Updates: October, 2005 to December, 2006
October 1, 2005
To: Tamara Anson-Cartwright. Associate with the Ministry of Culture
Mr. Michael D'Mello (of the Ministry of Business and Consumer Affairs) suggested a few months ago that I should contact you for some advice with regards to the restoration of the McGregor Ross mausoleum in the Old Union Cemetery at Waterdown, Ontario. Mike says that you specialize in Monument Restorations, and he may have sent a copy of his email reply on June 17 to you.
I have been keeping a general history and progress report at a "blog" site . . . . . http://www.ross-ter.com/Ross-ter_Reports/Mausoleum/MRM.html [NOTE: URL changed in December of 2005] but the very persons, who could be of the greatest assistance in providing the basic answers, seem to be unprepared to do so. I am torn between seeking help from a police detective or a lawyer.
At present I have given permission to Peter Christie (Superintendent of Cemeteries, Public Works Department, Operations and Maintenance Division, Cemetery Section, Hamilton) to proceed with essential work on the iron door and a gate, but there has been no progress. When, and if, I decide to go ahead with the remainder of the much-needed repairs and restoration, I shall need all of the advice that I can get.
I was most disturbed to learn about break-ins and graffiti, but I was even more horrified to learn that the family mausoleum has been used as a death house for storing bodies during the winter. During my visit on May 14, I noted a large green box which was still being stored inside; there was also an unexplained area which had been cemented in. In not one of these instances have I been notified nor have I given permission for such changes. At the very least, I would appreciate the names and addresses of the cemetery custodians prior to the amalgamation under the management of the Hamilton Cemeteries Board in 2001. In view of the fact that I shall soon be passing along the responsibility for the upkeep of the mausoleum to my son and my daughter, I would like to resolve as many of these issues as possible.
I have checked four telephone numbers of McGregors who live in Waterdown, but there appears to be no descendant with a connection to the mausoleum. I have provided an updated copy of The McGregor Story to the Archivist of the Flamborough Archives, and this booklet provides the genealogy of those individuals contained in the mausoleum.
Thank you in advance for any advice or assistance you may give.
October 15, 2005
CLICK HERE for a questionnaire delivered with SASE by registered mail (79 019 291 645). The purpose was to summarize what was discovered about the McGregor Ross mausoleum during the five months since my meeting with the Superintendent of Cemeteries on Saturday, May 14, 2005.
November 29, 2005
Each year (around St. Andrews Day) I send an email message to family and friends. The probability of a progress report on the mausoleum was communicated to everyone involved to this stage. An excerpt from my family newsletter follows:
In the Ross-ter Update #22, I indicated that I was establishing a project to restore the McGregor Ross mausoleum, which is the only structure in the pioneer section of the Union Cemertery in Waterdown, Ontario. On May 14, 2005, I arranged to meet Peter Christie, Superintendent of Cemeteries, Hamilton, Ontario, at the mausoleum. Subsequently, I contacted Michael D'Mello of the Cemeteries Regulation Section of the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, which has become concerned about the deterioration and loss of pioneer cemeteries in recent years. Mike replied, "Thanks for the explanation and for taking on this endeavour," and both of us sent email messages to Tamara Anson-Cartwright at the Ministry of Culture since she "specializes in Monument Restorations and has written a book on the subject". There has been very little meaningful progress since, except from Sylvia Wray, Archivist at the Flamborough Archives, for which I am most grateful. Perhaps the Clan Ross motto, "Success Nourishes Hope", does not apply to this project!
I feel that this situation must be resolved before my two children inherit the responsibility for the mausoleum. My immediate concerns were (and still are) to learn about:
1. the dates for obvious alterations within the family mausoleum since 1973,
2. the use of the family mausoleum as a vault for the storage of corpses over the Winter,
3. the contents of the mausoleum beyond those in my records,
4. the history of record-keeping for the pioneer section of the Union Cemetery, and
5. the names and addresses of custodians responsible for keeping the records.
I have been letting everyone know that this project is not within my area of expertise, but that I am willing to learn. As an example of my basic ignorance in these matters, I pose the following questions: When the six area municipalities were amalgamated in 2001, what were the legal requirements for existing cemetery boards to forward records to the new cemetery board in Hamilton, Ontario? What were the legal responsibilities of the new cemetery board in Hamilton to obtain records from the additional 52 cemetery boards in those municipalities?
In desperation, I finally sent a questionnaire to Peter Christie by registered mail on October 14, 2005 (five months after our first contact). This item may be found at http://www.ross-ter.com/Ross-ter_Reports/Mausoleum/questionnaire.html. My final request at the bottom of this form was to arrange a second visit to the mausoleum before winter weather makes a drive from Toronto too hazardous. Again . . . no response! [Maybe "winter weather" is defined a tad differently in Hamilton.] It would be irresponsible on my part not to focus upon the success of my project.
I discussed this situation with several members at our 75th Annual Ross Family Reunion on August 1, 2005, and thus far I have had two interesting responses: (1) get some LEGAL advice on the many irregularities, and (2) present examples of incompetence and wrong-doing to the "Whistleblower" programme at the CTV News Toronto Bureau. Opinion Polls are fine, but I am also seeking some resolution to this quagmire.
Toward the end of May, 2005, a web log was established and I am in the process of relocating it to http://www.ross-ter.com/Ross-ter_Reports/Mausoleum/MRM.html. Any comments or advice would be appreciated.
November 30, 2005
An apology was received from Peter Christie, who was not aware that his answers to the questionnaire which he return mailed on Oct21/05 did not reach me. He said that another copy would be mailed immediately . . . together with some additional information. I gave a preliminary approval of a granite plaque over a bronze plaque "in view of the disappearance of the original one above the door".
I also replied that I would confirm the receipt of any information by sending an email.
December 7, 2005
An 8.5" by 11" envelope was received from Peter, and this was confirmed by email. The contents were scanned as follows:
CLICK HERE for the cover to the questionnaire answers returned from Peter Christie.
CLICK HERE for the answers to the questionnaire.
CLICK HERE for the letter of November 3, 2005 from Georgina Minnes to Crystabelle Fobler and Peter Christie.
CLICK HERE for the letter of November 4, 2005 from Georgina Minnes pertaining to the telephone conversation with Fred Grey about the urn on the shelf.
RECORDS FROM THE WATERDOWN CEMETERY BOARD:
CLICK HERE for October 17, 1985 minutes when Bob Kelly was to look into fixing the broken hinge on the "McGregor Crypt".
CLICK HERE for the October 24, 1988 letter to the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police (involving the letter being picked up by Constable Latimer #410 on October 25 and a visit by Inspector Malcolsom and a constable to the house of Shirley Kent, Secretary-Treasurer, on October 26. Extra patrols promised for Hallowe'en.
CLICK HERE for October 26, 1989 minutes (page 1) when the Board decided to maintain a local interest in the face of the exercise of amalgamation of the Flamborough volunteer cemetery boards.
CLICK HERE for October 26, 1989 minutes (page 2) in which the Board posted its new schedule of payments.
CLICK HERE for (page 2) partial minutes (probably in January due to financial report for 1989 being received) in which the sectretary is to call John Van Elswyk for an estimate for repairs to the "McGregor crypt" (parging and removal of graffiti).
CLICK HERE for page 3 and signatures of Jim Duschl (Chairman) and Betty Smibert (Secretary Treasurer).
CLICK HERE for June 6, 1990 minutes (page 1) when the Board met at the home of Secretary-Treasurer Betty Smibert.
CLICK HERE for October 26, 1989 minutes (page 3) noting that Cor Vanderkruk discussed the "McGregor crypt" with the daughter of Doctor McGregor's sister. Betty Smibert, Secretary-Treasurer, was to look up all information re: repairs and contact family members.
QUOTATIONS FORWARDED BY PETER CHRISTIE (December 7, 2005)
CLICK HERE for an estimate from Hamilton Memorials Limited to replace a 9.5" by 36" plaque above the door of the McGregor Ross Mausoleum.
CLICK HERE for a quotation from Denco Restoration Contractors to repair the "Waterdown Cemetery Vault".
December 9, 2005
In his letter of January 7, 2005, Peter Christie stated that "all cemetery records and information are stored at our main office at 777 York Boulevard and the person to contact for any of this information is Crystabelle Fobler . . . I have forwarded your email to her so that she is aware of your thoughts". Thus, I felt it best that I respond to thank the cemetery support clerk, Georgina Minnes, and her supervisor.
I wish to thank you personally for your effort to obtain information for me about the McGregor Ross mausoleum. The details have saddened me greatly, but they were not unexpected. Actually, all facts will assist in the completion of the history of the mausoleum, and this will help me to make decisions about its restoration.
Fred Grey was very knowledgeable about the details surrounding the vandalism which occurred in 1988, and perhaps he could tell me about the ultimate fate of the wooden box in which the staff kindly placed my aunt's cremains. I suspect that it might have been cemented into the space which existed on the south side . . . at the end of the previously cemented remains of Peter McGregor, Mary Ann (Wilson) McGregor, Isabela (Wilson) McGregor, Reverend John A Ross and Phoebe Louise (McGregor) Ross. My sketch from 1973 is included HERE. I would hope that some small detail would serve to set my troubled mind at ease.
There are a couple of other items about which Fred Grey might also be helpful. 1. There is another cemented area to the right on the inside at the entrance, but I am unaware of any descendant whose remains would be placed there. 2. A standard-sized pine box, painted green, is resting upon two iron pipes above the earliest cement work.
Sylvia Wray, Flamborough Archives, was helpful in locating burial records which I needed for the revision and second printing of Peter Ward's The McGregor Story, and I was able to email a copy to her.
The minutes for the Waterdown Cemetery Board for October 26, 1989, mention that Cor Vanderkruk "discussed the McGregor crypt with the daughter of Dr. McGregor's sister". I'd be interested in communicating with any McGregors in the area who may be related. I have phoned four individuals in the Waterdown directory surnamed McGregor, but none is related to anyone in the mausoleum. I was surprised that I haven't been contacted, because Doug Porter of the Turner and Porter Funeral Home on Bloor Street in Toronto was a fellow Kiwanian, and in 1973 he gave all particulars about my name and address to the custodian (Ferguson?) of the Waterdown Union Cemetery.
Thanks again. All assistance is very much appreciated.
January 6, 2006
In this email, I thanked Peter Christie for his patience over the Christmas break, while I was considering the contents of the brown envelope. The letter is self-explanatory.
I have decided that a granite marker fitting the space above the door to the McGregor Ross mausoleum is "affordable" (at approximately $1,059 +). You might mention to Hamilton Memorials Limited that I shall post their company logo with their estimates on the website at http://www.ross-ter.com/Ross-ter_Reports/Mausoleum/MRM.html. The same courtesy will be given to other contractors who become involved in the restoration process. I may have to borrow money for the restoration of the building itself.
My account for extraordinary/emergency expences relies upon retirement income produced from Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan at a very slow rate (much to the chagrin of our family dentist). Most recently, money from this fund paid for our home's roof repairs and a second-hand car to replace the 1974 Chevy you saw last May.
When time permits, I would appreciate a quotation for an iron door and gate. When they are installed, it might prove more convenient if both of us had a set of keys. There have been two occasions already when persons have asked to accompany me to the mausoleum in the pioneer section of the old Union Cemetery in Waterdown. Once was towards the end of October last year when communications between us failed. It might assist both of us if I didn't have to bother you each time.
The eventual fate of the "wooden box" with my Aunt's cremains is still of some concern. There must be informed persons who know about the events covering the period between the police report of October 1988 and the amalgamation of the six municipalities in 2001. Mr Fred Grey might have more that he could add. Failing that, Georgina Minnes noted in her communication of November 4, 2005, that the director of the Cemetery Board at the time should be contacted on the East coast.
I believe that everything should be done to discover the history of the mausoleum from 1985/8 on, since it appears that the iron bars (and storage of bodies) were not mentioned in the police report when my Aunt's cremains were taken from the shelf and scattered. As a very last resort, I suppose that the police might search missing persons' reports to explain the contents of the cemented area to the right nearest the entrance and the contents of the green box before we invite a coroner's investigation.
January 16, 2006
No response was received from Hamilton.
In a letter I acknowledged my telephone conversation with Stan Hutchinson, the manager of Hamilton Memorials Limited, and enclosed a cheque covering a $200 deposit. The total cost for the McGREGOR ROSS granite marker will be $1283.55 (or $224.25 more than the original estimate). A final draft of the marker and invoice will be sent for approval before any work is done in March at the earliest. Prior notice was requested in order that a photographic opportunity would be possible.
February 20, 2006
Several telephone calls were placed during the day. The Federal Government was unresponsive or evasive about the possibility of tax relief for the preservation of the mausoleum.
The Ontario Government (1-800-959-8281) observed that funds were available for historic sites. I wondered if a descendant of King Alpin of Scots (through the McGregor Line in the House of Glengyle) would qualify. Another possibility would be a refund of the Provincial Service Tax if a religious cemetery (Jewish, Roman Catholic, etc) were involved. I'd bet that the only structure in a predominantly Scottish-Presbyterian pioneer cemetery would not qualify.
I decided to contact Tamara Anson-Cartwright at the Ontario Ministry of Culture in the afternoon. A Trust Fund approach has been arranged in other localities. She mentioned this possibility for tax relief which I hadn't considered, and promised to look into it for me. Without such sympathetic understanding, I was beginning to consider abandoning the project or delaying any work until the eyesore was beyond repair.
March 15, 2006
I received a revised drawing of the proposed name plaque for over the door of the McGregor Ross mausoleum from Stan Hutchinson, manager of Hamilton Memorials Ltd. I signified my approval in a return envelope at once, and requested an opportunity to take a photo of the plaque for this website as the work neared completion. Of all restoration estimates, this item was the most affordable. Furthermore, the theft of a brass plaque between 1950 and 1973 had led to improper references to the mausoleum in the few records that existed later. Hopefully a proper name plaque will rectify this and serve as an indication of good faith in my attempt at restoration.
April 24, 2006: from Tamara Anson-Cartwright
Has there been any development/ response to Mr. Christie's request?
Same Day Reply: I haven't heard whether Tamara received any response from either "Peter" or "Mr. Christie". I did my best to reply from the viewpoint of myself, Doug Ross, that I had received no response to my requests. I like to send reminders at mid-month that I am still alive and well (going on 76 in May), and that I would still enjoy hearing about some progress . . . or any encouraging news for that matter. Perhaps some are hoping that the "old bugger" will go away, develop altzheimers or join his ancestors.
May 12, 2006: from Peter Christie (with copy to Tamara Anson-Cartwright)
I had asked the Cemetery Administration Office to contact you to discuss options available with trust funds etc. for the restoration project on the mausoleum. Obviously no one has contacted you to date. I have requested this again.
Secondly I recently obtained a quote from a local fabricating shop to replace the door and fabricate a wrought iron gate for the entrance. If you could please review the attached quote and drawings and let me know if you approve. If you are in agreement I will proceed with this and I will be able to cover the costs of this work. Please let me know your decision.
Same Day Reply: Hello Peter :)
Thank you for the email received on May 12.
Pending contact about the trust fund from the Cemetery Administration Office, I would approve of the plans for the door and ornamental gate concept by Mac's Metalworks.
I have asked Hamilton Memorials Limited to proceed with the McGregor Ross plaque to be placed over the entrance.
June 17, 2006: Mid-month has passed without any progress report.
On June 9, formal letters were mailed to Mayor Larry Di Ianni of Hamilton, Councillor Margaret McCarthy of Ward 15 and MPP Ted McMeekin of Flamborough seeking their suggestions and assistance in getting things moving on the restoration of the only mausoleum in the pioneer section of the Union Cemetery. The latter two have offices in Waterdown, and I am aware that they have an interest in initiatives which benefit the community. Portions of emails from Peter Christie were enclosed to indicate his supportive communications on the following matters:
- (a) Arrangements for establishing a Trust Fund with the Cemetery Administration Office,
- (b) A granite plaque over the entrance by Hamilton Memorials Limited (Stan Hutchinson), and
- (c) The iron door and gate by Mac's Metalworks (John Macdonell).
Copies were also sent to Tamara Anson-Cartwright, Consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Culture.
To: Chrystabelle Fobler
Date: June 19, 2006
Subject: McGregor Ross Mausoleum Trust Fund
Thank you for your phonecall today. I was incorrect about my statement that I had been waiting for one month for the options pertaining to the establishment of a trust fund to cover the restoration of the McGregor Ross Mausoleum in the Pioneer Section of the Union Cemetery in Waterdown. Actually, it was more.
In his communication on May 12, 2006 (with a copy to Tamara Anson-Cartwright), Peter Christie stated, "I had asked the Cemetery Administration Office to contact you to discuss options available with trust funds etc. for the restoration project on the mausoleum. Obviously no one has contacted you to date. I have requested this again. Secondly I recently obtained a quote from a local fabricating shop to replace the door and fabricate a wrought iron gate for the entrance. If you could please review the attached quote and drawings and let me know if you approve. If you are in agreement I will proceed with this and I will be able to cover the costs of this work. Please let me know your decision."A reply with approval was sent immediately.
During our conversation, I suggested that I would like to cover half of the total cost before the end of the year. I would like to cover the balance in January of 2007, since both amounts will be taken from my retirement savings. I would also like to be able to use the tax deductions for different years (i.e. 2006 and 2007).
I have asked Stan Hutchinson of Hamilton Memorials and John Macdonell of Mac's Metalworks to give me a couple of days' notice when any work will be completed so that I can record it at http://www.ross-ter.com/Ross-ter_Reports/Mausoleum/MRM.html. It might also afford a photographic opportunity for the politicians whom I believe are interested in my efforts at restoration.
On July 14, I sent the following email to each of the following:
- - - Peter Christie, Superintendent of Cemeteries (in Hamilton)
- - - Mayor Larry Di Ianni, Mayor of Hamilton
- - - Chrystabelle Fobler, Supervisor of Administrative Support Services in Cemeteries
- - - Councillor Margaret McCarthy, Councillor of Hamilton Ward 15 with a constituency office in Waterdown
- - - Ted McMeekin, MPP, Member of the Provincial Parliament for Flamborough with an office in Waterdown
- - - Georgina Minnes, Cemetery Support Clerk II with access to cemetery records under the jurisdiction of Hamilton Cemeteries
Well it is mid-month once more, and that means I'm reviewing the progress towards restoration of the mausoleum. Naturally I have been quite busy with other things.
For example I thanked David Caplin, the MPP for our district, for delivering some 50 trillium pins to me at his constituency office. They were much appreciated by a busload of Clan Ross members from across Canada (including 3 guests from England and 4 from the USA) at the end of a tour to learn more about the Underground Railway.
In another case, I was able to thank City Councillor Shelly Carroll of our area for performing a miracle by solving one of my pet peeves for the year 2006. I was able to thank her Constituency Assistant as well for a job well done. The parks in the area are a tad more respectable now, and I recorded my appreciation at http://www.ross-ter.com/Tales/peeves-2006.html.
That leaves my second peeve at the same location sticking out like a sore thumb.
Who would blame me for being absolutely discouraged? It is not only past mid-month in July, but it is definitely past mid-year. My second peeve for the year is quite justified, and I am prepared to add more. Please give me reasons to think otherwise before the Fall.
BTW: I have added funeral notices and obituaries from the newspapers to Section2: "Contents of the Mausoleum", and I have contacted funeral directors to provide further support for my research into the family history.
July 19. 2006 10:15 PM
UPDATE August 4, 2006.
Trull Funeral Home - 1111 Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON. M4J 1M5. Phone: 416-465-4661.
A request about funeral notices was made by telephone on August 3 at 10:30 AM, and the director's response by email on the same day confirmed the data in the newspaper obituaries as posted in Section 2 of this web-log.
Hamilton Memorials Ltd. - 65 Tom St., Hamilton, ON. L8R 1X2. Phone: 905-522-0241.
A phonecall was made on August 3 at 12:33 PM to discover what progress had been made on the plaque which had been approved on March 10 for placement above the mausoleum door. Stan Hutchinson returned the phonecall on August 4 at 2:45 PM. He reported that the granite shipment from Africa had been broken in transit and had been re-ordered. He was pleased to report that the plaque would be installed by August 25 at the latest. He would give me sufficient notice so that a photo could be taken for the "progress report".
Hamilton Municipal Cemeteries, Supervisor for Administrative Support Services - 777 York Blvd., Hamilton, ON. L8R 2A4. Phone: 905-546-4704. Phonecalls were made to Chrystabelle Fobler before noon on August 3 and 4. A response was received on August 4 at 3:00 PM. She confirmed that Peter Christie was on holidays, but they had discussed covering the expenses for any restoration which I approved. It appeared that trust funds could not be established to cover the expenses. Although we discussed other means such as donations to cover the expenses, it does not appear that a specific fund can be established. This might be cause for reconsidering Peter's generous offer. In any case, Chrystabelle is aware that I wish all loose items to be removed from the mausoleum - - - i.e. the coffin and the storage bars. I mentioned that a $200 deposit had been paid to Hamilton Memorials Ltd., that the plaque would be completed this month, and that I'd be posting photographs of the replacement on the website. The same consideration will be given when the door and the gate are installed. [I gave Peter a lock for the old door when we met at the mausoleum on May 14, 2005, and I expressed the wish that we share keys to locks for both the door and the gate so that I could visit the mausoleum with relatives and others without disturbing him.] I thanked Chrystabelle for adding to the positive items that I could report about the mausoleum at the 76th Annual Family Reunion on Civic Holiday.