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Wood Islands Pioneer Cemetery

Pioneer Cemetery Road, Wood Islands West, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/05/11

Showing metal entrance gate with sign; PEI Genealogical Society, 2008
Showing metal entrance gate with sign
Celtic Cross with McMillan Clan Badge; PEI Genealogical Society, 2008
Celtic Cross with McMillan Clan Badge
Showing Bell stone; PEI Genealogical Society, 2008
Showing Bell stone

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This cemetery is located in Wood Islands West off the Pioneer Cemetery Road in a forested area between the Trans Canada Highway and the Northumberland Strait. The site is a grassed clearing about half an acre in size with a round arch metal sign marking the entrance to the cemetery.

Heritage Value

The cemetery is valued for its historical association with early Selkirk settlers to the Wood Islands area, including members of the McMillan family.

The McMillan settlers were part of the migration of Scottish Highlanders sponsored by Lord Selkirk. They came originally from Colonsay in Argyle in 1806 aboard the vessel, Spencer. The ship landed at Pinette and the McMillans planned to make their home in Little Sands. However, they decided to set fishing nets in Wood Islands just off shore from where the cemetery is now located and were rewarded with a bountiful catch. They then decided to make their home in Wood Islands.

It is believed the cemetery dates from 1807. A Murdoch McMillan was interred in 1810, but the oldest remaining headstone is that of Hector McMillan, who passed away in 1819. An 1834 land conveyance refers to the site as "the old burial ground". Today, a celtic cross inscribed with the badge of Clan McMillan is located near the entrance.

Approximately 33 headstones survive, however, several of these are illegible. Other families interred here include members of the Bell, McNeill, McRae, Munn, Smith, Currie, McDonald, and McKay families.

The site ceased to be used as a cemetery in 1910 and was restored in 1972 as part of a provincial effort to rehabilitate pioneer cemeteries. A rededication ceremony was held in October 1973. Today, the site is well maintained and includes a new metal round arch entrance gate which proclaims the name of the cemetery.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P35

Character-Defining Elements

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

- the location of the cemetery in a grassed clearing in a wooded area near the Northumberland Strait
- the metal round arch entrance gate showing the name of the cemetery
- the variety, size, and style of remaining gravestones and their inscriptions
- the celtic cross engraved with the McMillan clan badge near the entrance to the site
- 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/P35

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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