Description of Historic Place
Prominently located on a sloping grassed hill on Route 2 in Scotchfort, this cemetery overlooks the Hillsborough River and features a large granite Celtic Cross. Although commemorating the arrival of Scottish settlers in the area, it is on the site of an earlier French and Acadian burial ground. A sign indicates the name of the cemetery and a white post and cable fence defines the perimeter of the site on the north, west, and east sides.
The cemetery is valued for its historical association with the early Acadian and Scottish settlement in the area.
During the French Regime, this was the site of the first Roman Catholic chapel built in the Island. Dating from 1729, it included a cemetery and served the Acadian Parish of St. Louis.
In the wake of the Acadian expulsion of 1758 and the land lottery of St. John's Island in 1767, Lots 35 and 36 came into the possession of Captain John MacDonald (1742-1810), the Eighth Laird of Glenaladale. This area became known as the Tracadie Estate.
With his prospects in the Highlands challenged by the failed Jacobite uprising and the new agricultrual practices emerging, he brought out several families from his lands on board the Alexander in 1772. These included: Beaton, Campbell, Gillis, MacDonald, MacEachern, MacIntosh, MacKenzie, MacKinnon, MacPhee, and MacRae. These were Roman Catholic families from the Hebridean islands of South Uist and Eigg, as well as from the mainland areas of Moydart and Arisaig.
Captain MacDonald and his family left an important legacy in the history of St. John's Island. During the American Revolution, he served as Captain of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Highland Emigrants - the 84th Regiment of Foot. When he died in 1811, he was interred in this cemetery. His brother, Father James MacDonald (1736-1785) was the first English speaking Roman Catholic priest in Prince Edward Island. He is also interred here.
In July 1922, a special ceremony commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the Glenaladale pioneers was held. A large granite Celtic Cross was unveiled. It was designed by noted PEI architect, Charles B. Chappell.
Today, this cross still commands attention on the main highway between St. Peters Bay and Charlottetown. A smaller white cross located northeast of this commemorates the family of Captain John MacDonald. Another small plaque west of that denotes Father James MacDonald.
Another 35 stones in the cemetery have been arranged in a row at the back behind the two larger crosses. Many of these are now illegible. There are also unmarked graves on the site, dating to the time of the French Regime.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P28
The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the location of the cemetery on a hillside overlooking the Hillsborough River
- the tall granite Celtic Cross with inscriptions on a square base
- the smaller white cross with inscriptions on a square base
- the other remaining stones with inscriptions
- the potential for unmarked graves on the site