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Globe Hotel proprietor ‘did the best he could’; Picton man a victim of an experiment gone wrong

Gone But Not Forgotten

By Margaret Haylock Capon
In the Victorian era, burial grounds such as Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery, consecrated in 1873, were known as Cities of the Dead. Street names were assigned to roadways, to further perpetuate this community concept and prestigious “neighbourhoods” for interment of the socially prominent were mapped out. In death, as in life, one could, indeed, secure an address on the right side of town.

Most small, rural cemeteries and churchyard burial grounds lack such formality but the monuments within them often have compelling stories to tell. Far from being “dead-end” ghost communities, Prince Edward County’s many cemeteries are alive with history. The famous and infamous lie within their gates, their stories written in stone to pique the interest of passers-by.

Gone But Not Forgotten will profile some of the colourful individuals buried in county graveyards and provide interesting insights regarding the memorials chosen to mark their final resting places.

* * *

W.H. Vanalstine – Proprietor of the Globe Hotel

Described in his obituary as “one of the best-known hotel proprietors in the Province of Ontario”, William H. Vanalstine, owner of Picton’s Globe Hotel, died in the early 1930’s. He had been in declining health, for some time.

It was noted that he enjoyed an unusually large circle of friends and had a friendly word for everyone. Often a benefactor of the less fortunate, whenever congratulated on a generous deed, he would reply, “I did the best I could.”

Born in Milford, Mr. Vanalstine was the son of John Vanalstine and his wife, Sarah Jane Welbanks. He spent his early youth in this small village and after marrying Louisa Bond, ran a hotel there, for several years. He later came to Picton to work as manager of the Queen’s Hotel. In the early 1900’s he bought the Globe Hotel and went into business for himself.

It was observed, in his obituary, that “his personality had become well and favourably known to the travelling public during his long period as proprietor of this hostelry.”

Mr. Vanalstine was married twice, first to Louisa Bond, who predeceased him, and later to Ethel Pattillo of Toronto.

A funeral service for the popular hotelier was held at the Church of St., Mary Magdalene. It was preceded by a private service at the family home, during which Dr. C.W. Bishop of Albert College spoke. Interment followed in Glenwood Cemetery.

 * * *

Leslie Rawlins – Victim of an Experiment Gone Wrong

Picton resident Leslie Rawlins, 29, died in an explosion at his Bridge Street home, in the fall of 1952, when the experiment he was conducting caused “a terrific explosion.” A newspaper account of his death stated that the explosion killed him instantly and “nearly wrecked the interior of the upstairs portion of the house and blew out windows both upstairs and down.”

The blast was so severe that little evidence was left to determine what explosives were being used. Part of a chemistry set was found in the debris. There was no fire but dense smoke followed the explosion and Picton firefighters were called to the scene.

Mr. Rawlins had been residing with his father, Henry A. Rawlins, a 24-year veteran with the British Royal Navy. He was not at home at the time of the explosion that claimed his son’s life.

A graduate of Picton Collegiate Institute, Leslie Rawlins was described as an outstanding student and a fine athlete. He had served overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force and held the rank of Flying Officer. At the time of his death, he was a member of Picton Branch 78, Royal Canadian Legion.

The Rawlins family came to Canada, from England, in 1930 and lived on Christian Street for three years, before moving to Picton.

Following funeral services at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Mr. Rawlins was buried in Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery.

* * *
-Margaret Haylock Capon, a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter, is the author of Hearts We Leave Behind, an illustrated history of Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery. She is a former member of both the Glenwood Cemetery board and the Prince Edward County Cemetery board. She and her husband, Alan R. Capon are Prince Edward County’s representatives of the Campbell Monument Company and co-authors of the company’s history, written during its centennial year (2009).

Helping You Remember

Campbell Monument has now introduced an extended service for families ordering new inscriptions (i.e. final dates), for existing monuments. For an additional $85, upright monuments will also be power washed and checked for safety and stability. Ground level markers will be raised, levelled and cleaned. In Prince Edward County, please contact Margaret Haylock and Alan Capon at 613-393-2254 for further details.

Filed Under: Local NewsMargaret Haylock-Capon

About the Author: Maggie Haylock is a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter who has co-authored several books with her husband, Alan Capon.

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