By Robert Washburn
I stood on the sacred ground of my ancestors Monday. After two years, I finally visited the Old Washburn Family Cemetery near Athens, Ontario to see the graves of my family who came to Upper Canada in 1794 to accept a land grant for 1,000-acres.
The site is located just off Washburn Road, near the intersection of County Road 42. The exact location of the lands was Con. 13, lots 1 and 2 in the Rear of Lansdowne Township. At the time, it would have been in Johnston District. Today, it is the municipality of Leeds and the Thousand Islands.
It was a two-and-a half hour drive to the site, going along Highway 401 to the old Highway 15 exit at Kingston. Then, north to Lyndhurst Road (County Road 33) to County Road 42. It was east along County Road 42 for a few minutes until we came to Washburn Road.
Some time ago, I came across a written set of instructions giving the directions. These were not helpful. They refer to a gate located just past the third house on the north side. Well, it no longer exists. So, we drove for a couple of kilometers before we found a gate. When we went looking for the cemetery, obviously, it was not there.
Not to be discouraged, we spoke to homeowners nearby. An elderly gentlemen, who has lived in the area for 40 years, was able to provide better directions.
Next to the third house on the north side of Washburn Road is a field where an old barn was located. Walking to the edge of the clearing, there are three cow paths. The most eastern path (on the far right facing north) is the one to follow. It is full of prickly bushes and high grass. It goes for about 50 metres and then turns down a steep slope. Once the path ends at the meadow at the bottom, the cemetery is located directly north or straight in front. It is bounded by a split rail fence.
It was an incredible day.
View Old Washburn Cemetery (abandoned) in a larger map
No relation but I’m interested in the old abandoned and forgotten Cemeteries. I have quit a few on the Canadian Headstones site. You are probably aware that the Leeds & Grenville OGS recorded all of these stones in 1976 and they also state that the parents of some of the children are buried in the Soperton Cemetery on up the Hwy.
I hope this map helps.
It is deeply disconcerting about the possible missing stones.
Are you interested in cemeteries or the Washburn family?
I too tried to find the Cemetery is summer with the same directions that you had at first followed. I will try to get back there this summer with your directions this time. Did you get any photos? also, did you notice any Stones missing? I heard a rumor this winter that a couple were pulled up and taken, not sure if it’s true or not.