Letter re Old Methodist Cemetery in Peterborough

COPYRIGHT (c) 2018 Michael Stephenson

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“Uncle Dudley” States that the Burial Ground has been allowed to fall into a Disgraceful Condition, and that the Authorities should take some action.


“Beautify the City” yes, “Beautify the City” is a familiar heading to Peterborough readers.

This newspaper has been advocating this for some time and the suggestion has been heard in regard to improving the central part of this large and prosperous burg, but the outlying parts are painfully neglected as yet. If any citizen wishes the strongest possible evidence of this fact let him step out to George street and proceed to the northern terminus of the aforesaid street and fix his gaze in the direction of the Nicholls Hospital. Adjoining the well kept grounds of the grand institution he will see a two-acre grove of pines, birches and oaks, over-run with locusts, lilacs, poison ivy, and all manner of weeds and spreading plants.

Scattered over this wilderness are tombstones-some standing in their proper places, some fallen down, some broken, and some carried away to other parts of the field. A few years ago this lot was grown up with locust underbrush which was bashed down and thrown up into heaps and remained there till a second crop has now reached a height of four feet. It was always a menace to surrounding property in dry weather, but fortunately a fire started in the grass a few weeks ago and swept these old heaps away. At any time during, the two weeks following this fire, a grand improvement could have been made at very little expense. Another opportunity has been allowed to pass.

That’s the late history of what is commonly know as the Old Methodist Cemetery-Peterborough’s disgrace.

The really strange part of the situation is the fact that this cemetery is under the supervision of the trustees of one of the largest congregations in our city. It should be distinctly understood that the responsibility of these same trustees in this matter did not cease when the cemetery was no longer as used as a burial plot. During the last year these same gentlemen have been approached-in a quiet and business like way and requested to make some improvement-but they always say “yes, yes” we’ll see about that. We’re going to do something. As the private method has failed to give results this public statement had become necessary although it is to be regretted that such is the case.

Another point worth mentioning is the fact that many of the pioneers of this district-the men and women who made the early history of this vicinity-were laid to rest in this graveyard which is under discussion. And furthermore that some of their descendents are living an easy life with never a thought of the condition of the graves of their deceased friends. This class also has a share of the responsibility in this business and unless they get busy pretty soon it will be somebody’s duty to publish a list of names.

It is generally understood that aldermen are elected to see to all the interests of the community and these neglected spots should surely receive some attention from the city fathers.

It is well that a good programmer is provided on public holidays to keep the visitors in the central part of the city lest they carry away an unfavorable report of our suburban districts.

There is in this city an organization with a big name. The Peterborough Horticultural Society-and supposed to have an eye for the beautiful. If its members wish to exercise their powers the opportunity is shaking hands with them.

By this time the photographers and the members of the Camera Club will have replenished their supply of photo’s and films after the monster military demonstration and will be looking for new outdoors subjects. If they visit the old cemetery they can secure some “Jungle Scenes” quite easily.

With all these interests focused on the same object surely something can be done immediately. If the present condition is allowed to continue for another year the cost of clearing the plot will be almost doubled. It’s “Now or Never’ and the proper sign is “Do it Now”. Probably some arrangement can be made with the Trustee board of Nicholls Hospital to take over this

undesirable lot and improve it. Whether this shall be made into a park or still continue to be “God’s Acre” cane be decided on later-but the all important point is to get the work started at once.

Believing that “Peterborough means Progress” and thanking you, Mr. Editor for this opportunity of saying out loud “Beautify the City”

I am as ever,


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