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Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

HistoryEdit

 
Old Burying Ground

The Old Burying Ground was founded in 1749, the same year as the settlement, as the town's first burial ground. It was originally non-denominational and for several decades was the only burial place for all Haligonians. (The burial ground was also used by St. Matthew's United Church). In 1793 it was turned over to the Anglican St. Paul's Church. The cemetery was closed in 1844 and the Camp Hill Cemetery established for subsequent burials. The site steadily declined until the 1980s when it was restored and refurbished by the Old Burying Ground Foundation, which now maintains the site and employ tour guides to interpret the site in the summer. Ongoing restoration of the rare 18th century grave markers continues.

Over the decades some 12,000 people were interred in the Old Burial Ground. Today there are about 1,200 headstones, some having been lost and many others being buried with no headstone. Many notable residents are buried in the cemetery, including British Major General Robert Ross, who led the successful Washington Raid of 1814 and burned the White House before being killed in battle at Baltimore a few days later.

Commanders of three of the ships that served Governor Edward Cornwallis buried crew in unmarked graves: HMS Sphynx (1 crew), HMS Baltimore (1 crew) and HMS Albany (6 crew). HMS Sphynx was Cornwallis' own ship and the crew member was buried on the day his ship arrived in Halifax on 21 June 1749. HMS Albany was a 14-gun sloop commanded by Nova Scotia's senior naval officer, John Rous (1749–1753).[1]

There are four recorded Mi'kmaq buried in the burial ground, including a Mi'kmaw Chief Francis [Muir?].[2] There was also a "protestant indian" named John Tray, possibly from John Gorham's rangers.[3]

There are also 167 recorded Blacks buried in the graveyard, all with unmarked graves. (There is a grave marker, however, of the Huntingdonian Missionary who taught at the first school for Black students in Halifax, Reverend William Furmage.) Blacks arrived with New England Planters. During the arrival of the Planters, there were 54 Blacks in Halifax. 7 Blacks were buried in the cemetery from 1763–1775.[4] Black Nova Scotians also arrived in Halifax with Boston Loyalists after the evacuation of Boston in 1776. During this period, 18 Blacks were buried in the cemetery (1776–1782). Seventy-three free Black Nova Scotians (and no slaves) also arrived in Halifax with the New York Loyalists after evacuation from New York in 1783. Of the 73 Blacks who arrived from New York, there were 4 burials that happened during this time period. Rev. John Breynton reported that in 1783 he baptized 40 Blacks and buried many because of disease.[5] Between the years 1792–1817 there are no recorded burials of Black Nova Scotians. The largest number of burials happen in the 1820s (72 graves), presumably the graves of the 155 Black Refugees who arrived in Halifax during the War of 1812.[6][7]

The last erected and most prominent burial marker is the Welsford-Parker Monument, a Triumphal arch standing at the entrance to the cemetery commemorating British victory in the Crimean War. This is the first public monument built in Nova Scotia and is the fourth oldest war monument in Canada. It is also the only monument to the Crimean War in North America. The arch was built in 1860, 16 years after the cemetery had officially closed. The arch was built by George Lang and is named after two Haligonians, Major Augustus Frederick Welsford and Captain William Buck Carthew Augustus Parker. Both Nova Scotians died in the Battle of the Great Redan during the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855). This monument was the last grave marker in the cemetery.

In 1938, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts presented and dedicated a granite monument to Erasmus James Philipps, who is the earliest known settler of Nova Scotia (c. 1721) who was buried in the cemetery. He was also the founder of Freemasonry in present-day Canada (1737).[8]

The Old Burying Ground was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1991.[9] It had earlier been designated a Provincially Registered Property in 1988 under Nova Scotia's Heritage Property Act.[10]

Prominent tombstonesEdit

Notable intermentsEdit

Founding of Halifax (1749–1776)Edit

Siege of Louisbourg (1745)Edit

Many of those who first established Halifax arrived from Cape Breton, which the British of New England occupied since their Siege of Louisbourg (1745). The following participated in the Siege:

American RevolutionEdit

Military figuresEdit

Boston LoyalistsEdit

The following were Loyalist refugees who settled in Halifax after they were banished from New York and Massachusetts. While most Loyalist came to the region from New York (over 66%), most of the Loyalists buried with grave markers are from Boston.[50] Reflective of the fate of many of the Loyalists, the grave of Edward Winslow (scholar) is inscribed: "his fortune suffered shipwreck in the storm of civil war." Part of the devastation of the war resulted from American family members having to choose sides. For example, the story of one American patriot listed below, Benjamin Kent. While in Boston he imprisoned his son-in-law Sampson Salter Blowers for being a Loyalist. Blowers and the rest of Kent's family (including his wife) escaped to Halifax (1776). After the war, Kent eventually moved to Halifax to be with his family, which included Chief Justice Blowers (1885). Both Blowers and Kent are buried in the Old Burying Ground.

Boston PatriotEdit

New York LoyalistsEdit

French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802)Edit

During the French Revolutionary Wars, Prince Edward was stationed in Halifax and personally commemorated four military personnel who died while on duty in Halifax.

Prince Edward CommemorationsEdit

OtherEdit

Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815)Edit

Battle of TrafalgarEdit

Peninsular WarEdit

War of 1812Edit

PrivateersEdit
  • Captain Benjamin Ellenwood, died 1815, murdered
  • Captain Ebenezer Herrington, died 1812, HMS Chub, friendly fire[130]

Battle of WaterlooEdit

Military Officers (1816–1844)Edit

OtherEdit

Sculptor James HayEdit

 
James Hay carving of Mary Bulkeley Grave. Old Burying Ground, Halifax, Nova Scotia
 
Mary Bulkeley's Grave, Gabriel, Old Burying Ground, Halifax, Nova Scotia

There are various gravestones by stone carvers from London and the local region. Museum curator Deborah Trask asserts that one of the first stone sculptors, James Hay (1750–1842), likely made the gravestone of Richard Bulkeley's wife Mary. On one side Hay carved the angel Gabriel trumpeting, symbolic of the resurrection. The religious text: "In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor. 15:52). (The trumpeting motive is also on the gravestone of the Lawson children). On the opposite side of the gravestone is an image in the garden of Eden. The religious text: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22). The image is taken from "The Child's Guide" (London, 1725).[160][161][162]

Depictions in mediaEdit

In Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of the Island, Anne moves to Kingsport (Halifax, Nova Scotia) on the mainland and enrols at Redmond (Dalhousie University).[163] She takes lodgings in an apartment that looks out over "Old St. John's Cemetery" – the Old Burying Ground:

They went in by the entrance gates, past the simple, massive, stone arch surmounted by the great lion of England.... They found themselves in a dim, cool, green place where winds were fond of purring. Up and down the long grassy aisles they wandered, reading the quaint, voluminous epitaphs, carved in an age that had more leisure than our own.[163]

The text goes into some depth about the gravestone carvings and styles:

Every citizen of Kingsport feels a thrill of possessive pride in Old St. John’s, for, if he be of any pretensions at all, he has an ancestor buried there, with a queer, crooked slab at his head, or else sprawling protectively over the grave, on which all the main facts of his history are recorded. For the most part no great art or skill was lavished on those old tombstones. The larger number are of roughly chiselled brown or gray native stone, and only in a few cases is there any attempt at ornamentation. Some are adorned with skull and cross-bones, and this grizzly decoration is frequently coupled with a cherub’s head. Many are prostrate and in ruins. Into almost all Time’s tooth has been gnawing, until some inscriptions have been completely effaced, and others can only be deciphered with difficulty. The graveyard is very full and very bowery, for it is surrounded and intersected by rows of elms and willows, beneath whose shade the sleepers must lie very dreamlessly, forever crooned to by the winds and leaves over them, and quite undisturbed by the clamor of traffic just beyond.[163]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Burials until 1799
  2. ^ St. Paul's Cemetery/ Old Burial Ground records (as transcribed in the Death, Burials & Probate of Nova Scotians)
  3. ^ "View of Raising the Dead: The Use of Osteo-Archaeology to Establish Identity at the Little Dutch Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia | Material Culture Review". journals.lib.unb.ca.
  4. ^ 1763 Census indicates 54 Blacks in Nova Scotia.
  5. ^ "Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society". Halifax, Nova Scotia Historical Society. September 9, 1880 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ St. Paul's Cemetery/ Old Burial Ground records (as transcribed in the Death, Burials & Probate of Nova Scotians
  7. ^ C. B. Fergusson, "A Documentary Study of the Establishment of the Negroes in Nova Scotia Between the War of 1812 and the Winning of Responsible Government, "Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Publication no. 8,1948, p. 1.
  8. ^ "Erasmus J. Philipps". skirret.com.
  9. ^ Old Burying Ground National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  10. ^ Old Burying Ground. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Acadiensis; a quarterly devoted to the interests of the maritime provinces of Canada". p. 74. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  12. ^ a b Bromley, J.; Bromley, D. (2015). Wellington's Men Remembered Volume 2: A Register of Memorials to Soldiers who Fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo- Volume II: M to Z. 2. Pen & Sword Books Limited. p. 296. ISBN 978-1-4738-5769-8. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  13. ^ Holder, Jean. Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1749–1768. St. Paul's Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia. Halifax, 1983, p. 30
  14. ^ A sermon occasioned by the death of the Honorable Abigail Belcher, late consort of Jonathan Belcher, esq . . . delivered at Halifax . . . October 20, 1771 (Boston, Mass., 1772);
  15. ^ Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society. Halifax. 1878.
  16. ^ "Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society Vol. 1, p. 44". Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  17. ^ The location of both Charles Morris and Richard Bulkeley are unknown. Both Charles Morris and Richard Bulkeley have wives buried in the burial ground but they are not. Given the stature of both men, if they had tombstones, they would have been prominent. They both have a hatchment in the church. Given that everyone else who has a hatchment is buried in the church, the assumption is made Morris and Bulkeley are buried in the church. While a display inside the St. Paul's Church (Halifax) states that Bulkeley is buried in the crypt, according to J. Philip McAleer, author of A pictorial history of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia, the evidence that Bulkeley was buried in the church is circumstantial. This circumstantial evidence rests on the fact that he helped establish the church and was an active member in it for 51 years. Also Bulkeley is reported to have had the largest funeral ceremony ever to be in Halifax up to that date. Further, his wife Mary Rous has a headstone in the St Paul's Church Cemetery, while Bulkeley does not. Rev Hill, however reports that Bulkeley's grave is marked by a rude stone in St. Paul's Church cemetery, presumably close to the gravestone of his wife Mary Rous. (See Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, Vol. 2, p. 69)
  18. ^ a b "Julien Gwyn. Female Litigants before the Civil Courts of Nova Scotia, p. 341".
  19. ^ a b c St. Paul Cemetery Burial Records
  20. ^ (Signed at Halifax, 9 November 1761, by Jonathan Belcher, President of His Majesty's Council and Francis Muis, Chief of the La Have and witnessed by "P. Maillard, Priest missionnary of indians." (See Treaty
  21. ^ NSARM RG-1, v. 188, "August 22, Nova Scotia Council Minutes" pp. 406–07, in Donald Marshall Jr. Defence Document Books, vol. 6, doc. 152; NSARM, RG-1 v. 430, doc. 21, sigogne to Sherbrooke, 1812-05-09", p.2 in R v. Donald Marshall Jr. Defence Document Books, vol. 8, doc 212
  22. ^ Another possibility is Chief Francis Alexis who is referenced in a 1771 document. A Chief Francis Jeremiah also signed the 1752 Treaty.
  23. ^ The Mi'kmaq Nation and the Embodiment of Political Ideologies. SMU thesis.
  24. ^ See the Nova Scotia Chronicle and Weekly Advertiser and Halifax Journal. Feb. 1781 (mic 7013)
  25. ^ Letter from Sigogne to John Cope Sherbrooke regarding Muis-Belcher Treaty, Maillard, the Mi'kmaq "Peace-Dance and ceremony of burying of war weapons"
  26. ^ "Keith Mercer" (PDF).
  27. ^ The Whitehall Evening Post Or London Intelligencer: 1755. 18. Jan. - 1. Jan. 1756. 1755. p. 2.
  28. ^ The gentleman's magazine. 1755. p. 333.
  29. ^ Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History (2004). The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754–2004: From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle. University of Toronto Press. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-8020-8021-9.
  30. ^ A sermon, occasioned by the death of Mrs. Margaret Green; consort of the late Honourable Benjamin Green, esq; delivered at Halifax, in the province of Nova-Scotia, February 1st, 1778 (Halifax, [1778?]).
  31. ^ Jones, E. Alfred (1930). The loyalists of Massachusetts;their memorials, petitions and claims. London. p. 264.
  32. ^ Sabine, Lorenzo (2009). Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. Applewood Books. pp. 320–321. ISBN 978-1-4290-1953-8.
  33. ^ "Letter from David Phips to Colonel Jonathan Snelling regarding escort of Governor Hutchinson to Harvard Commencement, 1773 July 12 · Colonial North America Project at Harvard". colonialnorthamerica.library.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  34. ^ Chapin, Howard M. (1928). Privateering in King Georges̕ War, 1739–1748. E.A. Johnson Company. p. 86.
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  61. ^ Father of Edward Winslow (loyalist) who was one of the founders of New Brunswick; his former home now belongs to the Mayflower House Museum
  62. ^ Winslow's tombstone is inscribed in part "his fortune suffered shipwreck in the storm of civil war", the "civil war" being the American Revolution, American Patriots fighting American Loyalists.
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  71. ^ grandchild of Mass. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson (governor); son Hon Foster Hutchinson Sr. died 1799; decedent of Anne Hutchinson
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