Stones & Bones & History

In ocean cave still safe with thee

the germ of immortality

and calm and peaceful is my sleep

rocked in the cradle of the deep

So reads the gravestone of Captain Joseph Letson,  who was lost at sea. October 13,1874, aged 38. And so begins a litany of twitter sized inscriptions, beautifully and lovingly depicted on white bronze, white stone (marble), and zinc in the Old Port Medway Cemetery.

Samuel eldest son of Samuel & Hannah, aged 16, Lost at Sea 1845.

 “No pain, no grief, no anxious fear, can reach our loved one sleeping here”

 “Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom in the fair gardens of that second birth and each pure blossom mingle its perfume with that of flowers that have bloomed on earth”

Samuel Mack, who departed this life, October 10, 1783, aged 46

 “The anchor weighed life storms all passed. The soul has reached its peak at last”

 This cemetery in 1 of 23 listed in the Nova Scotia Historic Places Initiatives

 It is easy to lose yourself in the history of these Nova Scotia souls, imaging the families, the way of life and the stories of life here in Nova Scotia. Here are just a few interesting facts about some of the cemeteries in Nova Scotia.

 Yarmouth County. Chebogue Cemetery is situated on a promontory of land known as Town Point, which overlooks the Chebogue River. It is mostly on level ground, but is gradually sloped towards the river on the north and east sides, has well defined, grass covered avenues throughout and is bounded along the road by a stone wall with wrought iron gates at the two entry points Many of Yarmouth’s founding families are buried here. The Marble Lady, commemorating the life of Margaret Lindsay McNaught Webster, is located at the Town Point Cemetery in Chebogue . Mrs. Webster died in the mid-1800s, and her husband commissioned the statue to honour her memory. The image was taken from a painting on a matchbox. There are several other unusual monuments in this cemetery, including the Hogg family grave marker, which is made of cast white bronze, and an unusually large monument for a Mr. Prentice, who did not live in Nova Scotia but had visited the cemetery and thought it so beautiful that he arranged to be buried here. There is also a small concrete block chapel with brick trim near the centre of the cemetery, which was built around 1949 and is sometimes used for funeral services.
The first English-speaking setters in Yarmouth County arrived on June 9, 1761 and many are buried in the Town Point Cemetery in Chebogue. Chebogue Cemetery is valued as the oldest cemetery in the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth; for its historical ties with the general Yarmouth area; for its continued use as a cemetery to the present day; and for its monuments and landscape features

Bayview Cemetery is valued for its tangible associations with the early history of Mahone Bay; for its particular association with the “foreign Protestant” settlers and their rare Germanic gravemarkers; and for its continuous use as a community burial ground since the late 1700’s.
Bayview Cemetery is also valued for its rare early Germanic gravestones marking the graves of foreign Protestant settlers. Lunenburg County’s oldest surviving German inscription – that of Ana Catherina Zwicker (d. 1780) – is here. Her stone is roughly crafted of soft local slate with touchingly awkward and uneven block letters in German. Other hand-carved stones have Gothic script. Some depict traditional Germanic images – a tulip on the 1805 Eisenhauer marker, a heart on an infant’s stone. The influence of the foreign Protestant settlers persists today in the continued use of German motifs on gravestones, and also in the widespread presence of German foods and patterns of speech throughout Lunenburg County.
Markers and materials from later eras are valued for their ability to evoke a sense of different historic periods. These include Victorian grave curbing and cast-iron railings with linked heart and stepped cross motifs.

The Old Burying Ground is also valued for the primitive folk art designs found on many gravestones, some of which showcase the work of the Horton Carver (fl. 1783-1793), who is said to have been Scottish stone carver James Hay. Many of his sandstone grave markers are unique to the Horton-Wolfville area.

The African Bethel Cemetery is valued as the first burial ground to be established in the predominantly Black community of Greenville, which was historically known as Salmon River; and as being the burial place of more than eighty-five residents of the area, ancestors of present day residents. It is also valued for its few remaining grave markers, most of which bear the names of early Black settlers of the area.

With a backdrop of some of the oldest trees

in the late bloom of autumn, wrought irons, and open seas, it is the
perfect time of year for a drive and stroll through some of Nova Scotia’s history.