Chapter 5: A Pioneer Cemetery

~ Gone…but not Forgotten ~

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In Memory of Sarah                                                                                 Photo:  ELR

“Many a fervid man writes books as cold and flat as graveyard stones.”
                                                                       …. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If I were not watching closely, I would have missed the signpost pointing to this quaint little pioneer graveyard. Nestled behind bracken, weeds, and overgrown shrubs, on the north shore of P.E.I., St. Margaret of Scotland Pioneer Cemetery quietly stands. At one time it had been lovingly tended, as there are scarcely any weeds around the grave stones of all sizes and descriptions. These grave markers from yesteryear tell a myriad of stories.

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In Memory of John McIntosh  Photo:  ELR

A large stone marker bears not only the vital statistics of the deceased, but also a description of his accomplishments. The engraving detailed the deceased’s longevity. In memory of John McIntosh, died Dec 14 1881; Age 92 years; Margaret McDonald, his beloved wife died Jan 15, 1884; Age 100 years; Reqiuescant in Peace.

Engraved below the vital statistics, a small vignette proudly proclaims:
“He was for several years a member of Parliament and one of the pioneers of responsible government.”

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In Memory of Margaret                   Photo:  ELR

The graveyard’s stone markers had not fared well over the last century. In dire need of care, with some of the headstones tipping precariously close to the ground, I part the low lying scrub to view the simple memoriam inscribed on a headstone, almost totally obscured by the ground which seemed to be swallowing it whole.
The vital statistics were no longer visible (if they ever were) as well as the surname. I was intrigued by the lone inscription;“In memory of MARGARET”
A crucifix, with a sheep in repose is carved inside an engraved heart. Roses lovingly adorn the uppermost corners, and in spite of the absence of any other information, the message is clear; “Margaret” was loved.

Some of the grave markers were very grand.  There was a marked and vast difference between some of the simpler markers and the tall stately granite stones.  Some granite markers were flush with the ground and the grass, moss and bracken appear to obliterate them completely.

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A stately tombstone:  In Memory of Peter Angus MacPhee; Died Jan. 10 1868 Photo: ELR

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A humble and endearing granite marker flush with the ground…for a Mother Flora and her Son Hugh.                                                                                                                       Photo:  ELR

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Moss grows on this Sandstone marker engraved for Sarah McGillvray.

My visit to St. Margaret’s little pioneer cemetery was on a hot summer day. There was scarcely a sound, other than the occasional bee or insect buzzing around. Sitting on the hard weathered ground, I experienced a communion of sorts, with the souls buried beneath this hallowed ground.

“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”                                                                            …William Shakespeare

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In Memory of Angus McDonald                                                     Photo:  ELR

[A restoration project was completed on this cemetery since this post was written. For more information visit the site: www.peipioneercemetery.com

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