Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Great Finds in New Perlican

Last month, on the 22nd of June, I traveled to New Perlican to help out with a local cemetery clean-up project. This ongoing initiative, headed by the New Perlican heritage group,  aims to help preserve a historic cemetery that has been under threat from neglect and encroaching ATV trails. A great deal of research has already been done in the area, and before beginning the clean-up, it was believed that some previously unrecorded headstones may be buried throughout the site. The clean-up portion of the project, which accounts for the first phase, has been in the planning stages since last year. Next will come a post and chain fence that will provide further protection to the area.

Several community members turned up to help with the removal of the tall grass and shrubbery that had been hiding a cluster of  headstones. With so many hands busy at work, the area was cleared very quickly and the task of searching for fallen headstones could begin. Right away community members began making discoveries. In just a few short hours, around 13 headstones were unearthed, most of which were from the mid-19th century. Each were treated with care, and in time, a plan will be put into place where some will be put into the ground once again. While not all are in good enough condition to do so, it will be quite interesting to see some of these newly discovered headstones added back to this historic landscape.

Congratulations to New Perlican Heritage for your wonderful discoveries and good luck with the next phase of your preservation project. Special thanks to Eileen Matthews for inviting me to watch this project unfold, and for her unending dedication to heritage work in her community.


New Perlican Heritage, busy clearing the land.

Cemetery clean-up helpers read an epitaph on a newly discovered headstone.

A portion of one of the discovered headstones,  next to its footstone. Many burials in this cemetery had both a head and a footstone.

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