Archives. We sorted through documents on the Lee family (as discussed in Sunny’s earlier blog post), and the Kingsmill family. I have never spent much time in the archives and this was an amazing experience for me. MacKenzie searched for marriage records pertaining to Thomas F. Kingsmill, and discovered a 19th century London scandal! We found almost a dozen marriage records in the Kingsmill fonds; however, we were unable to find either of Thomas F. Kingsmill Sr.’s official marriage records. We did find his will, and many documented histories of the Kingsmill family. I am not a London native, but through the last few weeks at the cemetery, researching the history of some of the more prominent families here, I have been learning about the importance of the Kingsmill family in London over the last 150 years. Thomas Kingsmill Sr. emigrated to first the United States, and then Canada from Ireland over a century ago. A man with few prospects, he built his own fortune, which lead to the establishment of the Kingsmill Department Store.

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Sunny found a mourning card for Hiram Lee! She also managed to find the document stating Hiram Lee’s purchase of the plot at Woodland Cemetery, which he purchased for $16 at the time. It is sometimes amazing how much you can find out about someone who may seem so lost to history.

Thanks for reading!

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