St. Peter’s Catholic Church & Cemetery, Mississauga

Mid-E Lot 6, Concession 9, Trafalgar Township, Halton.
Ninth Line, Mississauga.
GPS 43.55588°N, –79.76237°W

History: As early as 1818 the first Irish immigrants were making homes on the 8th and 9th concessions in Trafalgar Township. Soon this area became referred to as the Catholic Swamp.

During the autumn of 1819 two young settlers, Bartholomew O’Connor and Charles O’Hara, walked the forty miles to Dundas and persuaded a Father O’Reilly to come to the little colony at Trafalgar to celebrate mass at Mr. O’Hara’s cabin on Lot 1, Concession 9. Settlers from many miles around converged on the little cabin to receive the sacraments and to participate in the Holy Sacrifice for perhaps the first time since they had left Ireland. Visits by priests continued on an irregular basis until 1823, when a log church was constructed on an acre of cleared land on Lot 6 at the Ninth Line that had been donated by Dan Highland. Thereafter a priest came about once every four months. The week preceding his arrival would see the women of the community busily engaged in baking bread and roasting venison and potatoes to provide food for the large congregation that would gather as Catholics journeyed on foot from such distant places as Georgetown, Brampton, Port Credit and Burlington.

In the late 1820s the Catholic population in the county experienced a temporary decline. The land under cultivation was showing a diminishing yield of crops and the farmers were seeking more promising land or finding alternative employment. In 1826 the digging of the first Welland Canal was underway and 25 of the community’s younger men were lured away by the prospect of earning steady wages.

In 1850 the original log chapel was replaced by a frame church. The congregation then consisted of about 50 families, but before the end of that decade, the railway age had arrived in southern Ontario and the exodus from rural areas such as Trafalgar to the urban areas was under way. By the late 1880s only 9 families remained on the parish list. [by Jane Watt]

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