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The Forest Home Cemetery
At the turn of the 20th century when the settlers first came to Ponoka to take up their homesteads, those who died were buried on their farms. In 1900 Mr. August CERVENY Sr., who lived 1 1/2 miles west of the town of Ponoka, donated 2 1/2 acres of land on which to establish a community cemetery. Later a second block of land was purchased from Mr. Cerveny for $5.
An Association was incorporated in July 1901, and chose the name Forest Home Cemetery. The Town of Ponoka administered the purchase of land, surveying, and sale of lots.
In 1947 a Cemetery Association was formed which oversaw the clearing of brush and new sections along with seeding and other u
pkeep.
In 1954, on the 50th anniversary of Ponoka, the Association engaged Mr. Woolgar of Bentley to build an entrance which comprised two gateposts of native rock, as a memorial to the settlers who built the surrounding community. Later a wrought iron arch naming the cemetery was set over the gateway.
In 1956, two additional gates were constructed as a memorial to the settlers who built the Welsh Church east of the town of Ponoka, as the church building had been sold. The gate posts and plaque were erected at a cost of $756.
During the next 10 years, several blocks were opened and landscaped, electricity and an automatic water system were installed. Water lines were laid along the east fence line, and a third set of gates were built and paid for by the Association.
During the year of Canada's centennial (1967), in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Legion's project of rebuilding its Field of Honour, the Association built a Chapel at a cost of $8,500. Much of the funding for this project came from the generous support of the Legion and its Auxiliary. The chapel is still available to the public for graveside services during severe weather.
In 1970 an additional small building was erected at a cost of $1,700 that houses a complete record of graves. The Ladies of Grand Meadow Unifarm labelled the record boards, and compiled the alphabetical lists. They also mail out letters each spring for the annual appeal, to each plot owner and all community groups, as it is their generous donations that enable the Association to continue to plan enhancement projects and perform necessary graveyard upkeep.
The First Burial: Directors of the July 1,1901 Association: In December of 1900, Mrs. Marion BARR died and was buried on Fisher's Hill. Her grave was moved in the spring of 1901 before surveying was completed, and is the only one facing south.
To this day it is marked with the original cedar headboard.
The first grave was dug by Mr. Ed MARTIN on the 11th of January 1901 when Mrs. H. DICK was buried. Mr. C. C. Reed
Mr. W.R. Courtwright
Mr. Henry Dick
Forest Home Cemetery Association Members:
Along with individual members, the Association is comprised of representatives from other community organizations, the most important being the local branch of the Canadian Legion, and the Odd-fellows Lodge. The Stagette Club assisted with recordkeeping and bookwork for several years.
Based on an excerpt from Ponoka Panorama, (1973)

 

 

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Deb's logo... All articles & graphics were developed, compiled or created by D.A. Owens. 1997 - 2003. All Rights Reserved. The information provided is for research purposes only, and it's accuracy is subject to confirmation. Commercial use of this information is prohibited.