St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery

NW Lot 5, Concession 1E, Chinguacousy Township.
31 Centre Street South, Brampton.
GPS 43.7307°N, –79.75°W

History: Brampton had a very small Catholic population in the 1830s and 1840s. Travelling priests made visits but spent more time in the areas of Toronto Gore, Streetsville, Elmbank and Dixie.

The first Catholic to settle here was John Lynch. It was at his home that early services were held. There may have been a small church here in the early 1850s, however no definite evidence has been found. In 1863 John Lynch sold one and a half acres of his land on the west side of Centre Street, south of John Street, to be used for a church site and burying ground. Here a frame building, bearing the name of Guardian Angels, was erected with the blessing taking place on February 12, 1865. This frame building was destroyed by fire on July 18, 1878. It appears the fire was set by one or more anti-Catholics. This prejudicial act was denounced by many of the town’s inhabitants who tried to right the wrong by offering assistance for the rebuilding of the church.

Some of the graves in the cemetery were disturbed during the Etobicoke River diversion project in 1950, and it appears that many of the stones may have been replaced after that. In the 1930s, William Perkins Bull reported:
“All the burials have been made in a section covering about ¼ acre, whereas the new addition of an acre has no interments. Graves, numbering about 50, are arranged haphazardly but with most of the monuments in good condition.”

At present there are only two upright monuments, those of Donnelly and Ingoldsby. All other stones are laid flat on the ground and, as many of them have only year dates of birth and death, additional information has been included with the transcriptions, within square brackets. This added information is from a service booklet dated May 27, 1990 for a special service of remembrance at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church.

Many of the names in the cemetery reflect the early Irish population of the area and include such names as Doherty, Donnelly, Ingoldsby, Kenny, O’Hara, and Tighe, but other newer stones demonstrate Brampton’s diverse population. [by Trudy Mann & Dorothy Kew]

Transcriptions of this cemetery are available on-line by credit card from the O.G.S. web site click here for price/order.