A local writer does a blog on her website, and she came to the Old Stones cemeteries late last month. I gave her the tour of the three cemeteries, and she has now written a great article about our efforts…
What a great day in Port Maitland –
Thanks to all who came and supported the Old Stones efforts. We raised more money than we had hoped for, and all of it will go toward the restoration, preservation and perpetuation of our three historic cemeteries. People seemed to be having a great deal of fun, and the food was simply incredible.
Thanks to all who donated, who supported us and who gave so freely of their time and money.
The community should be proud of an amazing event!
Bill Curry – Chair, Old Stones
What a great afternoon! An intrepid crew came out to the Calvinist Cemetery this afternoon and probed for missing stones. Working from a list done in the late 1800’s it had become apparent that we have a dozen or so folks buried in the cemetery that we didn’t have markers for. Sometimes in the past markers have been stolen, but often they just fall over and get covered over, since this cemetery was last active in the 1870’s and was the last to be restored in 2004, it wasn’t surprising that some markers might have been just “lost” to us by toppling. Our team probed the likely areas and discovered two new residents! The write-up is now adjusted for the family of Sarah Goudey, who was a known resident, but now we have the markers for her husband John Wellwood Goudey and their daughter Sarah Adelaide Goudey. It turns out John and his daughter Sarah died almost exactly a month apart in 1865 from typhoid fever, and both markers were found next to Sarah’s existing marker. The photos below show the action as we made the discovery, and the write-up for the family is on Old Stones website. Thanks to all those who came out and helped – and now we get to add information to our database.
Potluck Lunch and Auction
Saturday 23 August, 12 Noon (doors open at 11:30 am)
Auction begins at 2 pm
Port Maitland Fire Hall
Some of the best food in Port Maitland appears on plates at the famous potluck events sponsored by Old Stones. Following lunch there will be an auction of wonderful donated items from members of the community. There will be a draw for the raffle of three great items—tickets are on sale now. All proceeds go to support the preservation and maintenance by Old Stones of three historic cemeteries in Beaver River and Port Maitland—Founders, Free Will Baptist and Calvinist Baptist. Admission Free. Donations Welcome.
Tour of the historic Calvinist Baptist Cemetery in Port Maitland
& older gravestones in the Port Maitland/Beaver River Cemetery
followed by a
Strawberry Social in the Port Maitland Fire Hall
Sunday, 13 July, 2 pm. (Tour); 3:30 pm (Social)
Meet at Calvinist Baptist Cemetery, Highway 1, Port Maitland
(there will be someone there to give parking instructions)
Join Wilfred Allan as he takes you on a tour of the graves of the “residents” in the Calvinist Baptist Cemetery, one of the three historic Beaver River and Port Maitland cemeteries maintained by Old Stones. This will be followed by a tour of graves of some of the people buried in the Old Stones cemeteries who were removed to the newer and still active Port Maitland/Beaver River Cemetery across the street.
Following the tour join us at the Port Maitland Fire Hall for some delicious strawberry shortcake.
Sponsored by Old Stones
Rain or Shine. Admission Free for both events. Donations Welcome.
We thought that folks might like to see some of the items up for grabs at our amazing auction and pot luck…(click on any image or description to enlarge or get more details)
Information about the auction and pot luck is just below the prizes as well (date, time, etc.)
See you on Saturday the 24th! Doors open at 5pm, dinner at 6pm auction at 7pm !
- 2 Adirondack Chairs made by George Snow
- Treasure Box made by Alex Blooi
- Shadow Box made by Alex Blooi
- Framed photo by Bill Curry
- One day of painting by John Allan
- Canning starter kit
- Matted photo by Bill Curry
- 2 hours of genealogy assistance by Wilfred Allan
- Framed photo by Peter Boudreau
- Framed Sampler made by Susan Deveau
- 2 18 hole golf rounds & hats
- Ship research by Eric Ruff
- Surprise box
- 2 hours of yard work by John Grant
- 2 hours of gardening by Ruth Kirk
- Bar B Q
- Landscape Painting, painter unknown
- Wooden box for cranberry shaker
- Stereo speakers—were over $1,000 new
- Cranberry shipping box made into bread box
- Wicker Picnic Basket
- 2 Port Maitland Calendars by Phyllis Jayne
- Matted photo by Gerry Curry
- Nova Scotia Flag from Zach Churchill
- 3 course meal for 2 from Sebastian’s catering
- One Hour Guitar Music – Graham Benvie
- $25 gift certificate to Hidden Treasures
- Birthday Party with Sassy the Clown
- Collection of Logo Hats – George’s Truck and Tractor
- Wrought iron candle holder
- Remington Electric Razor
- Antique Fish Shipping Box – Peter Croxall
In 1999, the three cemeteries in Beaver River and Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, Canada lay hidden by alders and other brush that stood over 8 feet tall, rendering the cemeteries as almost forgotten. In that year, a community group was formed, under the leadership of the late Rev. Ulric Dawson, dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of the cemeteries. Recently, the group has expanded its efforts to educating people about the importance of these three historic places. With the assistance of a group of grade 4 students from Port Maitland Elementary School, the Old Stones Society has mapped the three cemeteries using GPS technology, and has created unique QR codes leading users to a website the Society has created.
The over 130 “residents” of the three old cemeteries are mainly descendants of the early founders of Yarmouth County, tracing their family history to Yarmouth township’s beginnings in 1761. As well, more than half of the residents can name at least one passenger on the Mayflower as an ancestor, and almost as many can trace their lineage back to the very earliest English speaking settlers of Nova Scotia. The Old Stones website (www.oldstones.ca) is bound to become a favorite with genealogists and history students alike as the society continues to add information about these earliest families of the area. The project undertaken with the help of the grade 4 students, has resulted in small red-gray bricks being placed in front of every grave marker – and every brick has fixed on it a QR code, a small postage stamp sized graphic which, when read with a smart phone or other Internet enabled device, leads the user to the individual profile for the person who is buried near the brick. While QR code technology is now being used on modern monuments, and can occasionally be seen in historic places to mark certain persons or events of importance, this may be the first time entire cemeteries have been linked by QR technology to an extensive website profiling every single person, and containing information about the area and its history. The students also created a map, accurate to within 3 feet, of the gravesites in the cemeteries which is online at the society’s website.
The Old Stones Society has news, minutes and other information on its website, and hosts events such as strawberry socials and cemetery tours on an annual basis. The society is looking forward to continuing the project – to continuing the maintenance and restoration of the cemeteries and to make more and more people aware of the importance of these three unique places and the history of the people who were buried there.
The full photo show of the Grade 4 QR Code and Mapping project for the Old Stones Society is here !
This morning while the great group from Grade 4 at the Port Maitland School was at the Free Will Baptist Cemetery one of the students, I think it may have been Ashton Potter, asked me, “What was the first burial in the cemetery? What was the oldest grave marker?” I said it was a great question but I didn’t know the answer, so we looked it up on our web site www.oldstones.ca. We found a short history of the cemetery that said the first burial was for a baby who died at the age of 8 months in 1840. Ashton and some friends then went looking for a grave marker that fit that description. They didn’t find it but found the grave of Edward C Nickerson who died at the age of 8 months, not in 1840 but in 1890. The students asked me if that was the marker, I said “No.”
It turns out they were right and I was wrong—very wrong. My mistake is even stated on the descriptive panel at the entrance to the cemetery. It says “The earliest known burial in the Free Will Baptist Cemetery is that of Edward Nickerson (#28) who died 19 May 1840; however, it is probable his remains were moved to this Cemetery after the Church was built about 1852. Well, as the students discovered, Edward died in 1890 and he definitely was not the first burial in the cemetery.
So who was the first person buried in the Free Will Baptist Cemetery? The truth is, “we don’t know.” Thanks to people like the students who were with us this morning we are learning new things every day.
Here’s what we know today, but we may learn something new tomorrow.
Possibly the first burial in the cemetery was that of Charles Edward Perry, who died 29 February 1852 at the age of about 4 months. He was born 23 October 1851. You won’t find a grave marker for him because on 5 Nov 1900 his remains and maybe his grave marker were taken from the Free Will Baptist Cemetery and placed in the Port Maitland-Beaver River Cemetery which at that time was known to many people as Island Cemetery. The same thing happened to a 6 month old child, Anna Maria Perry, who died 16 June 1853.
So whose was the first burial that still may be seen in the cemetery today? We believe there are two possibilities. The first is Isaac K Cann who died 29 August 1855 at the age of 24. He wasn’t married. The second is Jacob Perry who died 3 days later on 1 September 1855 at the age of 28. He was married and his wife Caroline died 35 years later. She is buried next to him.
Thank you students of Port Maitland school for helping us correct our information. Please come back again because there are probably more mistakes to be discovered. Perhaps you’ll help us find an even earlier burial.
22 May 2013