Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
This small cemetery is located near the village of Murray Harbour in a wooded area off the Cemetery Road on private property. It is now overgrown and has sandstones as grave markers.
The cemetery is valued for its historical association with the MacKay, Keeping, and Thompson families of Murray Harbour. The Presbyterian congregation in Murray Harbour was organized by Dr. John Keir in 1822. The first resident minister was Rev. Daniel McCurdy who arrived in 1830.
By 1835, the first church was constructed on land owned by Donald MacKay. The current cemetery was likely begun in the 1840s. Donald MacKay died in 1846 and was interred here. His first wife, Janet and his second wife, Ann Thompson, also rest here. Others known to be buried on the site include: Donald (his son); Donald's wife, Margaret; Isabelle Ford (their daughter); Janet Keeping (their daughter); William Keeping; Eugene Keeping; Hugh MacKay; and Thompson MacKay. Eugene Keeping (1889-1947) is the last known interment.
The 1835 church which was near the cemetery, was eventually hauled away - some say in the aftermath of a theological dispute. It was eventually replaced by another church in the village of Murray Harbour in 1864.
By 1880, the property was no longer owned by MacKays, but is shown in Meacham's Atlas as belonging to Charles LeLacheur.
One of the few newspaper references to the cemetery can be found in the obituary for Mrs. Janet (MacKay) Keeping who passed away at Cape Bear, Murray Harbour, in 1931: "Her remains were laid to rest in the little McKay Cemetery on her own land about two hundred yards from her earthly home in a beautiful sloping spot among the firs which shelters and stops the winter's blast, and shades from the summer's heat..."
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P37
The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the location of the cemetery in a wooded area
- the surviving sandstone markers
- 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 Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P37
Cross-Reference to Collection