Who Lies in the Crypt

Burlington Gazette - History by Helen Langford

Who Lies in the Crypt
Tues., May 23, 1978

Who built the crypt near the north east corner of Guelph Line and Dundas Street? Caleb Hopkins in the answer.

On an 1855 maps, the crypt is called the "Hopkins Burial Crypt." Caleb Hopkins, who came to Upper Canada as a teenager, settled on this corner where he farmed and planned a prosperous village which he named Hannahsville for his wife Hannah Green (of Grimsby). Caleb operated a stagecoach office for the run between Waterdown and Trafalgar Road. In 1828, he ran as a Liberal for the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, successfully unseating the neighbour, William Chisholm.

Halton County in 1820 was much larger than today. It was made up of thirteen townships including both East and West Flamborough, Dumfries, Waterloo, Woolwich, Nichol. By 1831 the county had eighteen townships as far afield as Beverly and Guelph. We were allowed two seats in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada at York (Toronto). These two representatives by 1840 covered 1,622 square miles, an area extending from Orangeville to Arthur, to Paris and Dundas. It was not until 1852 that Halton was reduced to its present size and four townships.

Caleb Hopkins represented East Halton almost constantly (except for two sessions) from 1828 until he resigned in 1846. Politics was a serious business to everyone in this period. Neighbours of different politics were enemies - a difficult position in a small community especially when neighbour William Chisholm, was Caleb's opposition, on several occasions.

Caleb was one of the organizers of the Reform party and a great collaborator of Egerton Ryerson. After his retirement in 1846, Caleb, with Dr. John Rolph, formed an offshoot of the Reform Party called the Clear Grits. Their slogan was, "All sand, no dirt, clear grit all the way through."

When a particularly bitter batter loomed in the 1854 election, Caleb was asked again to run for the Reformers. At 67 years, he first consented but then withdrew to retire from all politics.

Hopkins spent his remaining years with various children in Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton. He died in Hamilton (1880) and was buried in the Necropolis, a cemetery on the Don River in Toronto. 

I wonder who lies buried in the Hopkins crypt.

(Caleb Hopkins Research by Mary Fraser)

Source: Langford, Helen. Burlington Gazette [Ontario], 23 May 1978. Microfilm. Burlington Public Library - Central Branch. Reel No Missing.