If you have ever strolled through a local pioneer cemetery, you may wondered about the names etched in granite and weathered limestone on the markers and what the history is behind those names.
The Wesley Wesleyan Methodist Cemetery located on the Mono-Adjala Townline, has some names that date back to the very beginning of Mono Township and have family connections to other pioneer cemeteries in the area.
Lavertyville is a former village located at the 20 Sideroad Mono and 7th Line EHS in Mono, northwest of Loretto.
The first settlers in the area were John Laverty, who brought with him his young daughter Dorthea, his father-in-law, and his brothers-in-law, James and Alexander Hutchinson.
They arrived in 1819, when Mono Township was a wide open expanse of trees and forest with no settlements, and a hard life ahead for anyone who wanted to clear the land and start a farm.
It is presumed that John was widowed shortly after the birth of his first born child, explaining why a single man would bring a young baby and his in-laws into such a wild area for a fresh start.
They had arrived after making a long journey from their native Ireland.
By the late 1820's, other settlers began to arrive and put down roots. The fledgling community was named Lavertyville after its first inhabitants.
In 1830, John remarried to a woman named Elizabeth Webb. They had five children together.
Elizabeth died only 15 years later age, 43 or 44.
By mid century enough people had arrived in the area to build the first church. Wesley Methodist Church was erected in 1847. St. Paul's Anglican Church was added in 1867.
There is no record of where school aged children went to school at the time, if at all, however, a school house was built in 1902. That school burned to the ground during a fire and was rebuilt in 1906 as brick structure.
A post office was opened in nearby Lorraine, another early settlement, and operated from 1854 until 1899.
Oddly, there is no mention of an Orange Lodge ever being chartered, as it was pretty common in local Irish based settlements in the area.
Over time, residents moved on to green pastures, and the little settlement went into decline.
The school house is still standing on the 20 Sideroad and is now a private residence.
On the other corner of the 7th Line, St. Paul's Anglican Church still has its church bell and is also a private residence.
Wesley Methodist Church is long gone but the church cemetery still exists. There are 25 headstones in the burial ground.
All of original settler, John Laverty's children lived long lives and are interred in nearby cemeteries.
Dorthea who arrived as an infant at the turn of the 19th century lived to age 78 or 79, and rests with her husband at Relessey Cemetery at 5 Line E.
John Laverty died in 1861, at age 74/75, 43 years after arriving as a pioneer in his new country.
He is buried along side his wife Elizabeth at St. John's Church cemetery in Mono.
John Laverty represents the true pioneer spirit of early settlers who gambled on a future in an untamed area.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times