Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Almost-Forgotten Cemetery

On Route 105 in the community of White's Cove New Brunswick is a tiny cemetery, encompassing less than half an acre, that looks quite out of place in the surrounding fields.  I noticed it by accident the first time my brother was showing off his nearby cottage on Grand Lake, and decided to do some spur-of-the-moment exploration.  To my surprise I discovered the grave of a distant cousin, Isabelle June Sansom, and her husband Andrew Skead.

The cemetery itself is officially known as White's Cove United Church Cemetery in Cambridge Parish.  There was a church on the grounds once, but it was closed in 1967 along with several other area churches when the congregations were amalgamated.  The building was subsequently demolished and no trace remains.  The cemetery however has been lovingly maintained: grass mowed, flower displays on the graves, and such.

Isabelle June Sansom was the daughter of Theodore Sansom, an office worker, and his wife Dorothy Forbes.  Born in 1920 in Moncton, she with her family moved to Fredericton in about 1930, where she finished her education and became employed as a stenographer.  In 1947 she married Andrew William Skead, a game technician from Winnipeg.  This occupation had nothing to do with computers; rather, it was more like a game warden, where he saw to the health and protection of wildlife.

The two lived in Fredericton for many years and were longtime members of St. Paul's United Church in Fredericton.  They had four children.

Even after tracking down all this information I'm left wondering why they chose to be buried in such a small cemetery in cottage country.  Both her parents and her brother Reginald are buried in the larger St. John's Anglican Cemetery a few kilometers east.

However an essay in the June 17th 2013 edition of the Globe and Mail about her youngest brother Theodore mentions an "annual gathering of the clan on White's Cove" and "memories of the cottage and seafood cooking on the shore abound".  After visiting my brother's cottage and being warmly welcomed by several of his neighbours, I realized: perhaps that's why.  Families and friends in rural neighbourhoods tend to be closer and happier.

So whoever maintains that cemetery must have roots in the area and hasn't forgotten.

*This is a re-post from the blog A Writer's Workbench which has been removed by the author.

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