Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog – Quebec, Canada
I want to share with you an eerie yet lovely local treasure we discovered in the quaint little town of Chelsea, a 15 minute drive from our home; just in time for Halloween. Forgive me for squeezing it in between posts on Bulgaria.
One day after a particularly long hike in the Gatineau Hills, we decided to stop at Luigi’s for dinner. It’s close to St. Stephen’s Church in Chelsea. And in the fall the colours are superb there.
When we arrived things were busy, and even with our order placed “to go” there was a good 15-20 minute wait. This pizza is worth the wait … but what to do in the meantime? Back outside (no dogs inside), we looked for some of the chairs they have in the dog friendly garden out front, but all the seats were taken. So we went to see if there were any spots out back and … imagine our surprise when we found… a very… very… old cemetery. Not the main cemetery we knew… but a small hidden one.
Now we had something to do! A mini (if macabre) adventure waited. We first stopped and read the history of the old Protestant cemetery.
Then past the old and rather striking wrought-iron gate.
We then walked quietly and respectfully around the cemetery trying to find some of its more famous residence.
We found the spot where Mr. Thomas Wright (died 1802) was buried. He was one of the founders of Hull – the town where we live – now called Gatineau.
We also found…
Then as we got to the very back we discovered … a TRAIL! Who knew there was a trail back there? Sure enough there it was, complete with a little river and large beautiful trees. We did not follow the path all the way because by this time we knew our Pizza was waiting. But we WILL return and see where it leads and report back.
As we drove home (the car smelling divine as the steam from our dinner leached out from its cardboard box prison), I could not help wonder; for Luigi and the B&B that flank it’s entrance, what is it like to have a cemetery out back of your business? I imagined it must be a challenge or perhaps it’s a good thing with fun ghost stories to lure in folks that like that sort of thing.
I also wondered who the grounds keeper was? Because the grass was cut and the place seemed to be under someone’s care. There were even perennials in bloom and wild thyme near some headstones.
Once home and happily digesting my share of pizza, I tried to find the answers to my questions. I found nothing online about ghosts, but I did find out that volunteers from a genealogical society had undertaken the difficult task of figuring out who owned the land. Apparently this search took years as inheritance of cemetery property is rather convoluted it seems. In any case, the land now belongs to the Municipality of Chelsea. They are the ones that had the great bilingual (English and French) signs made at the entrance that tells visitors like ourselves of the cemeteries history. It’s the villages oldest burial ground, and the final resting place of many of the areas founding fathers. I am glad the genealogical society fought so hard to preserve it.
Have you ever stumbled upon an odd discovery like this? Please share your story in the comments below!