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Old Protestant Burying Ground

For the last few years a group of us have taken The Old Protestant Burying Ground under our wing - with the support of Mayor George MacDonald and City Hall staff. It is the place we use to call the Elm Avenue Cemetery. It's old. The first recorded burial is 1784. It closed in 1873 when it was really full and city residents got very worried about quality of City water and felt all cemeteries should be in the outskirts of town.

Back in the 40's Elsie Cambridge, a lady with strong Island connections came to visit and its seems spent her time at the cemetary creating the most extant list of burial stones that exists. It is from this list, and on site exploring, that fellow board member George Wright has created a fine inventory of burials. Each stone has been photographed and a form made for each. We have also been collecting obituaries from the newspapers. In other words we're putting "the meat on the bones" so to speak.

The site is much improved. Stones have been straightened and many repaired. A number of stones have been recovered from under layers of sod and we have discovered several tombs - those are vaulted ceiled spaces where more than one burial occurred. There were eleven sarcophagi there when Miss Cambridge document the place. We have repaired three or four, but some have been damaged almost beyond repair. The place definitely looks good.

One of the most important issues that the committee has addressed is the establishment of an endowment fund. Already we have $20,000 in the account, but we need enough to assure perpetual care. I think the support of descendants - and a number of historians - has been exceptional so I think we'll succeed on that front, too. On July 31st at 7 o'clock the annual Memorial Service will be held.. Trinity Church is looking after it this year. If you are in the area, drop around .

Written Monday, July 01, 2002 at 01:08 AM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

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