Tag Archives: Mount Carmel

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 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