Description of Historic Place
This small cemetery is located on the west side of the Murray Harbour Road on Route 24 and faces the highway. It is enclosed by mature trees on three sides. A deteriorating page wire fence separates the grassed cemetery grounds from the forest. The site contains approximately 34 headstones.
The cemetery is valued for its historical association with members of the Church of Scotland who arrived from the Isle of Skye on the Mary Kennedy in 1829. The vessel left Portree in the Isle of Skye with 84 passengers which included at least fifty children. After a voyage of six weeks, the ship arrived in Cape Breton before making its way to PEI, arriving in Charlottetown on June 1.
The settlers came to Kings County, establishing homes and farms along the Murray Harbour Road in the Uigg district (named for Uig in the Isle of Skye) and in the Back Settlement (after 1880 called Lyndale and also named for a place in the Isle of Skye). They were prepared for the climate of their new home, bringing warm clothing and a year's worth of provisions.
The first recorded burial in the cemetery was that of James Campbell in 1839, however, an undated source notes that Norman McLeod was the first to be interred in 1837. There may be other earlier graves which are now unmarked.
These pioneers were Gaelic speakers and the inscription on one of the remaining stones (Anna McLeod) reflects that reality. The Scottish surnames of those interred include: Martin, McLeod, McPherson, McDonald, McKenzie, Gillis, Campbell, and Nicholson.
The spiritual leader of this group was Rev. Donald McDonald (1783-1867), a Church of Scotland minister who would go on to establish twelve congregations across the Island with nearly 5000 adherents. He became known simply as "The Minister". He was the first to be interred at the new cemetery established about 1400 metres to the south at the junction of the Murray Harbour Road and the Lyndale Road. He was replaced in his duties by Rev. John Goodwill (1831-1905) another Church of Scotland minister who had been born in Nova Scotia and had come to Orwell Head in 1875. This was the same year various branches of the Presbyterian faith came together to establish the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
By 1886, the majority of those attending the Church of Scotland or Kirk in this area decided to join the Canadian Presbyterian Church. However, a small number wished to remain loyal to the Church of Scotland and constructed another kirk or church near this cemetery. This has since been dismantled. It is erroneously shown as "Baptist Property" near the cemetery on a modern aerial map of the area.
The remaining headstones have a variety of designs and motifs. These include the thistle, rose, and open book or Bible. Most inscriptions are facing east and many have a weathered appearance. Some stones are broken and illegible. The last recorded burial was in 1918.
It is rumoured that Ann Beaton, the victim of an unsolved 1859 murder in Lyndale's Goblin Hollow was also interred here.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P29
The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the location of the cemetery near the highway bordered on three sides by mature trees
- the variety and size of remaining headstones
- the inscriptions and motifs on the headstones
- the potential for unmarked graves on the site