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Hillsborough Pioneer Cemetery

2807a Main Street, Hillsborough, New Brunswick, E4H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2010/01/04

Wrought iron fence between the sidewalk and the Hillsborough Pioneer Cemetery.; Village of Hillsborough
Along the western boundry of graveyard
The Acadian people used this site as a buring ground beginning in 1700.; Village of Hillsborough
Viewed from the south
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2011/03/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Hillsborough Pioneer Cemetery is an early cemetery that was used from the beginning of the 1700's until the early 20th century. It is located on Main Street in Hillsborough to the south of the Hillsborough Baptist Church and is enclosed by a wrought iron fence.

Heritage Value

The Hillsborough Pioneer Cemetery is designated a Local Historic Place because it symbolizes, on one small plot of land, the diverse cultural influences reaching from the distant past which continue to shape today's society. This is reflected in the family names of those interred here. In 1700, the Blanchard Family from Port Royal, in what is now Nova Scotia, became the first Europeans to settle this area via Port Royal in what is now Nova Scotia. They and the Saulnier, Aucoin, and Thibodeau families who joined them selected this hilltop as their burying ground. For fifty-five years these and other Acadian families worked to dyke the raging river, tilled the land and laid their loved ones to rest. The second wave of settlement after 1765 continued to use this burial site and eventually added a common meeting house immediately to the north. This meeting house, built in 1778, was non-denominational. However, in 1822 the first Hillsborough Baptist Church was organized and this denomination has occupied the old site since, with a succession of four churches.

The Acadian Families were from Normandy, France. The Gross family, also originally from France, were Huguenots. The Steeves, Lutz, Trites and Horsmans were proud Germans. The Duffys and Gallaghers came from Ireland. The Wallace, Lewis and Irving families found their way to Hillsborough from Scotland. The Taylors and Blights were English, while the Jonahs and Pecks hailed from Switzerland. And then the tide of United Empire Loyalists arrived from the United States. Their individual journeys may have ended on this hill top, but their collective spirit continues to expand through the intricately interwoven families they have left as their legacies.

Source: Heritage Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum, Local Historic places files

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Hillsborough Pioneer Cemetery include:
- location on the brow of a hill in the geographical center of the Village of Hillsborough;
- proximity to the original site of the former common meeting house;
- ornate wrought iron fence along the western and southern boundaries;
- a war memorial and cenotaph;
- the diversity of cultural backgrounds reflected in the family names of those interred here;
- the graves of the heads of the Steeves Family settlers, Henrick and Rachel;
- the graves of three of the seven Steeves sons who arrived in 1766;
- the Duffy Family plot;
- the Gross Family plot;
- the Wallace Family plot;
- the Lewis Family plot;
- the markers of local sandstone, marble, wrought iron and granite;
- archaeological resources related to the use of the site by early Acadians.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Conservation Act

Recognition Type

Local Historic Place (municipal)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1700/01/01 to 1923/01/01

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

William Henry Steeves House Museum, 40 Mill Street, Hillsborough, NB, E4H 2Z8

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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