Saint Anthony's Church of Windham

Photo added by William Donnelly

Saint Anthony's Church of Windham

Windham Road 19 at Windham Rd 10
La Salette, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada
Memorials 106 added (100% photographed)

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Beginning in the 1830’s Irish and German immigrant pioneers came to the western edge of Norfolk County and into Oxford County, Upper Canada (now Ontario), clearing the massive pine trees that covered it. In 1845 the Dertinger family donated land in the Township of Windham and the pioneers built a small log/wooden chapel that was serviced by a priest from St. Basil’s Parish in Brantford, Ontario. They began to bury their dead, often children, to the north of the church. It became known as the Roman Catholic Church at Windham and was the spiritual center for the catholic pioneers of the area.

In 1878, a new parcel was purchased to replace the church and cemetery which were now too small. Construction continued with donations and labor from the pioneer families. It was completed in the fall of 1881 and dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette in honor of a then recent vision of Mary in the village of LaSalette, France. Burials began in the “new cemetery” in 1878 and continue to the present day. Persons were buried in the ‘old’ cemetery for a few years but ceased by 1890. The wooden chapel burnt down at some point and the ‘old’ pioneer cemetery fell into disuse.

By 1966, the ‘old’ cemetery was overgrown with trees and shrubs and attracted vandals who smashed some of the old tombstones. The priest at the time ordered that the cemetery be ‘cleaned up’ and a contract was tendered. Announcements were made during masses so that families still in the area could move stones from the ‘old’ cemetery to the ‘new’ cemetery. The tombstones that remained were buried in an ‘accidental’ clearing of the pioneer cemetery and bulldozed under.

Starting in 2013, interested parties pushed to uncover the buried headstones to recover information that had been buried with them. As a result of the archaeological dig in the summer of 2014, the remains of 67 identifiable stones were recovered and put together in 2016 into a memorial garden on site.

Researchers should check through both Our Lady of La Salette Cemetery and this cemetery. Some families moved stones from this cemetery to Our lady of La Salette. Where known, it is indicated on the notes of the stone. There is no evidence that any remains were moved.


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GPS Coordinates: 42.88032, -80.48264

  • Added: 29 Nov 2016
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2628826