Description of Historic Place
Four Corners Burying Ground, established between 1763 and 1770, is found on a piece of land near four corners, adjacent to the Tantramar Marshes on Church Street, in the rural community of Middle Sackville.
The Four Corners Burying Ground was nominated to the Four Corners Burying Ground is designated a Local Historic Place for having many original stones at the site, dating to the late 1700s. The stones demonstrate the strong connection of the site to the New England Planters and to individual marsh builder, Toler Thompson, buried at this site.
After the expulsion of the Acadians from this area in 1755, unrest occurred until the capture of Fortress Louisburg in 1758. That event removed the French threat to English power in the Chignecto region and in North America. By the next spring the New England migration to the area had begun. Among the New England Planters was a group of families from Swansea, Massachusetts, who arrived on the Isthmus in 1763. They landed at Slacks Cove in Rockport but eventually settled in what is known today as Middle Sackville. They and other early New England settlers were destined to establish the first Baptist church in what is now Canada, at Middle Sackville, in that year.
In the following years a number of families returned to the United States, but other families remained, and it was these families who established the burying ground at the Four Corners. Early Baptist churches, Beulah and Bethel, were located near this site. A French Chapel and cemetery were also in this vicinity. One of the first persons interred at this site was Valentine Easterbrooks (Estabrooks) Esq., of Warren, Rhode Island whose tombstone indicates his death occurred October 23, 1770 in his 48th year. He had been granted 1000 acres of land in the area in 1765.
The Tantramar marshes were relevant in the life of most all of the inhabitants of Middle Sackville. Dykes were often in disrepair and good marshland flooded. Toler Thompson, born in Upper Sackville, studied the tides and their impact on the marshlands and devised a system of canals, ditches and aboiteaux to provide additional land. His descendants placed a monument at this site in 1972 that reads, “In grateful appreciation of the life of Toler Thompson whose skilful system of drainage canals and dykes changed the Tantramar marshlands into a productive area for his own and succeeding generations.”
Source: Town of Sackville, Historic Places Filing Cabinet – Four Corners Burying Ground Folder
The character-defining elements that describe the heritage value of the Four Corners Burying Ground include:
- older cemetery stones facing east, interspersed with newer stones, forming family groupings;
- many older marble and sandstone cemetery stones, with early Christian symbols;
- white wooden fence across front of cemetery;
- roads, from early days, allowing access to all areas of the cemetery;
- cemetery sign, in the early style, with hand-painted black letters on white painted sign board;
- commemorative stones or markers celebrating early marsh builders and Civil War veterans.