The pioneer community of Mizpah was established in 1885. The local settlers built a road across the land of William Nelson, between the Fourth Concession of Sinclair Township to link up with the Bobcaygeon Colonization Road. This route was chosen to circumvent the rugged terrain that served as the original right of way. Upon building this road, a location was chosen at the corner of Nelson's land for a burial ground and church. Originally the settlement was called Nelson's Appointment, but once the Methodist Church was completed in 1896, the name of the small hamlet was changed to Mizpah. The church closed in 1907, and the material was re-used in building the Limberlost School in 1933.
Burials in this small cemetery happened between 1884 and 1905, and by 1910 most of the twenty-five families in the area had moved away. The conditions here being far too rough and rugged to survive. The community church was dismantled and moved to another nearby location which acted as a school for some time, then moved again in the 1960's and since highly renovated to become a residence. Apparently this building still stands as the only structure from the ill-fated community of Mizpah.
The cemetery is the final resting place of eleven known souls. A visit here is not like any cemetery you have ever seen. Some remains of a cedar fence, and an elaborate wooden gate mark the beginning of a trail through the forest. Follow this trail up and over and around the rugged terrain, you will come to grave after grave, in no particular order, scattered throughout the pines.
Names of those buried here: (listed alphabetically)
Mary Hall, 1826 - Nov. 17, 1898
William Hall, died Feb. 19, 1895
Bertha Hammel (Hart), died Nov. 29, 1904
Andrew Hart, died Nov. 3, 1895
Herman Hart, died Feb. 17, 1891
S.A. Ada Hart, died Jan. 30, 1898
Thomas Alvin Hart, died Sept. 15, 1886
unknown Indian, died 1884
Dorothy A. McMaster (McGinas), died Mar. 12, 1885
Stanley Nelson, 1883-1895
Mary J. Nelson (Robinson), 1858-1896
There may be other graves unknown in the forest, only these have markers.
Please see the links for a more detailed history.
More History of the area:
The residents of the Mizpah area once belonged to the ill-fated post office community of Antioch. The post office was located on various farms one concession to the south in Sinclair Township (also near to the surveyed Bobcaygeon Rd, which was never actually completed north of the Oxtongue River). North of the ghost town of Millar Hill, this area was very hard to access. Many tried to farm the rough terrain and gave up, heading west, our turning to fur trapping their lands. The postal history link is included in the links below.
Today, the old Bobcaygeon Rd surveyed line (the dividing line between Muskoka and Haliburton) in this part of Sinclair and Franklin Townships has been fully reclaimed by the forest- its former lot clearings impossible to find from the ground or from the air. A view from Google Earth shows nothing but 1000s of acres of forest where former trails and the pioneer bush farms once existed. There are, however, many modern trails that have been cleared by Limberlost.