Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

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Old Burying Ground
Welsford-Parker Monument at the entrance to the Old Burying Ground in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.jpg
Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia) is located in Nova Scotia
Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Nova Scotia
Established 1749
Location Halifax, Nova Scotia
Country Canada
Coordinates 44°38′36″N 63°34′22″W / 44.6434°N 63.5728°W / 44.6434; -63.5728Coordinates: 44°38′36″N 63°34′22″W / 44.6434°N 63.5728°W / 44.6434; -63.5728
Type Closed
Owned by St. Paul's Church (Halifax)
Number of graves 12,000+
Official name Old Burying Ground National Historic Site of Canada
Designated 1991
Type Provincially Registered Property
Designated 1988

The Old Burying Ground (also known as St. Paul's Church Cemetery) is a historic cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is located at the intersection of Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road in Downtown Halifax.


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 (Halifax).) 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 only some 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.

The most prominent structure 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 second oldest war monument in Canada and 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.

The Old Burying Ground was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1991.[1] It had earlier been designated a Provincially Registered Property in 1988 under Nova Scotia's Heritage Property Act.[2]

Prominent tombstones[edit]

Notable interments[edit]

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 Revolution[edit]

Military figures[edit]

Boston Loyalists[edit]

The following were Loyalist refugees who settled in Halifax after they were banished from New York and Massachusetts. 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.

New York Loyalists[edit]

French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802)[edit]

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

Prince Edward Comemorations[edit]


Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815)[edit]

  • Thornhill, Lieut. M. Johns'n 03 Jan. 1812 HM 99, Prince of Wales Tipper

War of 1812[edit]

  • Captain Benjamin Ellenwood, d. 1815, murdered
  • Captain Ebenezer Herrington, d.1812, HMS Chub, friendly fire[91]

Military Officers (1816-1844)[edit]


Depictions in Media[edit]

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).[113] 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.[113]

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.[113]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Old Burying Ground National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  2. ^ Old Burying Ground. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  3. ^ Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. 156, 212p.
  4. ^ pp. 223-224
  5. ^ p. 56
  6. ^ p.74
  7. ^ p. 296
  8. ^ Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society. Vol. 1, p. 44
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ image of brother Stephen Hall Binney
  11. ^ http://gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/genealogy/binney/hibbert1.htm
  12. ^ Public Archives of Nova Scotia, RG 20A, Volume 2, No. 1784-24
  13. ^ Beck, J. Murray (1983). "Creighton, John". In Halpenny, Francess G. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V (1801–1820) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 
  14. ^ Harvard
  15. ^ p. 625
  16. ^ p. 142
  17. ^ Wiki Tree
  18. ^ p. 186
  19. ^
  20. ^ p. 174
  21. ^ William Brattle Biography. New England Life in the Eighteenth Century: Representative Biographies from ... By Clifford Kenyon Shipton. Harvard University Press. 1963. pp. 198-212
  22. ^ silversmith
  23. ^ Find A Grave - William Brattle
  24. ^ Find a grave image
  25. ^ James Murray (1713-1781) Letters of James Murray, Loyalist. There is also a Jacob Murray buried 1781.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Dictionary of North Carolina Biography
  28. ^ p. 711
  29. ^ Find a grave image
  30. ^ Father of Edward Winslow (loyalist) who was one of the founders of New Brunswick; his former home now belongs to the Mayflower House Museum
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ p. 786
  33. ^ https://archive.org/stream/winslowmemorialf0001holt#page/58/mode/2up/search/nova+scotia
  34. ^ https://archive.org/stream/winslowmemorialf0001holt#page/58/mode/2up/search/nova+scotia
  35. ^ https://archive.org/stream/collectionsmass35socigoog#page/n190/mode/2up/search/edward
  36. ^ There were four judges of the Superior Court in Massachusetts at the time of the revolution. Foster Sr. was among the four judges who were Loyalists. See American Loyalists, p. 491
  37. ^ Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 1 By John Adams, p. cii
  38. ^ Thomas letter to Foster
  39. ^ house image
  40. ^ American Loyalist, p. 376
  41. ^ grandchild of Mass. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson (governor); son Hon Foster Hutchinson Sr. d. 1799; decedent of Anne Hutchinson
  42. ^ Gentleman's Magazine
  43. ^ p.177
  44. ^ Another Grandchild of NS Gov. Paul Mascarene was William Handfield Snelling
  45. ^ p. 27
  46. ^ Jack C. Whytock. The Huntingdonian Missionaries to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, c. 1785-1792
  47. ^ Jack C. Whytock. Historical Papers 2003: Canadian Society of Church History. Edited by Bruce L. Guenther, p.154.
  48. ^
  49. ^ Canadian Biography
  50. ^ Canadian Biography
  51. ^ a b c d Loyalists in the Old Burying Ground
  52. ^ Deputy Commissary General at Halifax
  53. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=SvdGAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA226&lpg=PA226&dq=General+W.+Handfield+Snelling&source=bl&ots=nW6S88bXwI&sig=aYkL8WRBmFZaMf_mSdIeWRgwAl4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi50O7Ou8fPAhXl34MKHce0BpkQ6AEIIzAB#v=onepage&q=General%20W.%20Handfield%20Snelling&f=false
  54. ^ Benjamin Kent - American Loyalist, p. 409
  55. ^ http://boston1775.blogspot.ca/search/label/Benjamin%20Kent
  56. ^ http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/06-02-02-0048
  57. ^ graduate of harvard 1727; attorney general; 1776-1780 at Suffolk
  58. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=UlibMcgeiJMC&pg=PR102&lpg=PR102&dq=%22benjamin+kent%22+harvard+1727&source=bl&ots=jJi02QRLPP&sig=PzwMzM8cEelIDnPKQQl5437lzDA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiYs-mf9crPAhVK74MKHQziBYwQ6AEIITAB#v=onepage&q=%22benjamin%20kent%22%20harvard%201727&f=false
  59. ^ http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Burton-5171
  60. ^ Life of William Pepperrell, p. 338
  61. ^ Canadian Biography
  62. ^ p. 650
  63. ^ Canadian Biography Also see Hartshorne's portrait by Robert Field (painter)
  64. ^ Find a Grave
  65. ^ http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/deblois_sarah_6E.html
  66. ^ Image and Brief bio. Annals. North British Society
  67. ^ Geddes - Loyalist
  68. ^ History of the county of Annapolis. p. 350
  69. ^ Prince Edward was his commander and etched on his stone: "This Stone Sacred to the Memory of Lieut. Chales Thomas of His Majesty's Royal Fusilier Regiment who departed this Life on the 16 August 1797, Aged 24 years; is placed as a Testimony of His Friendship and Esteem by Lieut. General His Royal Highness Prince Edward his Colonel."
  70. ^ Halifax Acadian Recorder, April 15, 1920
  71. ^ Naval Chronicle Vol. 1, p. 174
  72. ^ Sutherland
  73. ^ https://archive.org/stream/cihm_16766#page/n197/mode/2up/search/catto
  74. ^ Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. 156, 212p.
  75. ^ pp. 223-224
  76. ^ p. 56
  77. ^ p.74
  78. ^ p. 296
  79. ^ https://archive.org/stream/navalchroniclefounse_1#page/512/mode/1up
  80. ^ Graveside Project - Richard Smith
  81. ^ Chronicle Herald
  82. ^ The 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment of Foot in the War of 1812 John R. Grodzinski
  83. ^ A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great ..., Volume 4 By John Burke, p. 435
  84. ^ The Royal Military Calandar
  85. ^ Naval Chronicle, p. 440
  86. ^ To Dr Rowlands, On the death of his wife, Naval Chronicle, Vol. 37, p. 497
  87. ^ Gentleman's Magazine
  88. ^ Ashore and Afloat: The British Navy and the Halifax Naval Yard Before 1820 By Julian Gwyn, pp. 50-53
  89. ^ Dr. Rowlands obituary
  90. ^ Esther Rowlands also has a plaque in St. Paul's Church
  91. ^ Deborah Trask. Putting the War of 1812 to Rest. Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Journal. Vol. 18, 2015, p.49
  92. ^ Image
  93. ^ p. 71
  94. ^ Life of William Pepperrell, p. 338
  95. ^ https://archive.org/stream/pepperrellsiname00howa#page/36/mode/2up/search/halifax
  96. ^ Annals. North British Society
  97. ^ Cochran-Inglis family of Halifax by Eaton, Arthur Wentworth Hamilton, 1899.
  98. ^ Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada
  99. ^ Gentleman's Magazine
  100. ^ True Stories from Nova Scotia's Past By Dianne Marshall
  101. ^ Harris. The Church of St. Paul in Halifax, p. 230
  102. ^ Image and Bio of Bowie. Annals, North British Society
  103. ^ History of the County of Lunenburg By Mather Byles DesBrisay, p. 86
  104. ^ Note both children are also named on their father's grave stone in Camp Hill Cemetery.
  105. ^ p. 16
  106. ^ http://www.brookhousepress.ca/louisa/appendix/a.htm
  107. ^ Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, Volumes 7-10 By Nova Scotia Historical Society, Halifax, p. 152
  108. ^ Canadian Biography
  109. ^ Canadian Biography
  110. ^ Rev. Perkins was born at Horton, Nova Scotia and studied at Kings College, Windsor, Nova Scotia to become a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. He died inTorbay, Devon, England. (See Nova Scotia Archives
  111. ^ A Geography and History of the County of Digby
  112. ^ p. 45)
  113. ^ a b c "Anne of the Island, by Lucy Maud Montgomery". www.gutenberg.org. Retrieved 2016-11-20. 

External links[edit]