Mariposa 150th Anniversary Report
I attended Mariposa Township’s 150th Anniversary celebration yesterday and thought you might like a report.
My first stop was the Little Britain United Church and Cemetery located just west of the four corners. I had been there twice last year but the church wasn’t open so I was looking forward to seeing the inside this time. I wasn’t disappointed. There are a handful of plaques commemorating various donations on the back wall. One of them was a memorial to many of the founders of the Church. Amongst about 60 names were my gggrandfather Eleazer Yerex and his son William Eleazer Yerex. Also listed were another set of gggrandparents, Richard & Mary Smith. Their daughter Salina married William Eleazer.
Downstairs there was an exhibit of wedding dresses dating from the early 1900s to the 1990s. On a table at the back were some documents of historical interest. The original church deed from the 1870s mentioned Henry Yerex, one of Eleazer’s older brothers. A program for an event in 1964 at the Church listed Mr. & Mrs. Alan Yerex and Ruth Yerex. These were my grandfather’s siblings.
I had located a number of Yerex’s in the cemetery last summer but I have learned so much about the history of Little Britain since then that I thought I should walk through again. Sure enough I recognized a number of names of familys that have become familiar to me ....the Mark’s; Pogues’; Cornish's and Blewett’s are all there.
In particular I wanted to search for Richard & Mary Smith. I figured they must be there and sure enough they were! What really surprised me though was that Aunt Ruth (1902 - 1982) is buried with them. Its surprising in that she is buried with her grandparents and not her parents who are practically next door.
Ruth and her brothers Lloyd and Alan are buried in this cemetery. They were only children when the family home was destroyed in the disastrous fire of 1909 and they were forced to leave Little Britain. However their attachment to this village extended throughout their lifetime.
Another puzzle was solved yesterday as well. My grandfather Laverne had a cousin who was a Cornish but we couldn’t figure out if he was a real cousin or just a friend of the family. The funny thing is that they walked exactly alike.
By definition cousins share common grandparents. Laverne’s mother was Salina Smith. She had a sister, Ida Mae Smith, but I didn’t know who her husband was. I found her grave and the headstone indicates that she married a Cornish. Their son would have been a Cornish and he would have shared Richard & Mary Smith as grandparents with Laverne making them first cousins.
I decided to drive through the Christian cemetery on the north side of town behind the Baptist Church where my ggggrandfather Isaac Yerex is buried. The War of 1812 veteran brought his family of 11 children to the area in 1839.
The Township Administration offices are in Oakwood and they were decked out for the weekend’s celebration. A wonderful exhibit of tractors through the ages was located out back. Many pictures and documents of historical interest were displayed. I had information that Eleazer Yerex had his pump-making business located here in the latter half of the 1800s but I didn’t see any evidence of it.
I drove back down through Little Britain in search of the ancestral homeland. Isaac Yerex occupied the northern half of Lots 14 & 15 in Concession 3 where he opened a little hotel that farmers delivering grain to Port Hoover would frequent. The hotel was eventually torn down and a farmhouse erected in its place. I found the farmhouse and took a picture of it from the car just as a downpour blackened the sky. It appears that the rest of the property has become a gravel pit...
My final stop was the Zion United Church and Cemetery located on Zion Road that Henry Yerex had been instrumental in establishing in 1873. Unfortunately the Church wasn’t open for viewing. I also drove by his former property on the south half of Lot 12, Concession 2.
Local organizers deserve a lot of thanks for their efforts. All who volounteered went out of their way to make me feel at home.
I was saddened to learn that this marks the last year of the Township’s existence. Mariposa has been amalgamated in to the City of Kawartha Lakes.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else attended this weekend’s activities.
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