Efforts underway to restore 200-year-old N.S. cemetery
Members of a community in Nova Scotia’s Antigonish County are joining forces to restore a nearly 200-year-old historic cemetery.
“The graveyard was put in here, oh, sometime in the early 1800s,” says project organizer Joe Stewart. “It’s a Catholic graveyard for all the old-time Scotsmen that used to live in this area and built this area up.”
Paddy’s Hollow Cemetery in Lanark holds special meaning for Stewart, who remembers digging graves at the age of 14.
“So I’ve known about it a long, long time and I got a little bit upset at the neglect that was here,” he says.
Stewart says there have only been a few burials at Paddy's Hollow over the last 20 or 30 years and some headstones are starting to crumble and fall, so he decided to start a campaign to restore the old cemetery.
One of the first features to be cleaned up was an old sundial, gifted from a local engineer in 1939. Andrew MacGillivray also commissioned a large monument in the cemetery, which was almost black before it was cleaned last summer.
“To our great surprise, there was an inscription in Gaelic on the front of it and on the back, in the English, it says ‘We have here no abiding city’,” says Stewart.
But not everyone buried at Paddy’s Hollow has a headstone, says Stewart, so phase three of the restoration project includes erecting a monument with their names inscribed on it.
“We’re up to about 92 people that have been buried here, and I think we’ve got them all, but it took about two or three years to do all this research,” he says.
Stewart says it’s important those buried in Paddy’s Hollow are not forgotten, and an ongoing private fundraising campaign is helping him achieve that goal.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh