Leeds & Grenville GenWeb: Brockville’s Early Cemeteries

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Brockville’s Early Cemeteries

From The Brockville Recorder, 28 May 1937, p 2
Transcribed by Maridel Crawford-Brown

Apropos the excavation for building purposes that is proceeding on the site of the cemetery opened in 1832 off Lewis street to relieve congestion in other burying grounds then existing throughout the town, a correspondent asks where the earlier cemeteries were situated, and if all of the remains resting in them have been removed.

As may be understood from the foregoing remarks, there were a number of cemeteries ante-dating that which has vanished off Lewis street [sic]. Lewis street, its stones having probably been pillaged for the walls of buildings or for use as doorsteps and the bones periodically unearthed having been re-interred in the present cemetery. One of these was adjacent to Wall street church and from it some of the remains were transferred to the Lewis street plot when it was opened more than a century ago. Another lay adjacent to St. Francis Xavier's church, where bones have also been uncovered, while a third was situated in the grounds of the east-end residence of Mrs. G.H. Brooke, between it and King street. There also was a Jones family cemetery (with vault) on a rise of ground off Church street, west of Perth stret [sic], whence all remains were transferred. Victoria Park was, of course, originally the churchyard of St. Peter's church, and there may have been others.

As the development of the community took place and dwellings and other buildings were erected, those with an interest in these plots removed to newer cemeteries the remains of the people with whom they were identified. The other stones remained together with the mortal remains of those they identified.

Thus it is, unknown to the occupants of some houses throughout the town, skeletons of long-forgotten Brockvillians lie underneath gardens or lawns where their existence is discovered only when chance excavation is undertaken. This is particularly true of the Lewis street section where the bodies of many of the poor immigrants who perished in the cholera epidemic of 1832 were buried in pits after their hasty removal from the cholera-sheds of Blockhouse Island.

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