While on a road trip last weekend we found a beautiful old cemetery with graves dating from the early 1800s forward! We had no plans of visiting a cemetery, but this one was far too beautiful to pass up exploring. It was a magical moment, with the autumn light shifting between big dark clouds and the gorgeous fall leaves as a backdrop.
We spent a good hour exploring the grounds and the beautiful tombstones (and taking tons of photos) of Limehouse Presbyterian. I wanted to share some of the unique carvings and details we found, most of the older stones had been restored and reinforced carefully to preserve them. It’s nice to see such care go into a beautiful old cemetery like this.
The first internment at this cemetery was a 3 year old girl named Agnes Frazer in 1826, at which time the cemetery wasn’t an official burial ground yet (not until 1832). This space is still an active cemetery, with new graves being added, and the old wood-frame church on the grounds still holds weekly services and gatherings.
According to several sites the story of Agnes’ death is very unique. They claimed the girl wandered away from home by accident and was found with a mother bear who’d come out of hibernation and tried to care for the girl. I couldn’t find any proper sources for this story, and I wish I’d been able to go check newspaper records in that local area to validate it. But either way it’s an interesting tale!
The grave markers themselves are in surprisingly good condition, some had elaborate lettering. The sloping banners and block lettering were really beautifully done!
We spotted many of the typical Victorian symbols (see my essay about these here) such as grasping hands or hands pointing upward to heaven. Many of the stones had willow trees carved on them which is usually seen in the United States and isn’t as common to find in Canada. Willows symbolized mourning and loss, and due to their quick growing and tenacious nature they also symbolized immortality.
Another symbol that we kept finding in this cemetery was a little lamb. Usually associated with the lamb of God this figure even appears with a willow tree on the iron fence around this elaborate grave as well. So sweet and sad.
The church’s website- http://limehousepresbyterianchurch.blogspot.ca/