our HISTORY

Continued from front page

The Directors were empowered to select and buy land suitable for the cemetery during a second meeting in April 1877. They reported back in January 1878 that after careful consideration, they had purchased suitable lands and that it was fenced and Mr. Pollock of Galt had prepared a map laying out walks and roadways and that five acres were now ready for occupation.
By 1885, the first removals from outlying burial grounds were considered and this was strengthened by the action of the Village Council in prohibiting burials within the corporation.
On the same date permission was granted to purchase a stove for the house at the entrance to the Cemetery as it was found necessary for the Caretaker while awaiting funerals in the winter.
In 1890 the Company authorized the buying of the first equipment to look after the grounds which included a step ladder, a pair of new shears and some chairs for the gate house also the Caretaker was authorized to secure paint and do the outside of the gate house.
At first, many of the Directors took a hand in the care of the cemetery on a volunteer basis but in 1883, $10 was set aside for the payment of a part-time caretaker for one year. This was raised to $65 a year in 1885 and again in 1891 to $1.25 per day and by 1900 it was back to $200 per year.
Financial Statements were presented each year at the Annual Meeting and it is noted that in 1893 the Financial Statement was published in the Ayr Advocate and also 150 hand bills were authorized to be printed and distributed. At the same meeting, special permission was granted to the Shareholders to use the Company hand mower when cutting their own lots, as each lot owner looked after his own lot.
The first direct move towards a perpetual care fund was started in 1885, when Mr. David Goldie in his will left $1,000 to the Company on the condition that the Company in a period of over just one year raised another $3,000 to be set up as a special fund. The interested from such a fund to be used for the care of the pathways and roads of the cemetery. The Company raised the necessary money and this was a start of a reserve fund, which in 1960 had grown to over $25,000.
In 1926 consideration was given to a proper building at the gates for people to await funerals and later in 1929 an estimate of $1,800 was received and the matter was put off.
At this time a donation was received from Jas. G. Robson amounting to $500 for new entrance gates and it was decided to use this money to erect proper pillars and in 1932 Mr. A.E. Watson, on behalf of himself and his family, donated the iron gates and fence between the new pillars in memory of John Watson. These gates and fence were designed and built by Mr. A.E. Watson in his plant at Ayr.
In 1944, Miss Elizabeth Dolman Watson left to the Ayr Cemetery Company a sum of $4,000 and in 1950 her sister Miss Mary Urie Watson left a similar sum of money amounting to $5,000 for the erection and furnishing of a suitable Chapel for the Cemetery.
In view of this $9,000 received, the Directors of the Company decided to ask the lot owners of the Cemetery if they would come forward and donate the balance of an estimated cost of $18,000. Suitable letters were sent out and as a result in 1951 sufficient funds were received to enable the Directors to go ahead.
Mr. Ray Hall of Galt was employed as architect and a very excellent building of stone was completed with a fire proof vault erected near the gates on the east side of the entrance.
Since then interested people and organizations have donated furnishings and the Company has installed up-to-date lighting and heating units making the building complete.
Through careful management of funds and the continued interest of all those connected with the Cemetery Company, the cemetery has become one of the best in Ontario and when the Inspector from the Ontario Department of Health checked the complete set of records, the grounds, chapel and equipment in August 1959 in his report said: “The Cemetery and records are being kept in accordance with the Cemeteries Act and that it is with pleasure that we extend our congratulations with respect to the same.” “Condition of the Cemetery – very well cared for”.