Description of Historic Place
Old Port Medway Cemetery is located on the Old Port Medway Road near Foster's Point Wharf on a high bluff over looking Medway Harbour, in Port Medway, NS. The provincial designation applies to the land, burial monuments, and associated features of the cemetery.
The Old Port Medway Cemetery is valued for its age, location, historical associations, headstones, and landscape features.
Port Medway is a small, sea-side community that was first settled in the 1760s by New England fishermen. The 1786 proprietors’ records of the near-by town of Liverpool note that a “Publick Burying Ground, containing one acre of land, be allowed and laid out in Port Medway,” and that at the time of this motion forty graves already existed.
The location of the cemetery, on a high bluff over looking the harbour, reflects the ties of the settlers to the ocean. The oldest headstone is that of Sam Mack, who died in 1783. Mack is associated with the E.D. Davidson Mill enterprise and was the founder of nearby Bridgewater. The cemetery also contains a marker for Alexander Dunlap, the first magistrate of Port Medway, and a cluster of headstones for the Cohoon family, many of whom were among the founders of Port Medway. The cemetery is no longer in use; the last person was buried there in 1939.
The elaborate carving of the older headstones is rare and unique. The stones display a wide variety of subject matter, styles, and materials, including sandstone, white bronze, white stone (marble), granite, and cast zinc and are known of come from a variety of places including Halifax, Liverpool, Kentville, Saint John, and St. Thomas.
Source: Provincial Heritage Property files, no. 269.
Character-defining elements of the Old Port Medway Cemetery include:
- mature trees, including Basswood and Linden trees;
- location on bluff, overlooking Medway Bay;
- headstones of various ages carved from materials including white bronze, white stone (marble), granite and cast zinc and display a variety of subjects and styles.