I always had a curiosity about this old cemetery often referred to as the Pioneer Cemetery. A number of people suggested to me that the names (as far as can be determined) might be of interest to readers of the Blog. Then Norma Day sent a church bulletin to me which included a call for volunteers to come forward and assist in cleaning the cemetery up.


It was then that I contacted Tony King originally from this area who I met in the military and who is presently living in B.C. Tony is a descendant of the original owners of  the land on which the cemetery is located. I have included some of his input and general comments below.

















Note: This is a copy of a document from 1820 which signed off the property from the King family to the Catholic Church to be used for a cemetery. Note there are some restrictions attached, some that are not honoured today.








                                       Deed Book “F”   Page 63 and 64


Alexis King/The Missionary Catholic Priest Deed of Convey ce Bras D’Or



                This indenture made the tenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty between Alexis King of Little Bras D’or in the Island of Cape Breton yeoman on the one part and the missionary Roman Catholic priest and Church Wardens in the French Village Little Bras D’or aforesaid Island aforesaid on the other part witness that for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings current money of the Island of Cape Breton aforesaid to the said Alexis King in hand by the said missionary priest and Church wardens at or before the sealing and delivering of these presents the receipt whereof the said Alexis King doth hereby acknowledge and confess he the said Alexis King granted bargained sold aliened conveyed and confirmed and by these presents doth grant bargain sell alien convey and confirm unto the said missionary priest and Church warden and their successors in office two acres of land at the north(east) boundary of his lot of land being No 3 on the South side of Little Bras D’or Lake and is known by the name Spring Grove/on which the Roman Catholic Church is now erected the boundary on the East end of the Church to be twenty four yards distant from the end of said Church and to run on a parallel direction with the end of the church to the shore together with all and singular the premises and every part and parcel thereof and all the estate rights and title interest claim or demand which were is now or pretended to be of the said Alexis King or his heirs of in and to the said two acres of land and every part and parcel thereof to have and to hold the said premises and every part and parcel thereof with the appurtenances unto the said missionary priest and Church wardens and to their successors in office and (to) their proper use and behoof and the said Alexis King for himself and his heirs by these presents doth convey……………………………


Pg 64

Engage and agree to and with the said Missionary Priest and Church Warden and their successors that he the said Alexis King and hath full power and lawful authority to grand bargain sell alien convey and confirm the aforesaid premises unto the said Missionary Priest and Church Warden and to their successors and the same and every part and parcel thereof with the appurtenances thereunto belonging to the said Alexis king for himself his heirs executors and administrators against him and them and against all and every person and persons whatsoever unto the said Missionary Priest and Church Wardens and their successors in office, shall and will warrant and for each defend by these presents in witness wherof the parties to these presents have hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals at William Wood Little Bras D’Or in the Island of Cape Breton the twelfth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty.


Signed sealed and delivered in presence                                                         Alexis  +   King

Of  W. Gammell J.P.                                                                                        mark

Rob Gammell                                                                                                       Wm. Dollard for

                                                                                                                Myself and Church Wardens


Ent on record, on the oath of W. Gammel a subscribing witness 30th June 1820 Jas. Crowdley





Church records in Bras d’Or weren’t kept till 1927 so a lot of people buried in that cemetery do not have a record or headstone.

I know my own great greats buried there…no stone…as well as Bernie’s great grandfather ..again no stone.


Norma (Day)



Little Bras d’Or, Cape Breton County, NS

6 August 1997

From Trans Canada 105, take exit 18 at Bras d’Or corner. The new Bras d’Or Elementary School is located at Bras d’Or corner and the diagonally opposite corner has a campground. Bear west towards Georges River, passing the campground. Proceed 1.5 km. A good gravel road branches to both south and north; turn right or north, proceed ½ km, keeping straight ahead. The cemetery is at the shore.

Recorded 5 August 1997 by R. Fraser. Note that many stones were very weathered and difficult to read. Any errors are mine.


James J___il   [on a cement cross on shore to east]



Mrs D MM [symbol of cross on stone]



M J MN [symbol of cross on stone]



J A Alphonso, son of Capt John and MaryAnn Arsenault,

d 8 [   ] 1897   age [??]


John W Garfield 8 Oct 1894- 5 June 1905

John D Henry 8 Dec 1889 – 22 May 1905

Children of John and MaryAnn Arsenault of Little Bras d’Or



John W T, infant son of William and Minnie Barrie,

died at Sydney Mines 20 April 1906 age 6 mths



Alexander Beaton 24 Feb 1899 age 73 yrs


Neil Beaton 24 Sept 1901   age 34 yrs



Laura J Beckwith 25 Jan 1876- 4 Aug 1963



William Bourcue 3 July 1913   age 38 years

In memory of my husband



David Broderick 23 July 1906 age 56 yrs


John Broderick 7 July 1904 age 40 yrs 11 mths 8 days

Wife Mary 18 April 1903 age 36 yrs


Richard James Broderick 6 July 1907 age 27 yrs


William Broderick 16 Jan 1901 age 81 yrs

Wife Hanora 11 Sept 1899 age 80 yrs

Erected by their daughters Johanna and Mary Broderick



Thomas Calvez 3 Dec 1901 age 18 yrs 7 mths 7 days



Anthony Cannon [Gannon?] 68 yrs

[stone broken]



Rebecca Caroline, wife of William Cantfill, d 1894



Alexandra 15 July 1870- 1 April 1893   age 23 yrs

Son of John & Barbara Carey



Angus Chisholm 2 Feb 1904   age 75 yrs



Children of N Codes, Native of Co Wexford

Florence 1 July 1822 age 12 yrs

John [stone broken and partly buried] age 2 yrs



Patrick Cokely 1825- 1900



Patrick Collins born Big Baddeck

1 June 1839- 31 Aug 1906



Mary A MacKay, wife of Simon Daley of South Bar, CB,

23 Sept 1896 age 75 yrs

Erected by her daughter



John Day 11 March 1894 age 74 yrs


Mary, his wife, 15 Oct 1885   age 52 yrs


Mary Peck   16 Oct 1889   age 85 yrs

John Peck 9 June 1885   age 47 yrs



Ann Moore, wife of Edward Devoe, 3 March 1913 age 88 yrs


Charlotte, wife of Peter DesVeaux, 24 May 1910 age 75 yrs


Charles Devoe 6 May 1899   age 63 yrs


Elizabeth, wife of Fred Devoe, 16 Nov 1914 age 32 yrs

[stone broken]


Ellen Jane 1882

Thomas Patrick 1888

John Thomas 1889- 1891

Children of John & Emeline DeVoe


Emily E, dau of Peter & Charlotte Desveau,

21 Sept 1875 age 8 mths 6 days


John Peter, son of Simon & Margaret Des Vaux,

13 April 1890 age 26 years


Mary Elizabeth, child of Capt Simon & Margaret Devoe,

20 June 1903 age 18 years


Capt Peter Des Veaux 31 March 1899 age 66 yrs


Wm James, son of Simon & Margaret Des Vaux,

drowned 28 June 1887   age 13 years



James Diggins died at Sydney Mines 28 April 1914 age 69 yrs



Daniel Donoghue, Native of Dunmanway Co Cork Ireland

24 Nov 1842 or 1892   age 38 yrs


Mary Driscoll, wife of Daniel Donaghue,

Native of Dunmanway Ireland 4 April 1889 age 80 yrs


Cornelius Donaghue 26 Feb 1894 age 60 yrs



Andrew James Dugas 12 Nov 1885 age 30 yrs



Henry Dunlap 20 Nov 1880   age 52 yrs

Also other members of the Dunlap Family

Erected by Mrs Mary Dunlap



Mabel, wife of Frank Edmunds, 13 Dec 1911 age 23 yrs

Also their son Bernard Francis 26 Nov 1911 aged 7 mths



James W Edwards 3 Jan 1911   age 53 yrs


John Edwards 6 May 1913

Wife Ellen 16 June 1912   age 76 yrs


Louis Russell, child of James W & Mary A Edwards,

31 Aug 1903 or 1908   age 4 mths



John Flemming   11 Jan 1888   age 85 yrs


John Henry, eldest son of Mary A & David Flemming,

6 April 1889   age 3 yrs 2 mo


Michael Flemming 6 Feb 1917 age 87 yrs

Wife Isabella 21 Feb 1912 age 75 yrs



William Hartigan b May [18?] 18??  d 1 Nov 186[3?]

Wife Jane Fraser 2 Jan 18[2?]1   – [?] April 1881[?]


Henry McGowan 27 July 18??  Age 62 yrs


Jane McGowan, wife of Ale[x] [Fr]aser, age 67 yrs

Tho[   ] [F]raser d [???] 1867 age [3?]3 yrs



Thomas Howley 26 July 1903 age 74 yrs

Wife Annie 15 April 1903 age 64 yrs



Eugene Augustus, son of Augustus and Catherine Jannet,

19 Oct 1861 age 4 yrs 7 mths 15 days



Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Jessome, 19 Dec 1912 age 75 yrs


Hilda Pearl, dau of Charles and Mary M Jessome,

24 Jan 1903- 17 Dec 1904


James Jesseau 4 Jan 1907 age 26 yrs

Erected by his wife


Simon E, son of Thomas and Emma Jessome,

13 Oct 1904 age 18 yrs


William Henry Jessome    5 Aug 1880- 30 Aug 1913

Erected by his wife


Willina Jessome 8 Feb 1918 age 17

Erected by her mother



Catherine, dau of Joseph and Emma Keagan,

15 March 1906 age 1 year



Lawrence Kehoe 8 Nov 1887 age 77 yrs

Wife Caroline 7 June 1914 age 95 yrs



Henry King, his wife Bridget,

Family Ellen Jane, Hubert


Richard Molloy



Lena, dau of Mr and Mrs John LeBlanc,

1911 age 17 yrs 6 mths


Mary, wife of Capt Peter LeBlanc,

15 Nov 1888 age 36 yrs



Mrs Margaret Livingston   19 Sept 1911   age 70 yrs



Mary Long, dau of George Long of Ireland Co Wicklow,

d Sept 18[91]?   Age 8 yrs



In memory of parents

Jeremiah      &   Ellen McCarthy

d July [?] 1878?   d 2 July 1865?  



Rev Hugh McDonald, Native of Antigonish, NS

who after 18 years of missionary labors in the Diocese

of Arichat fell asleep in the Lord A D 1865



[Robert Jerome]? , son of Laura & Daniel McGrath,

6 July 1911 age 14 yrs 4 mths   [stone broken]



Andrew McKinnon born at Dhalbrog South Uist Scotland

22 Jan 1906 age 72 yrs


Andrew A McKinnon 9 Nov 1911 age 30 yrs


Annie, wife of Daniel N McKinnon, 25 Nov 1902 age 61 yrs


Daniel A, son of Allan and Lizzie McKinnon,

27 June 1907 age 28 yrs


Donald McKinnon born in South Uist Scotland

30 May 1908 age 74 yrs


Frank McKinnon 24 Dec 1907 age 21 yrs [stone broken]


Margaret Beaton, wife of Donald McKinnon of Georges River, CB,

29 June 1902 age 69 yrs


Margaret McCormick, wife of Andrew McKinnon,

died at Scotch Lake 7 June 1917 age 72 yrs


Mary A King, wife of John H McKinnon,

31 March 1904 age 45 yrs


Son of John L & Ellen MacKinnon

25 Aug 1906   age 4 yrs 6 mths



Mary Campbell, wife of John MacLeod,

20 March 1902 age 66 yrs

Their son Neil McLeod 15 May 1902 age 24 yrs


Catherine Beaton, wife of John McLeod,

6 Dec 1916 age 52 yrs

John McLeod 1 May 1925 age 87 yrs



Margaret 18 May 1894 age 3 mths

Daniel 28 Nov 1895   age 3 days

Children of Alex & Frances MacNeil

Alex 3 April 1913 age 1 yr 7 mths,

Son of Daniel & Bridget MacNeil


Neil A 3 March 1909 age 3 yrs 1 mth

Laura May 3 March 1909 age 2 yrs

Children of John and Lizzie McNeil



Ellen and Murdoch Matheson Jr


Ellen Phalen, wife of Murdoch Matheson, 1845- 1920


Murdoch Matheson 16 Feb 1835- 30 Aug 1895



Ellen Molloy, relict of late Richard Molloy,

10 Dec 1886 age 85 yrs

Native of Carbonear, NFLD


Richard Molloy, native of St Mary’s Newfoundland

22 July 1874 age 76 yrs



Thomas Neale,   Native of Balinapierce Co Wexford Ireland

24 Apr 1871   age 75 yrs



Daniel O’Handley 19 July 1909 age 45 yrs



Hanorah, dau of Timothy Sullivan, wife of John O’Toole,

born at Sydney Mines 28 March 1849 Died 12 Nov 1909


Annie Sullivan, wife of William O’Toole, 

24 Oct 1922 age 65 yrs



In memory of WilliaM O MER[weathered away]

Who died April 1872 age [8 or 2]3



Margaret Mary, child of Walter and Catherine Pendergrast,

9 Oct 1914 age 2 mths



Alexandre Jean Petitpas 1884- 1953

Wife Rebecca 1885- 1972



Catherine Phalen 13 May 1840- 25 Jan 1916

Hannah V Phalen 17 Nov 1851- 2 April 1938


Honorah K Phalen born Carlow Co near New Ross Ireland

14 Nov 1808- 25 Jan 1879 A model of care and industry

Judith Phalen 20 Oct 1864 age 34 yrs




Michael Phalen 21 Nov 1842- 26 March 1916

Wife Rebecca Fitzgerald 17 March 1846- 18 Aug 1922


John J 27 Jan 1908 age 25 yrs

Catherine F 9 Sept 1907 age 16 yrs

Patrick R 27 Nov 1883 age 12 yrs

Children of Thos and Margaret Phalen


Thomas Phelan 16 May 1913 age 66 yrs

Wife Margaret 21 April 1927 age 75


Thomas Phalen,   Native of Kilkenney Ireland

27 March 1876   age 82 yrs



Bridget Plant 11 March 1888 – 16 June 1888



Daniel Quinn 12 Nov 1920 age 87 yrs

Wife Ellen Carey 13 Sept 1899 age 63 yrs


John Quinn 29 March 1921 age 83 yrs


Margaret, wife of John Quinn, 28 Feb 1911 age 64 yrs



Peter Rasmussen   22 Oct 1913 age 54 yrs

In memory of my husband



Ada Reashor 29 Nov 1906 age 22 yrs 9 mths


Angelioue, wife of Richard Reshore,

Native of Bourgeois River, CB 22 Sept 1886 age 76 yrs


Ellen Jane, dau of John and Rachel Richaur,

27 March 1904 age 25 yrs 2 mths 20 days


John Richard 8 May 1920 age 78 yrs

Wife Rachael 16 Dec 1922 age 80 yrs


Margaret Alice, dau of John and Rachel Richaur,

26 Dec 1915 age 31 yrs 9 mths


William Xavier, son of James and Margaret Reashor,

5 Jan 1906 age 2 yrs 7 mths



Maurice Roach 27 Oct 1880- 20 April 1906,

Son of Thomas and Ellen Roach



Ronald Ronan d March 1859 age [20]? Yrs

[stone in 3 pieces]



Mae McLeod, wife of W Ryan, 1857- 1920

Their son George 1887- 1920


William Ryan 16 May 1904 age 72 yrs

His dau Mrs Roderick MacDougall 21 Feb 1896 age 21 yrs


Dau Mary Ryan 28 April 1908 age 25 yrs

John Ryan 15 Oct 1899 age 9 yrs



Hubert Elmor, son of Mary L & John B Serroul,

10 April 1914 age [2]? Yrs 5 mths



Annie, dau of Cornelius and Annie Sullivan

21 May 1910 age 36 yrs


Ann Keating, wife of Cornelius Sullivan,

 Native of Co Carlow Ireland   27 July 1888   age 74 yrs


Bridget, wife of Thomas Sullivan,

Native of Co Cork   Ireland

29 Jany 1911   age 97 yrs


Cornelius Sullivan, Native of Co Cork Ireland

29 June 1877   age 80 yrs


Dennis Sullivan, a Native of Co Kerry Ireland

31 Dec 1890   age 75 yrs

Wife Mary Sullivan 26 July 1911   age 86 yrs


Jeremiah Sullivan [12]?  June 18[72]?   Age 71

Wife Mary d   22nd [?] [????]   age 67 yrs

Ann Sullivan born County Cork Ireland 

2 Oct [1885]?   age 55


Mary Sullivan, wife of Timothy Sullivan, died 1906[?]

[stone broken]


Michael Sullivan, Native of Kerry Co Ireland

30 Jan 1890   age 77 yrs

Wife Mary, Native of Cork Co Ireland

20 Aug 1899 age 84 yrs


Patrick Sullivan 16 Jan 1889 age   35 yrs

Wife Alice 25 Nov 1889 age 34 yrs

Son Dennis 16 Jan 1895 age 15 yrs


Thomas   21 Sept 1840- 22 May 1865

James 5 Aug 1852- 13 Sept 18[67]?

Dennies [?] July [????] – 30 May 1871

Sons of Mary & Michael Sullivan


Thomas Sullivan, a Native of Tralee Co Kerry Ireland

5 April 1895   age 86 yrs


Timothy Sullivan 27 Feb 1890 age 76 yrs

Native of Cork, Ireland



William Francis Swan, son of James & Bridget Swan,

30 Nov 1885- 25 Jan 1900



La douce memoire d’une mere dont les enfants pleurent avec

l’esperance de la revoir au ciel

Dame David Theriault decedee le 28 Nov 1912 a l’age de 88 ans


Moses Vaters 5 April 1913 age 26 yrs


John Walsh 8 June 1904 88 yrs

Wife Charlotte 19 Oct 1902 age 82 yrs


Josephine Jesso, wife of Robert Williams,

7 May 1912 age 27 yrs


Daniel Young 10 Nov 1911 age 68 yrs

Wife Mary Ann 3 Aug 1897 age 50 yrs


John Joseph Young 17 July 1922 age 74 yrs


Julia, wife of Gabriel Young, age 66 yrs

Also her dau Agnes 31 March 1901 age 32 yrs

Michael, son of Gabriel and Julia Young, 4 Jan 1906 age 32 yrs


Ellen, wife of James Young, 12 March 1902 age 65 yrs

[stone broken]





The  Pioneer Cemetery.  It is known by me and
by a number of other family members as the “King family
cemetery”.   I believe the land is currently referred to as the Burchell
property but originaly, it belonged to my g-g-grandfather Alexander
King.  He transferred title to it to the “missionary Roman Catholic
Priest and the Church Wardens…” for a sum of 5 shillings on 12 May
1820.  Not unlike current day transferring a title for the sum of one
dollar.  The property was part of lot # 3 and  came into the King
family sometime around 1770 – interestingly – there are still King
descendants of the original owner (Charles King) living on the property
today.  Most of the Kings from back then were blacksmiths and my great
grandfather Charles and his brother Henry both had forges operating
there through the mid 1800’s and into the early 1900’s.  Apparently
great grandfather Charles used the fleur-de-lis as his trademark and put
it on quite a bit of the iron work that he built while an active
blacksmith.  Some of that is still visible in the Pioneer Cemetery. 
Unfortunately, most of the “markers” have disappeared from the graves so
it is next to  impossible to identify any King graves.  There is a
marker there for Henry and Bridget but I don’t think it marks their
gravesite.  That was erected sometime in the 50’s ,from what I’m told,
and was put there by family members as a token of honour and respect to
their ancestors.
             Considering that, back in those days – late 1700’s, formal
cemeteries weren’t the norm – most people just buried their dead on
their own property.  I believe that is what happened in this case but,
with that group(Kings, LeJeunes, Marsh etc etc) being so close, the site
was opened to any and all who wanted to use it.  The logical thing, in
my mind, was for the property to be turned over to the church and made
into a “proper” cemetery.
             I don’t know if there is anything in this that you could
use, George, but I do have copies of the land indentures should they be
of help.  Also have a copy of a land transfer from Alexander to his
daughter (via John Leo her husband) in which he excludes the above named
piece of property along with the road leading to the site and he
specifies that that road is given to the church wardens under the
understanding that it would not be used for vehicle/wagon/cart traffic
but only foot traffic!!  That just happens to be the road in to the
Burchell property today – wonder what would happen if someone pushed
that clause in the land transfer!!
             Hope this gives you a bit of an idea as to my knowledge of
the Pioneer Cemetery – don’t hesitate to fire back with any questions
that you think I may be able to answer.  Norma told me about the notice
in the church bulletin re cleaning up the cemetery and I’m all for that
– they can call it whatever they want – just so that the place is
available to the general public forever.


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