The Old Beaver River and Port Maitland Cemeteries Preservation Society was formed in 1999 with a mission to restore three neglected cemeteries which had been abandoned for decades. It began with a letter from Linda Campbell, when she wrote to churches in the area asking if they would be interested in helping with the restoration of the cemeteries. The late Rev. Ulric Dawson, pastor of the Cedar Lake Baptist Church responded and became the Society’s first president. Since then it has become a matter of community pride, historic relevance and genealogical importance that the restoration be completed and the maintenance continue.
The Founders Cemetery, the Free Will Baptist Cemetery and the Calvinist Baptist Cemetery were recently designated as Registered Heritage Properties of the Municipality. In September 2007 heritage plaques were unveiled; a path between two of the cemeteries (complete with a small bridge) was opened; and the planting of a tree in memory of the late Marjorie Snow, one of the Society’s workers, was recognized. The cemeteries are part of the Nova Scotia Historic Places Initiative.
While the Founders Cemetery was the first cemetery in the area—all three cemeteries hold graves of early settlers, young and old. Restoration work entailed removing brush; placing stones upright, often with new bases; and preparing the grounds for mowing. Signs were erected at each site identifying the cemeteries, the location of the Free Will Baptist Church, and the walking path. The cemeteries are all on Highway 1 in Beaver River and Port Maitland.
The Society usually holds two fund raising events a year to ensure the cemeteries will be maintained in the future.
The Board of the Old Beaver River and Port Maitland Preservation Society meets regularly, and is dedicated to the restoration, preservation and improvement of the cemeteries and people’s understanding of the importance of these properties to our collective understanding of history.
Seated clockwise, beginning lower left: Lew Outhouse, Hazel Stos, Nancy Curry, Brian Johnson, Elsie Outhouse, Ronald Outhouse, Diane Rose, Hazel Trask, Bev Outhouse, Ann Sorensen, George Snow. Standing, l to r: Bill Curry, Wilfred Allan, Leane Sweeney, Marilyn Ellis.
Board members missing: Linda Campbell, Linda Hodgson, Geoff Hodgson