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Description "Amongst The Tombs of Duff's Cemetery"

The Free Lance, Westville, Nova Scotia, July 2, 1914

Amongst the Tombs of Duff’s Cemetery

A number of years ago we saw a book entitled “Harvey’s Mediation Amongst the Tombs.”  The very title of it suggested solemnity, the frailty of human life, as well as its uncertainty, the repaid flight of time, death and eternity.

It suggested all these things and for that reason we declined reading it carefully.  There is no doubt that these things will likely suggest themselves to a certain degree, especially to the thoughtful and meditative mind, that can uplift itself for the time being from the grovelling things and changing scenes of time.

One of the Free Lance staff embraced the opportunity, one day lately of taking a quiet stroll through that well known, but very much neglected God’s Acre “Duffs” burying ground.  He too, had his mediations amongst the tombs, but they were entirely different from Harvey’s.  And for the benefit of all concerned, as especially with the expectancy that some practical good may result from it all he will give his thoughts fee rein.

In the first place, Duff’s burying ground, although it is the first churchyard in this section, is in a most neglected state.  It looks as if those who might be expected to take an interest in it had forgotten that there was such a place.   It is a shame.  The relatives and friends of those who are buried there have or ought to have the greatest interest in this spot we would naturally look to them for a movement towards improving the place.  But not these alone; there are many others who have an eye to improvements, who would bring order out of chaos, neatness out of disorder, and beauty and attractiveness out of places and things that have no beauty and attractive appearance.  We live in an age when improvements in every department of  --- are made or in course of construction, and where the watchword is “progress.”

The Free Lance Staff man who meditated in this venerable --- his--- of improvements that should be --- to convert this forsaken and neglected spot into a pleasure spot and a place to spend an hour or two pleasantly and profitably on a fine summer or autumn afternoon.

First:  The whole graveyard needs to be gone over, from north to south and from east to west.  A lot of useless trees, bushes and wild shrubbery should be rooted out and burned.

Second:  There are a number of tombstones that need to be straightened up and cleaned.  Some of them should be taken out and replaced by new ones.   Then there are quite a few stones half buried in the ground.  These should be removed. 

Third:  A number who have fences around their lots should take these fences down, uproot the wild bushes growing in them, and have the lots cleaned and fixed over.

Fourth:  Wide ashwalks might be made, running parallel north to south; west to east.

Fifth:  In the spring of the year, young trees might be planted in different places. 

Sixth:  The whole graveyard should be surrounded by a strong durable fence with suitable gate entrances, on the north, south and west sides.

Seventh:  A couple of fountains, on near each end, would be very convenient, especially for parties who might desire to decorate graves of plant flowers, etc.  Some generous and kind hearted friend might supply this convenience.

Eighth:  A strong appeal to the public, especially to those directly interested in this graveyard, should be made, with a view to gathering subscriptions, and raise a fund for the improvement and future caretaking of this neglected spot.

Ninth:  The whole graveyard to be cleaned of all rubbish and wild shrubbery, and all this burned.

Tenth:  Wide ashwalks leading from the north side and from the old railway track, opposite Muir’s West Side should be made.

This was written in the hope that all those interested in this historic cemetery might be aroused to a sense of their duty to the neglected dead lying there, and do something practical towards its improvement and making it place of beauty and a satisfaction to wayfarers who might chance to visit it.

Duff’s graveyard is full of graves.  Some of these graves are marked by headstones; others have no marks save the round mound of earth; many others and or have become level with the earth, so they cannot be distinguished --- where are graves here that --- or did contain, if they have not crumbled into dust already, the bodies of persons who were buried here in the latter years of the eighteenth and the first years of the nineteenth century.  And that means a hundred years ago and more.

Some of those who are buried here are as follows:

Jane Kirklan (Killan), wife of James Blackwood, (senior), died September, -2nd, 1853, aged 60 years.

Frances Love, a native of Ayrshire, Scotland, died in Sutherland’s River, Jan. 16th, 1868, aged 71 years.

Jane Cameron a native of Ayrshire died Nov. 23rd, 1845, aged 45 years.

Simon Fraser died October, 21st, 1850, aged 60 years; also his three children, Hugh two years; Mary Jane, one year; Hugh Robert, 11 years.

James Fraser, (Innkeeper), New Glasgow, died January 25th, 1839, aged forty-two years.  Also his two children, Charlotte who died September 10th, 1835 aged 2 years, and Charlott Jane, who died Dec. 25, 1838, aged two years and nine months.  Also Catherine Robertson, wife of James Fraser; born March 6th, 1801; died February 1st, 1890, aged 89 years.

(This Mrs. Fraser was the grandmother of James Simon Fraser, Merchant, New Glasgow, and the aunt of Mrs. J. C. Reid, Mrs. C. L. Rood, Mrs. Capt. Peter Graham, Mrs. J. C. McGregor, and others in New Glasgow).

A gentleman --- attended the --- years ago told the writer that in digging the grave to deposit the casket, another grave beside it was revealed.  It was not straight as most of the other graves were, that is facing east but crooked.  The body was evidently that of a woman, for it had long hair.  It must have been there for many years before that, perhaps she was amongst the first that were buried in that old churchyard.  Who would she be?  Is a question that someone might answer; for there were none of the present generation, not even the octogenarians, could give any clue.

Lydia Fraser, spouse of Alexander Fraser, School Master, McLellan’s Brook; died May 1st, 1845, aged 89 years.

Their son Donald; died December 14th, 1837; aged 2 ½ months.

James Lennon native of County Armagh, Ireland, Parish of Mall Bruch; died September 17th, 1831, aged 49 years.

Mary Corvin, his wife, died at Albion Mines, March 28th, 1867, aged 66 years.

Roderick McNeil; died January 16, 1865, aged 32 years, also Laura and Roderick.

James, first son of Richard and Mary Anne Mooney; died May 13th, 1852.

Alexander, first son of Donald and Catherine O’Handley, died April 14th, 1860; aged 6 years.

Jane, wife of James Mooney, died April 4th, 185 (9)

 aged 56 years.

John Carey; a native of Ireland died at Albion Mines, November 28th 1857, aged 63 years.

Also his wife Ruth Naoimi Davies, a native of South Wales, who died at Albion Mines, Dec. 20th, 1889, aged 84 years.

John Denoon, a native of Nancebirk, N.B., who died November 9th 1831, aged 20 years.

Robert Cumming Elder, a native of Nairnshire, Scotland, died December 20th, 1844, aged 46 years.

Elizabeth Denoon, died September 16th, 1870, aged 68 years.

Their daughter Sophie, died April 1845, aged 3 years and 7 months.

Catherine McLeod, spouse of Donald McPherson, Albion Mines:  A faithful wife and affectionate mother; an intelligent and devout Christian, born in Inverness, Scotland, died at Albion Mines, November 17th, 1858, aged 54 years.

Catherine, daughter of Daniel and Jessie McPherson; died May 23rd, 1866, aged 1 year, 3 months, 13 days.

Donald McPherson, born in Inverness, Scotland, died at Albion Mines February 20th, 1870, aged 71 years.

Betsy died August 17th, 1855, aged 27 years.

Margaret, died January 9th, 1869, aged 34 years.

Also his wife Annie Clark, died October 8th, 1894, aged 86 years.

William Munro, a native of Ross shire, Scotland, died June 13, 1870.

James Reeves; a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland died at Westville, November 7th, 1872, aged 25 years.

Michael Muir; a native of Ayrshire, Scotland, died April 15th, 1876, aged 73 years.

Mary Marshall (his wife) a native of Ayrshire, Scotland, died January 29th, 1861, aged 39 years.

Edward Burns, killed at Drummond, Colliery explosion, May 13th, 1873, aged 33 years.

Thomas P. Jones, Born in South Wales, 1820; died January 11th, 1898; aged 78 years.

Mary Blair, born September 5th, 1821, died August 25th, 1886, aged 65 years.

(Mrs. Jones belonged to one of the original families on New Glasgow, and was an aunt of G. Forest McKay and Mrs. (Capt. A.) Chisholm, of that town.  It was Mrs. Jones who built and occupied the house for a number of years that J. H. Sinclair, M. P., now owns and occupies.)

Lodowick Jones, born in Aberdare, Glamorganshire, South Wales, in 1797 emigrated to America in 1830; died August 13, 1839, aged 42 years.

Jane Price relict of the above; born in Brecon, South Wales, 1796, died in Boston, February 8th, 1849, aged 53 years.

Gomer, infant son, born and died in 1833.

--y (McEachern); died November 21st, 1863, aged 27 years.

John Robertson, a native of Ross shire, Scotland, died May 17th, 1863. 

Johanna, his wife born in Cromarty, Ross shire, Scotland died October 5th, 1877, aged 57 years.

Peter Calder, died 1866, aged 64 years.

Margaret Fraser (his wife) died May 2nd, 1901, aged 89 years.

Aracott Tremar, died March 31st, 1845, aged 50 years.

Mary Anne, first daughter of George and Hannah Davidson (engineer), died January 1st, 1843 aged 1 year and 9 days.

Hannah wife of George Davidson, died August 17th, 1846, aged 29 years.

William Fraser, McLellan’s Brook, Elder of James Church for 52 years, died May 18th, 1859, aged 86 years.

Also his wife Mary McGregor, who died February 1870, aged 52 years.

Agnes Dick, wife of John Doyle, died February 1st, 1874, aged 31 years.

John Fellows, born April 10, 1837, died June 10, 1902.

Agnes Wylie, born June 10, 1829, died February 12, 1905.

Helen McElvie, wife of David Holland (senior), a native of Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, died June 8th, 1882, aged 79 years.

Her sons, Norman, 29 years, Guthrie, 31 years.

Guthrie McElvie, died April 22nd, 1892, aged 74 years.

Jean Blackwood, died March 6th, 1892, aged 69 years.

Jane Robertson, wife of John Dunbar, died at Albion Mines, November 30th, 1871, aged 39 years.

Annie Beattie aged 4 years, Annie Ward, aged 3 years; children of John and Irvine Dunbar.

Matthew McPherson, died at Ashphalt, Albion Mines, May 30th, 1902; aged 77 years.

Christie Dunbar (his wife) died February 11th, 1896, aged 61 years.

Joseph Smith, a native of Ayrshire, Scotland, died November 2nd, 1836, also his daughter Janet Smith.

John McPherson, died at Albion Mines, August 12th, 1884, aged 84 years.

His wife, Agnes Hayes, died February 28th, 1882, aged 80 years.

Daniel McBean, born February 1829 died September 1904.

Mary McLean, wife of Daniel McBean, died December 24, 1885, aged 48 years.

Matilda J. died September 12th, 1881, aged 11.

Joanna Haves, died February 22nd, 1873, aged 2 years, 11 months; John Dan, March 18th 1875, aged 3 years, 2 months, Elizabeth Ann, April 4th, 1875, aged 7 years, 10 months, children of Alexander and Isabel Haves (Hayes).

Agnes Wilson, wife of William Weir; died November 8th, 1876, aged 22 years.

Joan Leadbetter, wife of Thomas Munro, died March 10th, 1860, aged 35 years, also their children who died in infancy.

Marion Park, wife of Hugh Denoon, who was drowned in the brig Sutledge, 1847, aged 25 years.

John Park, a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland, died February 12th, 1843, aged 43 years.

His wife, Mary Edmiston, died July 1880; aged 80 years.  Alongside are laid three of their children.

William Morton, Elder, died September 22nd, 1890.  Agnes’ Smith, wife of William Morton, a native of Kilmarnock, Scotland died, March 6th, 1880, aged 68 years.

Janet Stalker, second wife of William Morton, died October 6th, 1901, aged 67 years.

John Alexander (Morton) February 8th, 1838, aged 4 years, 7 months.

The child of William Morton, July 26, 1832, aged 9 months.

(William Morton, referred to above lived originally in Little Harbour.  He was for many years an Elder in Knox and latterly United Churches, New Glasgow.  One of his family was the well known missionary in Trinidad for many years, the Rev. John Morton D.D., who died not very long ago.

Catherine McLeod, wife of Andrew McLean, died March 21st, 1871, aged 55 years.

Also, her son Peter Ross McLean; died September 18th, 1867, aged 10 years, 8 months and 18 days.

Robert Cullen, a native of Dairy, Ayrshire, Scotland, died at Albion Mines, December 26th, 1884, aged 78.

John Adam Cullen, died August 31, 1873, aged 24.

James Kingon; died October 28th, 1873, aged 43.

Annie Campbell, wife of Neil Nicholson; died May 27th, 1883, aged 28.

George Henry Conway, died February 23rd, 1876, aged 2 months.

James Donnelly Conway, killed at the Foord Pit, October 12th, 1880, aged 42 years.

Frank Young; born at Augusta, Maine, died at Westville, aged 40 years.

Marion Dunbar, (his wife) born at Albion Mines, died at Westville, November 25th 188(2), aged (22).

John H. Bennett, a native of Guysborough, died at Westville, May 13th, 1873, aged 29.

George McKenzie, died October 3rd, 1887, aged 45; Isabella McDonald, (his wife), died November 10th, 1878, aged 86.

Their children:  Alexander, 9 months; Barbara 3 years and 7 months.

Margaret McDougall, wife of Robert Sutherland, died at Albion Mines, September 3rd, 1877, aged 51 (Erected by her daughter, Barbara).

John Dunbar, died September 16th, 1872, aged 50.

John McPherson, died at Albion Mines, August 12th, 1884, aged 84.

Agnes Hayes, died February 28th, 1882, aged 80.

Robert Kellock, a native of Dumfrieshire, Scotland, died April 28th, 1876, aged 79.

Mary Jane McKay (his wife) born at “The Narrows” died February 9th, 1874.

There was one stone that contained the following as far as we could decipher it.  It was lying flat and the upper part was broken off:

Died, May 22nd, 1868, aged 24 years.  He came from Scotland.  This stone was erected by his wife Annie Campbell.

Some one may be able to tell us who the man was.


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