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William Windeat – An odd old man

Gone But Not Forgotten

This impressive monument in Prince Edward County's Burr Cemetery marks the grave of Hoadadiah Burr who had an interesting claim to fame. He was the cousin of Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin.

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.

 

William Windeat – An Odd Old Man

Described in his obituary as “an eccentric old man” William Windeat purchased his tombstone and had it erected in Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery, several years prior to his death. A familiar character in the life of the town, he died in 1908, in his room at the Globe Hotel, where he had lived for a number of years. He was 87.

It was noted that Windeat was “a quaint old man of the old school” who was of a very distinguished bearing. He had come from Belleville, in 1883, to take up residence in Picton. A reserved man, it was said that he did not make friends readily and few people knew much of his past associations. It was known, however, that he had been born to a prominent family in Devonshire, England. In his youth, he travelled extensively and spent a number of years in Spain. He also visited Cuba and was fluent in Spanish.

His obituary stated that he was an artist of some repute and had painted pictures that brought him some degree of fame in the art world. When he first arrived in Picton, he gave painting lessons for a time. It was noted that he was a well-read man and the few townspeople who came to know him well found Mr. Windeat’s reminiscences of his early travels of great interest.

A report of his death observed: “Mr. Windeat was rather an eccentric character and though he had an income on which he lived, he always dreaded the idea of dying a pauper. It was to obviate this that some few years ago he selected a plot in Glenwood Cemetery, where he chose to be buried. The grave was dug and left ready to be easily opened and a tombstone was erected, properly carved. All his funeral expenses were paid in advance.”

Picton’s eccentric old man was buried on a June afternoon, in 1908, taking his secrets with him to the grave.
* * *
-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.
Click here for MORE Gone But Not Forgotten

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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  1. Bobbi says:

    I love these stories! They bring the old town to life. Keep ’em coming!

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