Old Protestant Burying Grounds (Elm Ave Cemetery) - Memories of Long Ago Exert

Old Protestant Burying Grounds (Elm Ave Cemetery) History

An Old Cemetery

 

A walk through the Old Cemetery on Malpeque road (Elm Avenue).

 

"Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;

Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,

Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre". -- Grey

 

There is history for all and reminiscences for many in this old graveyard.

Here may be found not a few reminders of people of whom we have read in

books of history and been told about by our forbearers - people who were

closely associated with the welfare of the Town as well as with the

government of the Island in its early days after it had become a separate

colony under the Crown. Several of the monuments and headstones, which have

not altogether succumbed to the touch of time and the wear of the elements,

bear names of prominent individuals, well known to a very few of our people

who can remember back to the middle of the nineteenth century, but the great

majority of those whose remains lie here were unknown to any now living.

 

Many of the memorials show very beautiful carvings, ornamentation's to be

seen in old - time steel engravings "olde" English lettering,

"line of beauty" flourishes, etc., etc. Some are standing, others lying flat

on stone or iron supports, still others in the form of sarcophagi, which

many, it is sad to say, have suffered from vandalism, being broken in pieces

and scattered about. Surely, something can be done to restore, even

partially, these latter to something comprehendible to those who visit here,

for it is of great interest to many who have read the early history of the

Island to find the names here recorded of a large number of people who

figure in such archives of the Province as have been preserved.

 

Take for instance, the name of Thomas Tremlett, the sixth Chief Justice of

Prince Edward island, who was not a lawyer and altogether unfitted for such

an office (see Warburton's History). A memorial to one of his family is to

be found here. Tremlett was a special protégé of Governor Charles Douglas

Smith one of the early Governors of the Province, who autocratically ruled

for ten years, and was then recalled by the Home government. A monument to

the Governor's wife is to be seen in the southeast corner of the cemetery.

Governor Smith was a brother is the celebrated Admiral Sir Sydney Smith,

G.C.B., the hero of Acre. In Governor Smith's conduct of affairs he was

ably assisted by his son - in - law, whose monument is near by and is inscribed

as follows:"Sacred to the memory of Captain the Honorable Ambrose Lane,

H.P. 98th foot, Lieut.Colonel, Adjutant - General and inspector of Militia of

this Island .. departed this life 7th Sept. 1853, in the 62nd year of his age".

 

"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,

And all that beauty, all that wealth ere gave

Await alike the inevitable hour,

The paths of glory lead but to the grave". -- Grey

 

Of happy memory was Colonel John Ready, probably the most popular of all

the early English governors of the colony, a monument to whose daughter,

Susan, is to be seen in this old cemetery. She died on the 13th day of

February, 1827, at the early age of eighteen years. Governor Ready was a

grandfather of the late Lord Milner, formerly governor - general of South Africa.

 

There are a few still living who may remember a well known figure in

Charlottetown in the fifties and early sixties, viz., Capt. Paul Mabey, * the

inscription on whose monument contains the following; "Died March 22 1863

aged 76 years. The Lord shall raise him up". On the same stone is the

following: "George Mabey, died March 4 1848, aged 89 , and also his wife,

Mary, died April 1, 1836, aged 75. The trumpet shall sound and the dead

shall raised incorruptible.(1st Cor. xv, 52)".

 

Others living will probably remember the name of George R. Goodman, who

died in 1870 and whose remains are here deposited. His wife predeceased

him by 22 years. The monument to her memory is still in good preservation

and reads: " Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth Isabella, (Bremner) the beloved

wife of the Hon. G.R. Goodman, who departed this life December 18, 1848,

aged 42 years".

 

A few of our townspeople will remember the subject of the following

epitaph: "Sacred to the memory of Charles Welsh Esq. Who departed this life

October 20, 1873, in the 77th year of his age" ; "Blessed are the pure in

heart for they shall see God". Charles Welsh was the father of the late

William Welsh, M.P. (of the firm of Welsh & Owen) and of Pope Welsh and

James E. Welsh both deceased.

 

The name of Stewart is a prominent one in early Island affairs, and is

particularly mentioned in Warburton's History of Prince Edward island. It

might be interesting to note here the inscriptions to be seen on two large

stones in this old graveyard; thus reads one:

"Sacred to the memory of Peter Stewart, Esq. Who after a faithful discharge

of his duty as Chief Justice of this Island for the space of 25 years

departed this life the Xth day of November MDCCV, Aged LXXX years".

 

Foot Note * Paul Maby represented Charlottetown in the House of Assembly

for several years, and a colleague of his, during the administration of

Governor Smith, was Robert Hodgson, afterwards Sir Robert Hodgson, Chief

Justice.

 

The other of the same name is quaintly inscribed as follows, " To the memory

of John Stewart, of Mount Stewart, Esquire, Deputy Paymaster general of

H.M. Forces, and collector General of Quit Rents in this Island, who departed

this life the 22nd day of June, A.D. 1834, aged 76 years". Intimately

connected during a long and active life with the teaching interests of the

country. The energies of his mind were ever devoted to the advancement of

education. "The paths of duty lead but to the grave".

 

The graving of this stone, as well as the companion stone to the memory of

his wife, is beautifully executed, which is true of many other of the old

monuments.

 

Another history mark bears the following inscription to the memory of the

first Postmaster of Prince Edward Island: "In memory of Benjamin Chappell,

late Postmaster of Charlottetown, who died January 6, 1825. Aged 76 years".

 

Still another historical figure: "In memory of Rev. Theophilus Desbrisay, of

Trinity College, Dublin who for upwards of 47 years discharged the duties of

Rector of this parish. Died the 14th March, 1823. Aged 69". (The First

Rector of St. Paul's).

 

There maybe one or two yet living who can remember the late Judge Jarvis,

on whose monument is the following: "In memory of Edward James Jarvis, Chief

Justice of this Island, who died May 9, 1952. Aged 63 years". "The memory

of the just is blessed". Prov. 10:7. (He was the father of the wife of the

late Charles Palmer, Q.C.).

 

Many may remember the greatly beloved Hammond Johnson, M/D., who died on

September 28, 1868, at the early age of 39 years. A stone erected to his

memory stands just inside the cemetery entrance, also one to his aged

father, Dr. the Hon. Henry A. Johnson, who died in 1872. Aged 83 years.

 

A monument linking the present with the past, shows the name of Com'dr.

Beazeley. He was at one time owner of the property now occupied by the

provincial Exhibition and Driving park commissioners.

 

Prominent in the social and religious life of the people of Charlottetown

in the sixties, was Commander John Orlebar, R.N. A monument to the memory

of his daughter is to be seen at the eastern end of the cemetery. His

residence, while living in Charlottetown, was that now owned and occupied by

Mr. Justice Haszard. Also the street adjacent thereto is called Orlebar Street.

Space will not permit of extended notes of many others quite as prominent

as those already mentioned people who were well known in Island affairs in

the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Such names as Thos. Pethick, Thos.

Owen, Ralph Brecken, T.H. Haviland, Sr., Mark Burcher, Jabez Barnard, John

S. Bremner, William Smardon (Owner of corner known in later years as Beale's

corner, but now the "Capitol Theatre"). Benjamin Dest. Croix, Donald

McKinnon, Thos. Dodd, Sr. Isaac Smith, Charles and John Binns, Ewen

Cameron, T.B. Tremaine, Edward R. Humphrey (head master of Central

Academy now P. of W. College) Joseph and John Ball, John Plawe, architect,

and an host of other names identified with the history of the Island in the

middle of the nineteenth century, such as Bayfield, Hodgson, Brecken,

Palmer, Douse, Coles, Longworth, Cambridge, Swabey, Nelson, Jenkins Davies,

Yates, Haszard, Gardiner,Pippy, Gall, Dempsey, Compton, Mawley, Webb,

Trenaman, Worthy, Morris, etc.,

 

"No farther seek their merits to disclose

Or draw their frailties from their dread abode,

(There they alike in trembling hope repose)

The bosom of their Father and their God". -- Grey

 

The old Cemetery was closed by law on the 1st of January 1874.

The following beautiful sentiment expressed by the late John P. Tanton,

appears in the P.E.I.. Magazine of January 1900:

 

As we wander over its numerous mounds, besides its broken stones, dilapidated

rails and verdant shrubbery, we think of 'man's inhumanity to man,' and of

how many tears were shed over those who lay in the narrow portals of the

tomb, of the memories of the past, and varrity of the present; and as

thought after thought arises from a perusal of its engraved records, we are

led to the conclusion that the unwritten history of the Island lies buried

in the old graveyard.

 

Benjamin Bremner, an exert from "Memories of Long Ago"

Transcription courtesy: Eileen Bremner - rtbremne@wolf.co.net.


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