Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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
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
Province of Prince Edward Island
Heritage Places Protection Act
Registered Historic Place
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
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