Description of Historic Place
Located on a small hill and dotted with trees, this cemetery is situated in a pastoral and agricultural landscape. A small path leads to it from the St. Peters Road or Highway 2. It contains a variety of interesting stone designs and is neatly enclosed with fencing. A sign near the highway indicates the cemetery's location.
The Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery is valued for its association with the early Scottish immigrants to the area.
The earliest recorded burial in this cemetery was that of Janet MacFarlane, aged 13, in 1826. The last were those of James Fraser and Peter Stewart from Harrington in 1939. Thirty-three gravestones currently exist, but there were approximately one dozen other burials for which no stone remains. There may be others in unmarked graves.
The cemetery was not affiliated with any particular denomination. It was part of the farm once owned by James "New Inn" Ferguson. In his 1864 will, where he gave the farm to his son, James Richard Ferguson, he left instructions that those using the burying ground were to "pay me and my heirs and assigns, the yearly rent of one peppercorn."
Many of the remaining stones display interesting designs and motifs, such as a finger pointing to an open book or Bible. Many of those interred had Scottish surnames including: Henderson, Ferguson, Robertson, McGregor, Stewart, Fraser, McFarlane, Wallace, Scott, Forbes, McBeath, Wyatt, MacDonald, and Lowry.
Among the notable Islanders interred there was Hon. Dr. Kenneth Henderson (1811-1893). He was born in Caithness, Scotland. He was a physician who joined the British army (93rd Sutherland Highlanders) in 1830 and was stationed in the Canadas during the 1837 Rebellions. He achieved the rank of sergeant and came to PEI in 1852 after his discharge. He was elected in 1863 to the Legislative Council and to the House of Assembly in 1867.
The cemetery fell into disrepair until 1971, when it was rescued through a government program of the Department of Health and Heritage. Undergrowth was removed and the stones repaired. New fencing was also installed. The site was cared for by the local branch of the Women's Institute. In 1994, a trust fund was established to continue the maintenance of this important cultural landmark.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P9
The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the signage marking the location of the cemetery
- the variety of gravestones located on a small hill
- the trees and ornamental vegetation
- the fence enclosing the cemetery and defining its boundaries