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Disappointed to find tombstones over embankment

South Bay Cemetery tombstones over the embankment, in this photograph by Rick Campbell

In this photo from the website, the South Bay pioneer cemetery which was erected in the early 1820s and was in use until the early 1960s. There are approximately 275 gravesites.
Of note is the long row of recovered stones placed together in memoriam. The accompanying graves are lost to history, but the names live on. The cemetery was restored in 1967 as a Canadian Centennial project.

Letter to the Editor:
I was out for a drive yesterday (Oct. 18th) and stopped for the first time at the South Bay pioneer cemetery. Wandered about reading the stones and took some photos. So many young children are buried there. One child was six months old. Another stone was for a young lad who had suffered a great deal before his death. The 1840s-plus era really took a toll on lives.

I then went to the boat launch site on the other side of the extraordinarily dirty creek. I could not help but notice so many stones were over the embankment. Vandalism? Erosion? Doesn’t matter.. now it is neglect.

I can’t imagine heavy equipment being placed above the embankment to lift up these stones, but it could easily be done from the launch site.

County hasn’t a truck to reach across safely to lift the stones? Think again! The fire department’s new aerial truck could easily be extended across. Slings attached. Engineers and county officials all involved. A great photo op as well.

Rick Campbell


Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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  1. Jason says:

    I live next to an old graveyard, which also abuts water, so I understand the edges have many pieces down them. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but in my own case the stones I see over the edge are either old gravestone pedestals, which were replaced when a stone fell over, or old grave markers. Grave markers are basically placeholders to show ownership of a plot before actually occupying it. They were made of limestone or granite and had the family names or initials carved in them. Some of the older grave markers were longer pieces which resembled small gravestones. The cemetery near me was refurbished in the 90’s and the volunteers dumped all of the old markers and replaced pedestals over the edge.

  2. ADJ says:

    Over the years damage to the embankment was caused by ground hogs, muskrats and now possibly otters. High water in Spring, runoff from as far away as Cat creek west of Milford and certainly 2017 + 2019 exceptional high water levels. I imagine a retaining wall would be needed to hold what is left.

  3. Rick Campbell says:

    I am not knowledgeable enough to know who, or how many people, would write in to voice a comment about my photo and note. Nice to see that those who did take the time to comment were in agreement in the basic premise of what I had presented, so thank you.

    Now mind you, it is no wonder the ‘County’ hasn’t done anything before now, as there doesn’t seem to be too many of the general public who seem particularly interested in the situation either.

    I sent a copy of the link to PEC Heritage Advisory Committee re: my letter & photo, but have not heard anything.

    And I certainly agree with what Angela said. Be it respect for the pioneers who came here, or just plain and simple respect for the dead, cemeteries should not be left like this.


  4. angela says:

    Unfortunate that South Bay Cemetery fell into county hands. A lot of old mariners are buried there and it is near the Mariners’ Park Museum. It should have been kept up for it is part of our history. Moses Dulmage and Minerva McCrimmon are buried there.Their story was told by Suzanne Pasternak in her folk opera Minerva.

  5. Johanna McCarthy says:

    I live just down from the South Bay Cemetery and it has always been a favourite place to go for a walk. Late this Spring I stopped by the cemetery to find that stones had fallen over due to the high winds and age of the tombstones. The rows of headstones were covered in grass cuttings. My granddaughter went with a broom to try to clear the rows of headstones but the grass was hard to remove as it has been there for awhile.
    It is sad to see that after all the work the Friends of the S.B. Cemetery had put into renewing the cemetery is not being kept up by the County.

  6. Susan Rose says:

    Absolutely Angela. So sad

  7. Kurt says:

    I agree. Greater respect is owed.

  8. angela says:

    The county is not particularly concerned about South Bay Cemetery. Under its stewardship it was allowed to become a disgusting mess a few years ago – stones down and a heavy overgrowth of sumac. After being shamed into it they did some clean-up. Glenwood is the big recipient of county funding but it is an active cemetery which justifies the need perhaps. It is sad to see those stones thrown over the embankment. Some will argue that our concern should be for the living, not the dead, but we owe the pioneers who built this county greater respect.

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