Methodist Burying Ground
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Methodist Burying Ground, daring to 1788 and located in Middle Sackville is a half-acre cemetery that formerly was also a meeting place and place of worship. Patterned and plain gravestones (earliest 1792) and foundation stones of a chapel (1790) have survived. The location, along the Post Road, was once part of the heavily traveled route from Quebec to Nova Scotia, mid way between settlements in Upper Sackville and Sackville.
The heritage value of the Methodist Burying Ground and the reason for designation as a Local Historic Places resides in the historical and cultural importance of this place as a Church, meeting place and a burial site for Yorkshire settlers (1772 and 1775) and their descendants.
A proposal to proceed with a preaching place in Chignecto was undertaken at a meeting held on 17 December 1788, attended by Charles Dixon and six others. Two years later (1790) a Chapel rose on a half-acre lot purchased from Benjamin Tower. The church served parishioners for about twenty years at which time Chapels were constructed in Upper Sackville and Sackville. Burials took place here from 1788 to 1961.
Charles Dixon, who was the largest landowner among the Yorkshire settlers supporting the foundation of Wesleyan Methodism in Chignecto, and who became a Justice of the Peace and the area’s representative in the New Brunswick Legislature is buried here with wife Susannah. In 1794 he bought three slaves, two of which he sold, the third he eventually liberated. It was the wish of this slave to be buried near Dixon. A large plot, surrounded by a fence, is reportedly where that slave is buried, possibly with the other two slaves.
Source: Town of Sackville Historic Places Files: "Methodist Burying Ground"
Character defining elements of the Methodist Cemetery that relate to its landscape style and which can be associated with the time period in which the Methodist Cemetery was built include:
- foundation stones marking the site of the original Methodist Chapel;
- nine large stone markers which are thought to mark the burial plot of slaves;
- many early stones, featuring unique flower symbol, thought to be the white Yorkshire rose not common to other Maritime cemeteries;
- unique white marble, sandstone and granite markers, made by Maritime tombstone makers and featuring early Christian symbols such as trumpeting figures, willow, urn, winged cherubs, and Masonic symbols;
- earliest stone (1792) that of William Cornforth, who was involved in the1788 planning of the Methodist Chapel;
- early stones are all facing east reflecting the religious belief that the body be ready to rise and follow Jesus Christ when he returns for the Second coming;
- Memorial archway and stairs noting the arrival of the Yorkshire settlers to the area between 1772 and 1775.
Local Governments (NB)
Community Planning Act
1788/01/01 to 1961/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of Sackville - Historic Places Filing Cabinet - Methodist Burying Ground File Folder
Cross-Reference to Collection