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posted 02 May 2021 07:10     Profile for bossi   Author's Homepage   Email bossi     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Vandals destroy hero's tombstone
Cemetery damage reopens wounds of 1992 destruction of Crysler church

Dave Rogers
The Ottawa Citizen

(photo) - Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen
/ Lorna Armstrong, secretary-treasurer of St. John's Anglican Cemetery in Crysler, sits near the vandalized headstone of Col. John Crysler. 'It is devastating to think someone would do this,' said Mrs. Armstrong, noting the grave marker was smashed into five pieces.

Before he died in 1852, War of 1812 hero Col. John Crysler asked to be buried in St. John's Anglican Cemetery in Crysler, thinking the hill beside the South Nation River would be a quiet place to rest his bones for eternity.

Now the people of the area's Anglican parish are wondering how they can raise more than $5,000 to repair his grave and 56 other headstones smashed by vandals on April 13.

Born in 1770 near Albany, New York, Col. Crysler began his military career as a drummer boy for the British at age 10 during the American Revolution.

As an officer in the Dundas Militia during the War of 1812, Col. Crysler received the
Dundas Medal and 60,000 acres from the British Crown for his role in the Battle of Crysler Farm, the "Battle that Saved Canada" from American invasion.

During the Nov. 11, 1813 battle, 1,200 British regulars, Canadian militia and their aboriginal allies defeated a force of 4,000 American troops attempting to capture Montreal and isolate Upper Canada.

Col. Crysler's militia harried the Americans before the battle, until the British arrived. A battle memorial stands on Col. Crysler's farm on the St. Lawrence River near Upper Canada Village.

At the age of 68 in 1838, Col. Crysler organized a militia force of 300 to defeat the Americans again at the Battle of the Windmill near Prescott.

The vandalism at the cemetery was the second attack Crysler Anglicans have suffered in less than 10 years.

In 1992, two children broke into St. John's Church and smashed everything they could get their hands on.

The damage, estimated at $50,000 to $100,000, was so great the church was demolished in 1993.

The children, aged 7 and 8, smashed the organ, walls and 10 of 18 stained-glass windows and destroyed century-old Bibles, prayer books and communion vessels.

The only relics of the church are a bell in a brick memorial on the site and a stained glass window in storage at Upper Canada Village.

Lorna Armstrong, secretary-treasurer of the cemetery, said yesterday she can't understand why vandals first destroyed the church and then half of the cemetery.

"It is devastating to think someone would do this," Mrs. Armstrong said. "Col. Crysler's headstone was broken into five pieces and it can never be restored the way it was before.

"A relative of mine who raises llamas nearby was checking his fences when he discovered the damage. I think this is a matter of people with not enough to do, not somebody who doesn't like Anglicans."

Rev. Robert Assaly, the Anglican priest of Winchester, Chesterville, South Mountain and Crysler, said rural cemeteries are easy targets.

"With the decline in values and the decline in respect for people, even the dead, there is going to be more of this," Rev. Assaly said. "The church in Crysler was vandalized out of existence.

"John Crysler was a national hero, so we are going to ask various government agencies for help. But with the cuts in recent years, God only knows if we will get any help."

Geoff Chrysler of Ottawa, a descendant of Col. Crysler, gave $1,000 to help restore the cemetery because he felt saddened by the damage to his ancestor's grave. The Jewish Community Council of Ottawa contributed $500.

'With the decline in values and the decline in respect for people, even the dead, there is going to be more of this.'
Rev. Robert Assaly

"The Jewish community has far too often experienced the pain of cemetery vandalism," Council spokesman Mitchell Bellman said. " We know how devastating it is to see to those stones overturned, so we had to help."

The OPP have charged William Travers, 20, and a 17-year-old male who cannot be named with mischief over $5,000. Both have been released on a promise to appear in court in Cornwall on June 4.


Posts: 205 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
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posted 02 May 2021 14:21     Profile for fortuncookie5084   Email fortuncookie5084     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Those kids are just morons. They're in need of some serious, umm... corrective measures, but they'll always be morons. Heck, morons just like them vandalized Terry Fox's tombstone a couple of years ago, too.
Posts: 32 | From: Montreal | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged

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