Tag Archives: Bay of Quinte

Ontario Wanderings: St. Thomas Church & Cemetery

William Brown my 3rd great-grandfather, his son Thomas and other Browns were buried in St. Thomas Anglican Church in Belleville.

This church has a sad history.  Apparently the first church burned and even the 2nd one burned,  My innkeeper told me that if you go inside you see the pillars they installed to hold up the walls thus preserving the outside structure. My understanding is they wanted to do some construction and when they began digging they discovered that instead of 80 burials there were something like 607 or more. The McGill University and the Bay of Quinte Branch of the OGS published a book of the burials.

This website has a nice description of the cemetery The Toronto & Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society.  http://www.torontoghosts.org/index.php?/20080822389/Eastern-Ontario/Belleville-St.-Thomas-s-Church-Cemetery.html

Find A Grave also has some information about this cemetery: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2321029 but not much in the way of pictures or names.

Source:  Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, Birth, Marriage & Death Records of St. Thomas’ Anglican Church, Belleville, Ontario 1821-1874, Quinte Branch – OGS. McGill University is also involved. 

Finding any tombstone or burial of my Brown family would probably not happen.  I still wanted to see this cemetery and the church.

St. Thomas Anglican Church, Belleville, ONT.

St. Thomas Anglican Church, Belleville, ONT.

St. Thomas Anglican Church

St. Thomas Anglican Church

The Cemetery Overview

The Cemetery Overview

There are stones that are upright and on the ground.  There are tombstones impeded into some brick walls and there are tombstones along the walls of the church.  The cemetery is in the back of the church and you can access it by driving down Bridge Street going east from Pinnacle and then turning into the driveway along Bridge street. I have more pictures and will share these in a later post when I return home from my trip.

The light was a little better so I headed back down to the area near Boathouse restaurant and the marina that was south of it.

Bay of Quinte and a marina

Bay of Quinte and a marina

Bay Bridge Road

Bay Bridge Road


Hastings County: Belleville on The Bay of Quinte!

I hope the city of Belleville doesn’t mind my borrowing their reference to the Bay of Quinte.  Do not underestimate the use of a city website there can be a lot of information to help you get oriented.


As I approached Belleville I realized that it was a much larger city than I was expecting.  It was busier and the pace was faster.  Road construction was also a problem making it hard to get around and understand what you were supposed to do.  So I turned south and headed for dinner and waited till traffic ease off.

Belleville’s clock tower – City Hall?

I headed south on Front Street S. and found a marina area and a restaurant called the Boathouse.  I guess I was a little homesick for it reminded me of Seattle and the restaurants that are on Puget Sound and Elliott Bay.  They seated me in the corner inside were there was a good view on my side and a big window behind me.  There was a lot of activity going in and out  of the marina.

The Boathouse & Sports cars

This marina was sandwiched in a waterway between Victoria Park and the main land.  The Bay of Quinte was a little further out from this harbor area.

The Marina in Belleville

Boats were coming in and out of the marina.

A busy day at the marina

A crew team was practicing.


After dinner I headed up Front street through Belleville’s downtown area in search of the Comfort Inn.  There is a jog which can get you a little mixed up.  If you are on Pinnacle you need to go over the bridge to Front St. Trust me!

The Comfort Inn was on the right almost to Bell St.  It was a very nice Comfort Inn.  I had an inside and outside entrance.  So I could park my car and load and unload easily.  The view was not great but the convenience was and the employees were helpful and friendly.  I am a points member with Choice Hotels and that means free nights or gift cards as I build the points.  They also offer free breakfast and as you know I need food when I travel.

The next day was the Belleville Public Library and the Hastings County Historical Society.

Hastings County: Rawdon Twp. & Stirling

The southern end of Hastings County, Ontario’s includes the Bay of Quinte which is part of Lake Ontario. Prince Edward County is an island county that buffers Hastings County so Hastings is not really on Lake Ontario. 

The website listed below is wonderful and filled with maps showing Hastings County and how it fits into the Lake Ontario area and its relationship to Kingston and Toronto.  If you click on General County Maps, click the second one after the tab opens and you get a really nice view of where the county is located.  The first tab of the General County Maps shows surrounding counties and townships and helps to further orient you.  This website has other maps and lot maps as well.


Hwy 7 was the road I took to Marmora and that is situated below the middle part of the county of Hastings.  I wanted to see what the township of Rawdon was like.  Stirling the town is situated between Rawdon and Sidney Twps and at the south end of Rawdon.  It is called Stirling-Rawdon Twp. at this time.

Once I reached Marmora, I turned south on Hwy 14 (Stirling-Marmora Rd).  As far as I can determine from the maps that show the lots at the website listed above, Callaghan Rapids Road is the boundary line between Marmora & Lake (Marmora Twp.) and Stirling-Rawdon Twp. The next road is Morrison and that is in Stirling-Rawdon Twp. 

Stirling-Rawdon Twp, north of Bonarlaw

Please realize that my knowledge of Ontario’s geography was not good when I started preparing for this trip. I am still learning.  I also ran out of time in preparing for the trip, so, if I make a mistake please leave a comment and I will make a correction.  I was not the one who did the majority of research on the Brown family.  Therefore, I am still trying to catch up. You can find other websites at Ancestry.com or the Canadian version. 

One of my challenges was trying to figure out where the lots and land of the Brown family were located.  I am not yet satisfied so I will do more study and write a post about that later after I finish this trip.  As far as I can tell from the Atlas they had land in the northern part of Rawdon and over on the eastern side across from Spring Brook.  This means they were not that close to Stirling.  In trying to pin down the Atlas of Hastings and Prince Edward Island and modern maps has been a little challenging.  

The drive from Marmora to Stirling was about 20 minutes.  Of course I dallied and you see from the photographs a little bit of what that area of Rawdon looks like north of Stirling.

Coming into Stirling I was awed by the beauty and the large farms scattered about the landscape.  It was very pretty.

Looking north of Stirling

Entering Stirling

As I entered Stirling I came up quickly to the church St. John Evangelist (Anglican) Church:  http://stjohnsstirling.ca/ Philip Brown, a son of William Brown, passed away on 7 April 1895.  His obituary stated that the service was being held in St. John’s Church, Stirling.  All churches go through changes so I do not know if this is the church building that was there in 1895 or a newer version.  I would have to dig further.  I did email this church and they directed me to the Anglican Diocese of Kingston for the older records.  I will post on my visit to that archive very soon.

St. John’s Evangelist Church, Stirling, Ontario

Stirling has a very interesting main intersection by a large building that can cause some confusion.  After going through it several times from almost all the directions I am now okay with it.  This intersection is where Hwy 14 turns to the east and heads south to Belleville, while Hwy 8/33 heads west.  Hwy 33 then heads south to Frankford and then to Trenton.  It is still four corners but they are all off centre fortunately the light helps to monitor the traffic otherwise you might not see everyone waiting because the buildings block the view.

Stirling, Ontario

Much to my consternation my maps of Stirling were not in my papers.  I stopped at a gas station/grocery store at the northeastern corner of the  intersection of W. Front St. and Green St. and this very nice lady who was tending the station helped me figure out where I was and gave me a tourist map with towns and their streets described and more.  I will be keeping that map for future reference.  It is titled:  Destination Comfort Country 2011 Complimentary Maps.  This great tourist website is here:  www.comfortcountry.ca  You probably can get a newer updated copy. 

Now that I was oriented to Stirling I went in search of the Stirling Rawdon Public Library.  It was located on Hwy 8/33 just passed Emma Street.  It was tucked into the block on the south side of the main street, so I didn’t see it when I first drove by for I was sightseeing and looking at the old victorian houses along the street.  I found a parking spot on Emma and made my way to the library entrance.

Stirling-Rawdon Public library, Stirling, Ontario

Much to my surprise and delight I found on the side of the library building a sign: 

“Stirling Historical & Genealogical Centre – Use Front Door.” 

The sign for the Genealogy Centre, Stirling, Ontario

A sign for the Stirling Rawdon Genealogical Society

The Stirling Rawdon Public library as several floors. http://www.stirlinglibrary.com/  The genealogy centre was on the first floor through the children’s section of the library in the back.  The librarian was very helpful and opened up the centre for me to browse and find the publication that described the Stirling Cemetery burials. 

One of the bookcases in the Stirling Historical & Genealogical Centre

For some reason this society does not have a web presence so I cannot lead you to them.  I suggest that you contact the Stirling Rawdon Library at the link I have provided above to learn more about them.

I handed the librarian a copy of my Boardman’s and Brown booklet.  It is a condensed version of this blog with extra charts  and a manuscript by my cousin and focuses on the time the Browns spent in Hastings and then a little about were they migrated to.  She wrote a note and placed it in the room for the genealogy centre members to review and add to their collection. 

The Stirling Historical & Genealogical Centre is small room but they had a nice collection of Hastings County materials.  As you know I love the stacks!