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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada ~ Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada
Stella Maris And St. Richard's Cemeteries
Maris and St. Richard’s cemeteries lie within the boundaries of the Fortress
of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada, in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia.
St. Richard’s Cemetery
St. Richard’s Cemetery is located
on the extension of route #22 just
west of the junction with the
“Administration compound” road. It was in use from around 1848, when St.
Peter’s Chapel was constructed, until 1938. St. Peter’s chapel blew down in
a violent gale in December 31, 1848 and a new chapel, later named St.
Richard’s, was constructed by 1853. St. Richard’s was in use as a place of
worship until the early 1890s. The last burial in the cemetery was that of James
Kennedy in September 1938.
St. Richard’s has only 9 markers
though there are many more graves. The markers include:
2. Matthew Kehoe, the son of George and Mary, who died at age 27 in 1897 (Son of George Kehoe and Mary Shaw, born 2 Nov, 1869 – see Main-a-dieu birth registry)
3. John Lorway who died in 1916 aged 85 years, and his wife Jane Shaw who died in 1897
4. Charlie, infant son of Charles W. and Ellen Wheatly who died at age 3 weeks and 3 days. ( Ellen Wheatly may have been one of the Cryer family ).
5. The Phelan iron cross, made by Louisbourg blacksmith Martin Levatte, and commemorating Thomas Phelan and his wife Phoebe Kehoe. A granite marker was placed here by Thomas Bates, Sr., in June 2005.
6. Richard and Ellen O’Toole, a grey granite monument.
7. Dennis Kennedy, his wife Henrietta Price and their children, a grey marble monument.
8. A wooden cross with no indication of who the person is.
9. A deteriorated and illegible marble stone lying
flat. This is probably the one documented by Sandra Ferguson as belonging to
Annie Kehoe, daughter of George & Mary, who died on November 20, 1894 aged
Stella Maris Cemetery was first used
circa 1890/92, after Stella Maris Church was constructed about 2 kilometres from
the St. Richard’s site, just inside the western boundary of the former Town of
Louisbourg. Though the church and associated glebe house were removed in 1968, the
cemetery is still a final resting place for those families who had plots there
or other older members of the Old Town community.
Stella Maris cemetery (1977 to present ) is at the east end of Louisbourg
on the McCuish Road (Clarke’s Road to the people of Louisbourg). Mark
Connington, who died in 1977, was the first person buried in this new cemetery.
As with St. Richards, the markers in Old Stella Maris cemetery represent only a portion of those who are buried there. Many people either do not have markers, or the wooden crosses or field stones marking their graves have disappeared.
Are there records of all those
buried in St. Richard’s and Stella Maris cemeteries?
The short answer is, no, the records are not complete.
The Stella Maris Parish death
register, the most complete document, begins in 1909 and continues to the
present. It is maintained by the parish priest of Stella Maris. But, by 1909
Stella Maris Parish had been established for
eight years and the cemetery had been in use for almost 18 years. The
death records for the Stella Maris and St. Richard’s between 1901-1908 are
lost. The death records from Main-a-dieu, of which Louisbourg was a mission
church until 1901, have been lost as well.
Other sources of information for the
early period of the cemetery include newspaper accounts and the older and dated
grave markers. Here are some of the newspaper references to deaths in
Stella Maris parish in the first 9 years of the 20th century. The
grave markers can be found in the section entitled Grave Stone Transcriptions.
The Sydney newspapers give some help for the period 1900 to 1909. Jacqueline Bates, wife of Tom Bates, Jr., is an avid researcher of genealogy and has sent along two references from newspapers.
November 2002 (Slattery)
do not think I have sent this information to you
already, so I am sending it to you now.
I think I may have stumbled across a
twist in the story as to why
Valentine Slattery had the remains of
his mother, father and brother reburied in Louisbourg in the summer of
1904. I originally thought it may have had something to do with the
fact that Valentine's unmarried
sister, Margaret, was a resident of Louisbourg, but
after going over the will of Joseph Slattery I am inclined to think
According to Joseph Slattery's will, he was giving away his property at Gabarus except for an acre of land which was being used as a family cemetery. In the will he stated that at his wife's death the land at Gabarus was to be equally divided between his sons, Israel and Valentine, "...except for an acre of land for a cemetery on the spot where it is now situated, with a path to the public highway and never to be sold, but to be reserved as a place of internment for the family forever."
I have not been able to look at any
property transfers from 1904, but I am wondering if Valentine Slattery sold
the Gabarus property to somebody and the bodies had to be removed from
Joseph Slattery made his will in November
of 1867 and according to the records at the Archives, the will was
proved July 10, 1868.
January 2001 ( George Kehoe and Charles Baldwin )
going through the deaths for Louisbourg and the surrounding area ( 1900 - 1910
), I came across only two instances
of burials taking place in St.Richard's Cemetery.
At that, the newspapers did not refer to the cemetery as "St.Richard's"
. The papers termed it "the
According to The Daily Record of August 30,
1902 ( dated Lsbg. 29th ) the death of George Kehoe occurred at his home on
Thursday. Mr.Kehoe had been in
failing health for about one year. His
funeral took place this morning. Remains
were laid to rest in the old cemetery.
On March 28, 1904 The Sydney Record recorded
the following:The funeral of the late Charles Baldwin was largely attended.
The remains were taken to Stella Maris Church at 8 a.m., where a requiem
high mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Challand.
From thence they were conveyed to the old Catholic Cemetery at West
Louisburg for burial. He leaves a
widow and three children, the eldest being 12 years of age.
Charles Baldwin, a son of Thomas Baldwin and
Anne Anderson, was born at Louisbourg ca.1853. He and his wife, Susan, had three children...Mary ( b.1891 ),
Thomas William ( b.1892 ) and Charles ( b.1896 ). Charles, Sr., lost his life at the shipping pier of the
Dominion Coal Company on March 23, 1904. He
had been checking on a car on the dump table, when the latch of the table
slipped. When the latch of the
table stopped descending, he was thrown into the water. Twenty minutes after being thrown into the water, his body
was recovered. According to the
newspaper account, Drs. Morrison and O'Neill spent a considerable time in trying
to resuscitate him, but gave up when they found "the vital spark had
addition to the material supplied by Jacqueline Bates,
there are other references in the newspapers in the first decade of the
20th century and the following deaths are noted.
( N.B. there is more detail in the notices and
there may have been some deaths missed. The microfilm for the Sydney, Nova
Scotia newspapers including the Daily Record, the Sydney Record and the Daily
News can be found at the McConnell Memorial Library in Sydney and the university
Library and Beaton Institute archives of Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova
was enter'd today at 3 oclock P.M. at the old F.B. ( French
Burial) Ground” ( this was located at Rochefort Point ).
Edward Kavanaugh Journal, May 27,
1849, McConnell Memorial Library, Sydney, NS.
Ellen of old town died at Little Lorraine while on a visit to friends
Record, Feb 27, 1901.
Power, Josephine, The 11 year old daughter of Captain Power died of diphtheria.
Daily Record, April 2, 1901.
Kennedy, Captain William. Suffocated after being buried under a fall of coal in the coal pocket. “ Now sleeps in the church yard alongside his father”. Not certain whether this is Louisbourg or Main-a-Dieu.
Daily Record, June 5, 1901.
Daily Record, February 15, 1902.
Price, Mrs. Nicholas
Daily Record, April 16, 1902.
Power, infant child of Mr. And Mrs. George Power
Daily Record, April 16, 1902.
McMillan (McMullan), Daniel
Daily Record, April 15, 1903.
Sydney Record, January 16, 1904.
Bates, Mrs. John, daughter of Samuel Tutty of Big Lorraine
Sydney Record, May, 9 & 10 , 1904 .
O’Hanley (O’Handley), the little daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John O’Hanley ( O’Handley).
Sydney Record, October 17 &
Currie, Archibald, buried in Stella Maris
Sydney Record, November 7 & 8,
Williams, Mrs. John buried in Stella Maris
Sydney Record, March 2 & 6, 1905.
Williams, Mrs. William. Daughter of Patrick O’Dowd.
Sydney Record, July 24 & 25,
O’Hanley, Mrs. Wife of John and daughter of George Kehoe, Stell Maris
Sydney Record, July 24 & 25,
Kelly, Joseph, St. Richard’s
Sydney Record, July 25 & 26,
O’Toole, Patrick L., 2 month old son of Vincent O’Toole, Stella Maris
Sydney Record, August 8 & 9,
McMillan (MacMullin/an), Patrick, son of Roderick McMillan
Sept 20 & 22, 1905.
Murphy, Philip married to Catherine daughter of the late Richard Kelly
Sydney Record, November 7 & 8,
MacIntyre, 2 week old son of Mrs. And Mrs. Daniel MacIntyre
October 3, 1905.
Campbell, Sadie Belle 9 months old of
pneumonia daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Dougald Campbell. Sydney Record,
February 17, 1906.
Campbell, Ignatius, 3 year old son of Mr. And Mrs. Dougald Campbell,
Sydney Record, April 2, 1906.
Williams, Mrs. John Jr.
Sydney Record, October 15, 1906.
O’Toole, Josephine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph O’Toole.
Sydney Record, November 20, 1906.
Kennedy, P. Stella Maris church, “ From there the remains were taken to the Old Catholic Cemetery at Fort Louisburg to rest among the ancestors of the deceased “ ( N.B. This may have been the last burial at the Old French Cemetery at Rochefort Point.)
Sydney Record, November 24, 1906.
December 5, 1906.
Power, Mrs. George who died at Summerside, PEI
Sydney Record, December 5, 1906.
Sydney Record, January 25, 1907.
Sydney Record, June 7, 1907.
Regan, Miss Ellen, of Newfoundland and sister of Mrs. Lewis Baldwin – St. Richard’s.
Sydney Record, July 13, 1907.
Burke, Mary Loretta, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James P. Burke,
Sydney Record, August 25, 1908.
Sydney Record, August 25, 1908.
There are three stones to the Slattery family which predate the opening of the
cemetery – how did they get here. In 1904 Valentine Slattery removed the
remains of his family from Gabarus, where there had been a small Roman Catholic
Church, and reburied them in Louisbourg.
O’Toole: The O’Toole
monument in red granite surmounted by a stone urn is interesting as well. The
stone was erected before the turn of the 1900s by Marcella O’Toole in memory
of her husband, Patrick O’Toole. In 1919 the parish priest felt that the
monument, because of its design, was inappropriate for a catholic cemetery. Mrs. O’Toole wrote to the bishop of the day saying that up
until that point there had been no complaints about the stone – nothing more
Lynk: The red granite monument
to Frederick Lynk, erected by his fellow workers, records a tragic death “ a
very sad accident occurred last night, resulting tin the death of Frederick Lynk,
a young man of this town. Mr. Lynk was a brakeman on the shunting engine, and it
is thought that in changing the switch that he must have lost his balance and
fell across the rail, as his head was completely severed from his body. Lynk was
a smart, industrious, sober young
man and his death is a great blow to his parents how have the sympathy of their
friends in their sad bereavement. Sydney Daily Record, November 10, 1900.
Burke: Another stone in the
cemetery, granite with lead letters, commemorates Viola Burke a young woman who
was a member of the Louisburg Brass Band – one of 8 women who were part of
this unique community organization which began during World War 1. When she died
suddenly in June 1922. Melvin S. Huntington, who attended the funeral, wrotes in
his diary that it “ was the most
largely attended I have seen in this town.” The legend that grew around the
event was that she had died from eating lobster and ice cream or mackerel and
ice cream –
combinations that aren’t supposed to go well together. In actuality,
she suffered from an aneurysm and couldn’t get to the hospital in Glace Bay in
time to survive.
Marconi deaths: There are three stones for Michael Dennis Pope, Aubrey Kelly and Hugh Connington killed on July 3, 1922 in a tragic accident at Marconi Towers in Glace Bay.