Tag Archives: cemetery

Cemeteries in St. John’s

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

July 3, 1859

Angel writing in the book of life.

Angel writing in the book of life.

On July 3, 1859  Bishop John Thomas Mullock, the Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland consecrated Mount Carmel Cemetery, located near Quidi Vidi Lake. Bishop Mullock wrote in his diary on this day:

“ Today I consecrated the cemetery at Quidi Vidi. Thousands were present. The weather awfully hot.  Temperature 84 degrees in the shade.”

All churches at the time had their eye on land “on the outskirts of the town  that could be developed into cemeteries.

In July 1849 Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming purchased ten acres of land adjoining John Dowsley’s property on the road to Bally Haly Farm, at the top of Kennas Hill, for the purpose of a cemetery. He joined the two lots and made one large burial ground known as Mount Carmel Cemetery.

Tradition has it that Mount Carmel was “the fishermen’s cemetery” as opposed to Belvedere Cemetery (on Bonaventure Ave. and Newtown Road). Belvedere was traditionally seen as the cemetery for the more well to do citizens and only “available to those that purchased sites.”

Up to the year 1849 all burials for all denominations were made in the town’s cemeteries.  The Roman Catholic’s buried their dead in the Long’s Hill Cemetery located on what is now the site near the parking lot of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (The Kirk), on Long’s Hill, St. John’s.

Unfortunately the internments records for the Long’s Hill Cemetery were lost in the Great Fire 1846.

The Church of England Cemetery  was in the church yard of the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist which borders on Duckworth Street, Church Hill, Cathedral Street and Gower Street. It is estimated that there are about 6000 people buried there.

The Wesleyan Cemetery was on the corner of Gower and Queen’s Road.

Many of the internment records for Mount Carmel cemetery – ‘the fishermen’s cemetery’ have survived – some were lost or damaged but in the 1980’s the cemetery was reconstructed using information recorded on the headstones that were erected by individual families.

Today Mount Carmel cemetery is closed to internments, with some exceptions being made for families with existing plots.

2016 St. John’s Cemetery Schedule

Mount Pleasant Monday, July 4th 7:00 pm

Kilbride Tuesday, July 5th 7:00 pm

Mount Carmel Tuesday, July 12th 7:00 pm

Kenmount Road Wednesday, July 13th 7:00 pm

General Protestant Monday, July 18th 7:00 pm

Belvedere Tuesday, July 19th 7:00pm

Forest Road Wednesday, July 20th 7:00pm

Holy Sepulchre Tuesday, July 26th 7:00pm

Salvation Army Sunday, August 7th 3:00 pm

Chinese Community Sunday, August 7th 1:00 pm

Recommended Archival Collection:  All of the churches have established archives that hold detailed records that will help you locate the grave site of a loved one buried in the cemeteries in this province.

The Long’s Hill Cemetery – A Silent City

The Long’s Hill Cemetery – A Silent City

Long's Hill Cemtery, St. John's (1810 - 1849)

Long’s Hill Cemtery, St. John’s (1810 – 1849)

In 1849 legislation was introduced in the Colony of Newfoundland closing all cemeteries in St. John’s, including the cemetery for the Roman Catholic’s on Long’s Hill that was opened in 1811.   What happened to the Long’s Hill Cemetery? What was St. John’s like between 1810 -1849?

Larry Dohey, Manager of Collections and Projects at the Rooms Provincial Archives will discuss the history of the cemetery, using archival documents, in a presentation Tuesday,  24 November 2015 at 7:30pm

Location: Hampton Hall at the Marine Institute .

Please forward to family and friends who may be interested.

 

A letter from London: Remembrance Day, 2015

Wandsworth Cemetery, London is home to the graves of 18 Newfoundlanders.

Wandsworth Cemetery, London is home to the graves of 18 Newfoundlanders.

How children at an English elementary school came to care for 18 Newfoundland graves. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment plot sits near the heart of the Wandsworth cemetery in London, England, not far from the Australians and the New Zealanders. Seventeen young men and one woman from Newfoundland lie buried here.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/ted-blades-letter-from-london-1.3311124

“The last livyer of Red Island, Placentia Bay”

 

Archival Moment

“I  did not want her to be left alone.”

September 12, 2013

Jimmy Corrigan (far right)  is going home to Red Island.

Jimmy Corrigan (far right) is going home to Red Island.

James “Jimmy” Corrigan, age 80 years went home to Red Island, Placentia Bay for the final time  on September 12, 2013.  “Jimmy” who died on September 9  asked that he be returned to his beloved Island home to be buried next to his mother.

Jimmy told friends that he wanted to be buried home on Red Island to “keep company” with his mother Mary (nee Barry) Corrigan who was buried there many years ago. He told friends,  “I  did not want her to be left alone.”

Red island is one of the many Islands in Placentia Bay that were part of the resettlement program in Newfoundland in the 1960’s. The program saw families move from isolated, often island communities, to what the provincial government called growth centers.  Families began moving from Red Island in 1966 and by the fall of 1968 it was practically deserted.

He has gone home to his beloved Red Island

He has gone home to his beloved Red Island

Jimmy Corrigan resisted the move. He held title to his land and the right to prosecute the fishery from his fishing premises. To subsidize his income he maintained a small herd of sheep. He was the unofficial keeper of the island, including the guardian of the cemetery where he was buried.

In 1992 with the introduction cod moratorium he became the last livyer on Red Island.

He continued to return to Red Island for most of the summer and part of the fall until 2010 when he was diagnosed with cancer. Since 2010 his deteriorating health allowed him to make  only occasional short visits.

His burial in the cemetery on Red Island  was the the the first since 1968. Many residents of the Placenta area say he will be the last to be buried there.

Immediately following the mass of Christian burial at Sacred Heart Church, Placentia family and friends gathered to take him home. Dominic and Doreen (Dohey) Traverse lead a procession to the public wharf where he was placed in a fishing boat.

Five vessels joined the flotilla carrying approximately 130 friends to bring Jimmy back home to Red Island.

“So, tonight the west moon hangs over the harbour,

Shines down ‘cross the headland and out ‘cross the bay,

Shines down through the trees and rests on the graveyard,

As if lookin’ for the souls of the ones moved away.”

Recommended Museum Exhibit: The Rooms Provincial Museum Division, Here, We Made a Home: The Elinor Gill Ratcliffe Gallery, Level 4.  One of the exhibit cases focuses on the official Resettlement Program of the province using artifacts and photographs.

Recommended Song: West Moon : Recorded by Pat Byrne (Towards The Sunset / Pat and Joe Byrne with Baxter Wareham 1983, Pigeon Inlet Productions, St. John’s, NL. http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/01/west.htm

Recommended Reading: West Moon by All Pittman.  Breakwater Books, 1995 – Drama – 63 pages.  West Moon is set in Newfoundland during the time of resettlement in the mid-1960s. Though the play explores some serious social, political, moral, and theological themes, it does so with a unique blend of pathos and humor. Though the characters are dead and subject to different degrees of despair, they come vigorously alive as we meet them, for a brief while, within the confines of their mortality.

Obituary:

Corrigan, James Joseph – Dec 5, 1932 – Sept 9, 2013, Age 80 years. Passed away at the Placentia Health Care Center, surround by love on Sept 9, 2013, Jimmy Corrigan formerly of Red Island, Placentia Bay. Predeceased by his father John, mother Mary (nee Barry), brother- in- law Tom Cheeseman, and nephew Gerard Cheeseman. Left with precious memories are his beautiful sister Elizabeth and her children Terry, Doris (Bill Carroll), Diane (Ron Brewer), Willis and Norman Cheeseman and their families, also cherished by his other family Dominic and Doreen Traverse, and their children Peter and Christopher, where he resided and was loved. Also heartbroken are his special friends Nick Traverse (Janet Jones) , all of the Traverse family and a large circle of friends, too many to mention. Waking at Coombs Funeral Home, Placentia on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 – 9:00, Mass of Christian Burial to take place on Thursday September 12, 2013 at Sacred Heart Church, Placentia at 10:00 a.m. Flowers gratefully accepted or donations may be made in his memory to the Sacred Heart Church Repair Fund.

 

“The gravestones of the deceased are daily violated”

Archival Moment

July 4, 1848

Entrance to Belvedere Cemetery, St. John's.

Entrance to Belvedere Cemetery, St. John’s.

It was on July 4, 1848 that many of the citizens of the town of St. John’s were walking to the “outskirts of the town” to witness the blessing of new cemetery for the Roman Catholics.  Many attending the service were unhappy that their loved one’s would be interred so far out in the country.

Bishop John Thomas Mullock, the Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland wrote in his diary on July 4, 1848:

“Consecrated the cemetery at Belvedere … multitude present. High Mass afterwards in the Mortuary Chapel of All Saints.”

The leaders of all the churches in St. John’s had been given notice that the local government  was not happy with internments in the town of St. John’s and that they would have to seek burial ground further away from the livyers.

Up until 1849 all burials for all denominations were made in the town’s cemeteries. The Roman Catholic’s buried their dead in the Long’s Hill Cemetery located near what is now the site of the parking lot of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (The Kirk). The Church of England Cemetery was in the church yard of the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist which borders on Duckworth Street, Church Hill, Cathedral Street and Gower Street.  The Wesleyan Cemetery was on the corner of Gower Street and Queen’s Road.

Discontent about the state of cemeteries within the boundary of the town of St. John’s began to surface shortly after the great fire of June 1846.

One of the effects of the Great Fire was reported in the Journal of the House of Assembly on July 14, 1846. The report stated:

 “Troops of starving dogs, infesting the town have become dangerous as well as to the living as to the dead; they have commenced desecrating the tombs of the cemetery …. And may be seen gnawing the bones of those who have been buried …. Pigs and goats infest in great numbers …. And the gravestones and monuments of the deceased are daily violated.”

One of the results of the Great Fire of 1846 was that all fencing and enclosures for farm animals had been destroyed by the fire allowing the farm animals including the goats and pigs to wonder about the town. Their favorite place to feed and graze was in the ‘downtown’ cemeteries.

On July 15, 1849 a Proclamation was issued by Governor, Sir J. Gaspard LeMarchant “forbidding any more burials within the city limits.”  The Governor was responding to the fears of town residents that epidemics such as cholera and typhus were resulting from the internment of the dead in the town. The argument was that as bodies of the newly interred decomposed in the town cemeteries, their diseases were seeping into the wells that were the source of the water supply for town.

Governor, Sir J, Gaspard LeMarchant argued:

 “as a very obvious method of improving the sanitary conditions of this town, I recommend having an act passed prohibiting  any internments in the limits of this town…. “

To get some indication as to how St. John’s has grown one only has to consider that the Belvedere property that our ancestors were walking to for the blessing of the cemetery in 1849  is now known as Belvedere Cemetery and is located between Bonaventure Avenue and Newtown Road.

It is no longer on the “outskirts of the town” no longer “in the country”.

(Note to Researchers:  The Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in the 1980’s reconstructed lost registers that recorded plot interment locations by doing an inventory of the  Belvedere Cemetery based on information recorded on headstones. Many headstones since the 1980’s have been destroyed because of vandalism or age.  This inventory is the best to consult if you think one of your ancestors was buried in Belvedere Cemetery. )

 2013 St. John’s Cemetery Schedule

For flower services and or Liturgical Services.

 Mount Pleasant Cemetery            Monday July 8th                 7:00pm

Kilbride Cemetery                            Tuesday July 9th                7:00pm

Kenmount Road Cemetery             Wednesday July 10th         7:30pm

 Mount Carmel Cemetery               Tuesday July 16th              7:00pm

 Forest Road Cemetery                   Wednesday July 17th         7:30pm

 General Protestant Cemetery    Monday July 22nd              7:00pm

Belvedere Cemetery                       Tuesday July 23rd              7:00pm

 St. Kevin’s Cemetery                      Wednesday July 24th         7:00pm

 St. Joseph’s Cemetery                    Thursday July 25th             7:00pm

 Holy Sepulcher Cemetery              Tuesday July 30th              7:00pm

 Salvation Army Cemetery              Sunday August 4th             3:00pm

 Chinese Cemetery                           Sunday August 11th           1:00pm

 Recommended Archival Collection:  All of the churches have established archives that hold detailed records that will help you locate the grave site of a loved one buried in the cemeteries in this province