Visit the Pioneer Cemetery

Established in 1794, the Pioneer Cemetery, located in French Village, is the earliest documented burial ground on St. Margaret's Bay.

The majority of the Bay's residents were Foreign Protestants, from the Lunenburg area, invited by the Governor of Nova Scotia, John Parr, in the early 1780s, to take up lands not settled by the original grantees.

The land for the cemetery was originally purchased for 6 Pounds Sterling by local residents from James Boutilier, yeoman, and his wife Susanne Elizabeth Marriot. The property was conveyed to : John Andrews, David Jr., Jacques, James, James Frederick, John, John James, Frederick and George Boutilier; Christopher, John Christopher, George and Joseph Dauphinee; James and George Jollimore/Jollymore; Robert Keddy; Henry Lewis; Peter Marriott, and George Mason.

Although St. Paul's Church used the cemetery until 1849, the site was never actually deeded to the Parish, and was used by people as far away as Dover and the north and western shores of St. Margaret's Bay.

There are very few headstones in the cemetery and most of the grace markers are ordinary fieldstones; many of which are missing. No church or burial records prior to 1834 exist. Burials are believed to have filled the site and may have even exceeded its boundaries. From the research of wills, deeds, probate papers and inventories of estates, a list of names of those interred perhaps prior to 1834 has been compiled. This list also includes 1834-1964 burials from church records.