Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Reilly Burial Plot consists of an unmarked grave located in a treed area on a picturesque hillside off Route 14 in Cape Wolfe. It overlooks the beach at a place known locally as "Ben's Shore".
The cemetery is valued for its historical association with the Reilly family and early Irish settlement in the western part of Prince County and for its contribution to the folklore of the area.
The Reilly family arrived in Prince Edward Island from Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland around 1818. Many of them later worked in Bedeque in the shipyard of Hon. Joseph Pope. From there, a number of them moved to the coastal area of Lot 7 in what is today, Cape Wolfe.
The circumstances surrounding this obscure cemetery began with the dispute between two Reilly brothers, Patrick and Garret. Patrick was dismayed with Garret's choice of marrying a woman whose religious affiliation was Protestant and not Roman Catholic. Tragedy struck when Garret's newborn child died suddenly and was interred in the nearby Roman Catholic cemetery in Lot 7 with other Reilly relatives.
Local folklore says that Patrick was not content to allow this burial to occur and reputedly exhumed the coffin and placed it against his brother's door. When Garret discovered to his horror what had happened, he promptly reinterred the child again in the local cemetery. However, legend says that Patrick once again dug up the remains and returned them to Garret's door.
Finally, out of desperation, Garret decided to inter the child on a hillside near his home within site of his property. They marked the spot with a wooden cross which has long since disappeared. This place is referred to today as the Reilly Burial Plot.
The horrible experience eventually led Garret and his wife to leave the Island. They settled along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec where they remained for the rest of their lives.
The Reilly Burial Plot is the source of an important story in local folklore and is part of the intangible cultural heritage of the area.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P34
The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the location of the cemetery in a sandy open area on a hillside covered in grass and spruce trees
- the single unmarked grave 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/P34
Cross-Reference to Collection