Our fourth day on the cruise and second stop was probably one of our two favorites cities on the trip. We knew absolutely nothing about St. John and for that reason we were pleasantly surprised by all we saw!
Our first stop was the public library. We had learned that the public library was close to the dock and they had free internet access. Princess Cruise line charges a minimum charge of 35 cents a minute. Now if you log on, and go through all the hoops to get to your e-mail, you can count on blowing several greenbacks before you see your mail. Wasn’t that important to me! Free sounded a lot better!
St John Public library was about 1 1/2 blocks from the cruise ship and a pleasant walk. It is in a mall that has WiFi throughout. St John is a progressive town, we were to find out! While waiting for my turn at a computer, we talked to a librarian for awhile. She told us how to get to the “Old Loyalist Burial Ground” up the street. Another helpful Canadian!
Walking through town on our way to above referenced cemetery, we came across this watering trough donated to the SPCA in 1882. It now appears to be a planter, but the structure has remained!
The walk to the graveyard gave us a chance to see some of the wonderful old architecture that has been preserved in this city. According to the proprietor of a bookstore I was in (of course!) she told me that when the cruise ships started coming to St John they started renovating the city and it has turned into the showcase it is today.The bank with red window awnings and the planter of flowers in front is also on the main street leading up to Kings Square, a virtual hub of activity! While we were there school children were passing through, elderly were sitting on benches watching and people were going through on their way to wherever it was they were going! We were told by a gentleman we met that the paths were laid out in the shape of a Union Jack by the Loyalists that settled in this area.Walking directly through the park takes you right into the Old Loyalist Burial Ground. What a treasure they have here! The Burial Ground fell into disrepair in the early 1900’s and through the efforts of the K.C. Irving family, it was restored into the beautiful serene, sanctuary it is today. For more information and exactly what was involved check out the website that the city of St John has on this. Dividing the old burial areas there are paved walks taking you through the park in whatever direction you are going. Each one is meticously crafted and all meet in the center, close to a beautiful fountain and benches. The first headstone we stopped to read belonged to Samuel Osborne who departed this life June 19th 1835 at the age of 42. The stone goes on to say that it commemorates the death of his wife and son Samuel. Notice the wife doesn’t have a name! The stone says either Samuel, the son, was drowned or both his wife and son were drowned. What impressed us was the care they had taken with this stone (and many others we were to discover) by bracing each side with steel bars, as shown in the picture below.
While we were sitting on the bench watching people go from here to there, a man walked up to us and started telling us about his city. He wanted to make sure we saw the sights in his city that he thought were important. He was right. We followed his agenda and went off the beaten path. But I digress, back to the cemetery. One of the things he pointed out was this headstone. He thought it was unusual in the fact that it gave their biographies and told how they died. This was another stone that was braced with steel on either side. It is remarkable how well the stones have stood the test of time and are still so readable.
Lies the bodies of Mrs
Freelove and Her Only
Child Charles who were
the Wife and son of Capt.
Thos. Elms and were un
fortunately drowned to
gether on the 8th day of
Sept. 1787 the Mother
in the 40th & the son in the
9th Year of their Ages.
Among all the tall, proud, old stone, this little one stood out. The gentleman we had met explained that most of the children’s stones were smaller, and most were usually in front of their parents. That was not the case in this instance. We could find no parent’s stone close by. It appears that Sarah Amelia Taylor died the day after her first birthday. How sad . . .This stone was braced by a newer and larger stone and some of it still remains. I could not tell who it belonged to, but probably at some time, not too long ago, it was still readable. I couldn’t help but take a picture of it. I was fascinated.
This stone covers the wife, two daughters and the only son of William Major. A lot of it is hard to read, including the year Isabella, the wife, died in. What I was wondering was if this was in chronological order. If not, how do you plan for all of these names on a headstone? Was it carved years later? Did they each have their own headstones at one time? From a distance it looks like chicken scratch; up close it is not much better.
Although the pictures of the headstones I’ve posted are relatively easy to read, there were quite a few headstones in this condition. Layers were flaking off or had already flaked off and the part that had once been carved has been lost to eternity. Yet the stone still stands as a tribute to one who has walked this earth in the past. There is beauty even in this condition.
To prove to us that we did see some colors, this tree seemed to beckon to my camera. We took this cruise thinking it was peak week (and it has been in years past!) and saw very few trees that were turning. . . until we got of the ship and were 1/2 hour from home!
The journey was not wasted, however! I found beauty in burial grounds, cemeteries and graveyards that others would not have.