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Belle River Pioneer Cemetery

Factory Road, Belle River, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/03/09

Overview of cemetery; PEI Genealogical Society, 2008
Overview of cemetery
Detail of finger pointing to God is Love message; PEI Genealogical Society, 2008
Detail of finger pointing to God is Love message
Highlighted area shows cemetery near church; Meacham's Illustrated Historical Atlas of PEI, 1880
Highlighted area shows cemetery near church

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/05/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located in a grassed area with birch trees on its south, east, and west, the cemetery also overlooks a marsh on the bank of the Belle River. There are approximately fifty stones with various motifs and designs.

Heritage Value

This pioneer cemetery is valued for its historical association with the early Scottish, English, and United Empire Loyalist settlers to the area and for its association with the Church of Scotland.

The first interment in this cemetery was that of John MacPherson in 1832. He had wished to be remain on his own land in Belle River. Gradually, the site continued to be used as a local cemetery by other Scottish families who had come from the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Colonsay, and the peninsula of Kintyre. These included the Livingstones and the Martins.

English settlers from Devon arrived in the area in the early 1830s. The Sanders family is representative of this group and is interred here.

The Compton family, who had left New Jersey and migrated north to southern New Brunswick at the beginning of the American Revolution, are also interred here. They came to the Belle River area of PEI around 1818.

The cemetery has traditionally been associated with the Church of Scotland which was once located in the area and is shown on Meacham's 1880 Atlas of PEI. The site contains approximately fifty headstones and there is the potential for other unmarked graves. Other families associated with the site include: MacDougall, Hume, Jardine, Bears, MacLeod, Hill, Taylor, Murray, MacKenzie, and Stewart. The last interment was in 1935.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/P24

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:

- the location of the cemetery in a wooded area with birch trees near the Belle River
- the variety of the remaining headstones with decorative designs, motifs, and inscriptions
- the potential for unmarked graves on the site



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Registered Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/P24

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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