The Town of Essex maintains thirteen cemeteries. These cemeteries provide an important link to the community's early settlers and are maintained by a contractor.
Of the thirteen cemeteries, only three are active cemeteries in which burials are still performed. Two of the three active cemeteries have interment spaces for sale.
The three active cemeteries are as follows:
Colchester Memorial Cemetery is located off County Road 13 between Draper Street and Harrison Street. This is one of the few active cemeteries with plots available for purchase within the municipality.
Erie Cemetery is located off County Road 50 West between Bagot Street and Sydenham Street. This is an active cemetery but there are no plots available for purchase.
Iler Cemetery is uniquely located off a laneway leading from Dolson Road near County Road 50 East. There are a few plots available for purchase within this cemetery.
The ten inactive cemeteries are as follows:
African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Cemetery, also known as the New Canaan Cemetery, is located off County Road 12 (Gesto Road) on Part of Lot 18, Concession SMR. The area north of Harrow was not well settled until fugitive Blacks, escaping the American South, arrived. To many of these refugees following the underground railroad, "Canaan" was reportedly a code word for Canada. Canada's first Black lawyer, Delos Rogest Davis, is buried here. This cemetery is also known to some as the Chavis Cemetery because of the many Chavises that are buried here. Access to this cemetery from County Road 12 is via a 22-foot right-of-way.
British Methodist Episcopal (BME) Cemetery is located at 25 Walnut Street South. Some of the earliest settlers in Essex County were of African origin, having fought as United Empire Loyalists during America's War of Independence. Prominent Blacks rest in this cemetery, including Reverend Noah Canon, the founder of several AME churches across Ontario. In 2013, Essex Town Council designated this cemetery as being of cultural heritage value or interest under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Ferriss Cemetery is located on Ferris Road between the 3rd Concession and County Road 20 East. The Ferris family is the first recorded family to have settled in the area around the Second Concession. The Ferris Cemetery remains on the site in memory of some of the municipality's earliest pioneers. The cemetery layout is in the form of a cross. As it is located within farmland, access to this cemetery may be limited.
Gilgal Cemetery is located on County Road 11 between the 5th and 6th Concessions. Following the War of 1812, Blacks settled in the area and built a growing community in the Village of Gilgal. The first African Methodist Episcopal Church in the area was built in 1852, presumably at or near the site of the Gilgal Cemetery. Today, a few grave markers at the cemetery are all that is left of the village. The cemetery is also known as the Taylor Family Cemetery because of the significant number of Taylors who lived near Gilgal and were buried on the property.
Huffman Cemetery is located on agricultural farmland on County Road 50 East between Evergreen Road and Cloverdale Beach Road giving this cemetery limited access. Following the American Revolution, the Huffman Family, led by patriarch Rudolph Huffman, came to the area from Virginia and in 1792 received a land grant of 400 acres along the shore of Lake Erie from the Crown. Many of the Huffman family descendants still live in the Colchester area. In 2005, a ceremony was hosted at the cemetery to dedicate a new stone in honour of the family lineage and those buried at the site without markers.
Hutchins Cemetery is located off County Road 50 West between Cornwall Beach Road and Lakecrest Beach Road, and serves as an excellent example of a rural 19th century pioneer family cemetery. The Hutchins were one of the original pioneer families of the area and played a prominent role in local development. Most of the monuments found here are composed of white marble slabs, reflective of the fine art and carving techniques typical of this time. In 2010, Essex Town Council designated this cemetery as being of cultural heritage value or interest under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Iler Settlement Cemetery is located on Twin Gables Drive, just off County Road 50 East. The Iler Settlement began in 1808 when Jacob Iler bought Lot 37 on Colchester's Front Concession. Throughout the years, churches, schools, farms and businesses have thrived there. The oldest headstone in this cemetery is dated 1832. In 2010, Essex Town Council designated this cemetery as being of cultural heritage value or interest under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act.
McCormick Cemetery is located on Dunn Road between County Road 13 and Fox Sideroad. The McCormicks were among the earliest settlers along Lake Erie's north shore. Alexander McCormick, a fur trader and loyalist during the American Revolutionary War, moved to Upper Canada in 1794, settling near Colchester. The oldest headstone in this cemetery is dated 1803, the year of McCormick's death. In 2010, Essex Town Council designated this cemetery as being of cultural heritage value or interest under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Quick Cemetery is located on Dunn Road between Gore Road and Dunn Road. Among the earliest settlers in the area, the Quicks moved to Colchester in the late 1700s after the family had been abducted from their Kentucky home by Indians and reunited with help from frontiersman Simon Girty. The cemetery is located in the middle of a farm field, giving it limited access. The oldest headstone is dated 1855. In 2010, Essex Town Council designated this cemetery as being of cultural heritage value or interest under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Tofflemire-Snider Cemetery is a quaint little cemetery located on County Road 50 East between Iler Road and Park Street. This cemetery serves as an excellent example of the collaborative efforts between two of the earliest pioneer families: the Tofflemires and the Sniders. John Snider, a Pennsylvania blacksmith, obtained a grant of land near Colchester Village in 1790 and built a house that still stands as the oldest house in Essex County.
Properties of heritage importance are recognized through the heritage designation process. Find out more about some of these cemeteries by visiting our Heritage Tour page.