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Overstoneville Independent Cemetery

Franklin, Manitoba, R0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/08/08

View from the southeast of the recently recovered 1902 section of the Overstoneville Independent Cemetery, Tolstoi area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Old Section
Contextual view, from the southeast, showing the main cemetery in the foreground and in the background the recently recovered 1902 section of the Overstoneville Independent Cemetery, Tolstoi area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View
View of gravemarkers in the Overstoneville Independent Cemetery, Tolstoi area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006

Other Name(s)

Independent Greek Church
Ukrainian Evangelical Independent Church
Église grecque indépendante
Église indépendante évangélique ukrainienne
Overstoneville Independent Cemetery

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/01/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Overstoneville Independent Cemetery marks the final resting place of Ukrainian pioneers and their descendents, and remains active today. The gentle roll of the cemetery flows into surrounding fields in the Tolstoi area, with a grove of mature poplar trees marking the boundary of the northwest corner. The municipal designation applies to the approximately 10,000-square-metre parcel of land.

Heritage Value

The Overstoneville Independent Cemetery is an important link to Ukrainian pioneers who settled the Tolstoi area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There are two distinct sections of the cemetery, the oldest defined by a stand of poplar trees and assuming greater significance because it has been a focus for efforts to reclaim a previously lost aspect of local history. This section, dating from approximately 1902, contains at least 28 gravesites, unidentified for many years as the original wooden crosses disintegrated and cemetery records were lost. Through recent community efforts the gravesites have been located, cleared of overgrowth and marked with white crosses. A contemporary plaque at the site testifies to the names of some of the individuals buried in this original section. The plaque also notes the importance of the Overstoneville Independent Greek Church (built in 1902 and destroyed by fire in 1951), and suggests another aspect of the cemetery's value. The graveyard is a reminder of the competing religious forces that attended the experience of Ukrainian immigration to Manitoba, in which the traditional Catholic and Orthodox faiths were joined by smaller church offshoots like the Ukrainian Independent Greek (also known as the Ukrainian Evangelical Independent) and the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist. While most Ukrainian cemeteries in Manitoba are devoted to one faith group, the Overstoneville Independent Cemetery is a rare one, containing the final resting places of all the Ukrainian faith groups that were active around Tolstoi 100 years ago.

Source: Rural Municipality of Franklin By-law No. 05-2000, August 8, 2000

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Overstoneville Independent Cemetery site include:
- the original location of the cemetery in association with the site of the former Overstoneville Independent Greek Church in the Tolstoi area of southeastern Manitoba
- the cemetery's situation in a rural landscape of agricultural fields and copses of native trees and bushes

Key physical elements that define the cemetery's heritage character include:
- the 28 simple white crosses that mark the graves of early twentieth-century pioneers, and their location within a group of poplar trees on the west side of the site
- the active part of the cemetery grounds, on the east side, and the formal layout and location of burials, gravestones and their engravings
- the lack of differentiation in gravemarker design between any of the Ukrainian religious faiths represented in the burials in the cemetery
- the commemorative plaque marking the former site of the church




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1902/01/01 to 1902/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations
Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Franklin Box 66 115 Waddell Avenue East Dominion City MB R0A 0H0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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