Respecting the dead in New Perlican

Volunteers uncover 14 headstones at St. Mark’s cemetery

Published on February 25, 2014

A group of volunteers organized by the Heritage New Perlican committee and St. Augustine’s church vestry worked on the oldest “known” Anglican cemetery called St. Mark’s on Scott’s Hill, New Perlican during the morning of June 22, 2013.

They came with their grass cutters, chain saws and rakes to clean up and then search for headstones which have been grown over for many years.

Unfortunately, this lack of upkeep has happened to the cemetery due to the lack of funds and a declining Anglican congregation. It was a surprising day for all 12 people who showed up as we uncovered 14 headstones and the plan is to go back again in the fall and hopefully uncover more.

This cemetery was designated a Municipal Heritage Site in July, 2013 by the Heritage Committee and the town in agreement with St. Augustine’s Church Vestry.

Heritage New Perlican plans to erect a post/chain fence around two or three sides of the cemetery once the headstone project is finished and eventually when funds allow, they will erect a sign there with the name of those buried. There are many people buried there without headstones, as you can easily see the rocks used to denote the head and foot of graves in rows.

The group of volunteers were Lorraine LaFitte, Felix St. George, David MacDonald, Ruth Walker, Lorraine and Max Warren, Paul Stockham, Melanie and Randy Tucker, Sheila Piercey, Gail Snook and Eileen Matthews.

We were fortunate to have Lisa Wilson with us from the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Melanie Tucker, who works with The Rooms and has a summer place here. Melanie's roots are based in this community. Lisa Wilson is heavily involved with this type of work with the Heritage Foundation and had been out on a previous occasion giving us advice on how to handle the old headstones in that cemetery.

Lisa Wilson commented that this is only the second cemetery where she has seen footstones. The group went back in the fall and continued clean-up and hopes to start again this spring.

— Submitted by Eileen Matthews