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McCall-Fairchild Burying Grounds Video Commentary
by John Cardiff

Jemima Fairchild, 29, first wife of Duncan McCall, died in 1798. She was buried on the McCall homestead northwest of Vittoria in Charlotteville Township, just above the north bank of Young's Creek, in what would become the final resting place of dozens of family members, and one of Norfolk's oldest cemeteries. Local lore records Jemima the first white woman to die in Charlotteville.

Unsigned, still on private property, and arguably the hardest local cemetery to find, McCall- Fairchild Burying Grounds has endured many changes since its last interment in 1868. 

It was ignored then restored, over and over again during the 20th century. Fences have come and gone. Fallen stones have been re-erected, not always in their original place. Original stones have crumbled away and/or have been removed. Later day memorial stones for some, whose original stones do not survive, have been added by well-meaning but not always well-informed family members.

Jemima Fairchild's aunt, brother and sister-in-law were buried here, as were several of her nieces and nephews. Duncan McCall's parents are believed buried here, although no stone for either survives. So were most of Duncan's siblings and several of their spouses and descendants, although several of their stones are now missing. 

Family records still in private hands reveal a 1927 subscription drive to raise funds for cemetery repairs, and a similar effort about 20 years later. Comparing this video to photos taken a decade before reveals a third, more recent attempt to spruce up these grounds.

As is the case in many historic cemeteries, readability of surviving stones varies greatly. Although over a dozen of the stones can be transcribed by pausing the playback of our video when appropriate, our video is meant only as an overview of the cemetery itself, not as an alternative resource to cemetery stone transcriptions.

When it comes to cemetery transcriptions, older is frequently better. Volunteer transcribers from the Norfolk Historical Society transcribed this cemetery in the mid-1960s. NHS curator William Yeager with the aid of Mary Gene (McCall) Middleton and others compiled a 1978 transcription that is available for sale at the Norfolk Heritage Centre (

The Norfolk Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society subsequently transcribed this cemetery approximately a decade later. Their transcription is available for sale from their web site: Ontario Genealogy Society/Norfolk Branch. (See their "Published Resources" web page.)

Our videos are merely sneak peeks -- not exhaustive treatments -- of their subject. Hopefully they will provide a touch of perspective for those who live at a distance until they can visit.

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Copyright 2006-2008 John Cardiff