Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Bonshaw Pioneer Cemetery is a small cemetery situated on the south side of the Trans Canada Highway in Bonshaw between the intersections of the St. Catherine's Road and the Bonshaw Road. It is bordered by the highway on one side and Smelt Creek on the other. It measures about forty by twenty metres in size. It is the only public cemetery in the rural community of Bonshaw.
The cemetery is valued for its association with the history of early settlement in the central part of Prince Edward Island.
Bonshaw is located in Lot 30 in central Prince Edward Island. Settlement began in the 1830s, but the majority did not become leaseholders until the 1840s. Two churches were established, a Presbyterian one in 1867 and a Baptist one in 1891. Neither had their own distinct cemetery. There were also members of the Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland traditions living in the community. All of these denominations would use the cemetery.
It was established in 1865 on land acquired by local merchant and postmaster, Alexander Robertson, who would own a large farm near the cemetery. He would also provide land for the local school and Presbyterian church. The first recorded burial was that of his ten year old son, Alex Falconer Robertson, in 1865. But, there may have been others before this - no early documentation exists for the property. It first appeared in Meacham's 1880 Atlas of PEI. The last recorded burial was that of William Gaudet in 1950. There are 32 known burials based on the surviving headstones.
The families which have used this cemetery have included: Robertson, McKaig, Braekey, Gillespie, Darrach, Boyce, MacNevin, and Campbell.
It was restored in 1976 and continues to be maintained by the community.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/P4
The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the central location of the cemetery in the community of Bonshaw
- the variety of shapes and ages of the gravestones
- the fencing which surrounds and defines the boundaries of the cemetery
Prince Edward Island
Province of Prince Edward Island
Heritage Places Protection Act
Registered Historic Place
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
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/P4
Cross-Reference to Collection