The Tramp’s Funeral

Long ago, the death of an unidentified tramp led to a merry wake by the farmers of the region west of Lyn.

In the early 1800’s, two farmers found the body of a transient in a field north of Jones Creek. While they were discussing their find and wondering whether or not they should send a rider into Brockville to fetch a coroner, Charles Jones, the pioneer merchant and miller of Elizabethtown, rode up.

Jones, who had mills in Brockville, Jones Creek and Yonge Mills, as well as a general store in Brockville, told the farmers that Brockville had no coroner, and in fact the nearest medical examiner resided in Gananoque.

He also ventured the opinion that it was not necessary to incur needless expense and that the best thing to do under the circumstances was to give the victim a decent burial.

He suggested a cheap coffin be purchased and the unknown tramp laid to rest. He contributed $2.00 towards the cost.

After his departure, the farmers proceeded to search the pockets of the corpse, finding another $2.50. Neighbours were notified, and since there was no minister in the area, one of the best educated and influential settlers was chosen to conduct the service. The coffin was made in Lyn and the tramp duly placed in it.

The funeral service was held at a log house at Yonge Mills. The tramp was interred at an area graveyard, and after the service, the mourners discovered they still had $1.50 unexpended.

The question immediately arose, as to how it should be spent. By Universal consent, the mourners decided that the fund should be invested in spirits. In those days $1.50 bought quite a quantity of liquor. In fact, the gathering was supplied with a pail full of the best whisky available in the district. Every man present had several cups, until the pail was empty. Then they went home happy. Nothing was thought of the matter, the custom of ‘drinking’ being almost universal.

The tramp’s grave was never marked and the exact location is unknown today.

(Author unknown)

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