Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
This small cemetery is located in a picturesque wooded area on the east side of the Waterside Road in Pownal. It contains one remaining standing gravestone.
The cemetery is valued for its historical association with the Haley family; the early history of the Vernon River Roman Catholic parish; and for its contribution to the area's cultural heritage.
John Hayley (1760-1810) was born in King's County (now County Offaly) in Ireland. It is unclear when he came to PEI, but it has been suggested that he was the personal secretary of colonial governor, Edmund Fanning. He farmed land in Waterside near Pownal in Lot 49 and was married on January 3, 1799 to Mary Praught (c1784-1864). She would later marry another Irishman, Henry Green (c1789-1863) after whom the PEI community of Village Green is now named.
Mary was one of eight children born to Frederick Praught or Pracht (c1730-1831) and Susannah Wagner (1750s-1821). Frederick was a private in the Loyalist regiment known as the King's Rangers. He originally came from Monmouth County in New Jersey and in return for his loyalty received a grant of 100 acres in St. John's Island (PEI) in Lot 50 in the area which became known as Cherry Valley. By 1801, he purchased 200 more acres in Pownal and moved there because some sources say his wife wanted to be closer to other German speaking Jenkins (Henckell) and Ballem (Baum) families.
The land on which the cemetery is now located was purchased in 1804 by Rev. Angus Bernard MacEachern, who would later become the Island's first Roman Catholic bishop. MacEachern paid four Pounds for the property to John Haley and John MacDonald. At this time, a log chapel was also built near the cemetery. It continued to be used until 1813 when it was replaced by a larger more centrally located church in Vernon River. This was the foundation for the current St. Joachim's Roman Catholic parish. In his Will, Bishop MacEachern noted: "I leave two lots of land which I own in lots 49 and Fifty on one of which a Chapel is built, the other 4 acres two of which are out of the late John MacDonald's land and the other two acres joining the former two acres, out of the late John Haley's land on Lot Forty nine, for the use of the clergyman at Vernon River."
John Haley passed away in 1810 and was interred on the site. His daughter, Nancy Haley died in 1812 and was also interred there. In the 1970s sources say there were as many as 22 visible stones in the cemetery, however, today only that of John Haley remains.
The cemetery was abandoned in 1890 and restored in 1972. It remains an important cultural resource in the area.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P39
The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the location of the cemetery near the Waterside Road in a grove of trees
- the single standing headstone with inscription
- 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/P39
Cross-Reference to Collection
St. Joachim's Roman Catholic Church
St. Joachim's Roman Catholic Church is a large Gothic Revival church built of Prince Edward Island brick located on the crest of a hill overlooking the community of Vernon River…