St. Marys Cemetery, St. Marys
In 1840, the Ingersoll family purchased approximately 700 acres of land from the Canada Company at the place where Trout Creek meets the Thames River, the future site of the Town of St. Marys. The Ingersolls then went to work to encourage settlement to this new community. In 1850, James Ingersoll, having provided building lots for the main protestant denominations in the community, set aside three adjacent blocks of land for protestant cemeteries on the south side of Elgin Street East not far from the downtown core.
This burial ground was in use from 1850 until December 1885. By that time it was full with no place for expansion and a new municipal cemetery was opened farther east off Cain Street beside an established Roman Catholic Cemetery. Some graves were relocated to the new cemetery but many were left in their original plots on Elgin Street. The old cemetery is now a neighbourhood park. A plaque, placed by the Town and the St. Marys Historical Society, commemorates it as the final resting place of hundreds of the community’s earliest settlers.
The current cemetery also has a beautiful, park-like setting and is a welcoming place for visitors. A 50-acre area, its 18 developed acres are laid out in 15 sections, including five Roman Catholic sections. There is also a chapel and a lovely cremation garden.
The cemetery is a wonderful place to learn about history. It is the final resting place of the Right Honourable Arthur Meighen, ninth Prime Minister of Canada, as well as his wife Isabel Meighen, his parents and his grandparents.
It contains the grave of George Graham, a victim of the Titanic disaster in 1912, whose body was recovered, identified and returned to his Ontario family. James Brine, one of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, is also buried in the St. Marys Cemetery.
The Perth County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has recorded the St. Marys Cemetery and the names on the grave markers are included in the Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid, an on-line database.