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.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

St. Stephen’s Church in Chelsea

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.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Yep — stellar.

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.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

A lot of well known names there!

Then past the old and rather striking wrought-iron gate.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Loving the details and workmanship

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Here we Go!

We then walked quietly and respectfully around the cemetery trying to find some of its more famous residence.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Quiet Please

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Chained? Really?

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Haunting

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.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Mr. Wright

We also found…

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Meech Lake is Named after this Family!

And…

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Beautiful Headstone

And…

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Loving the Handshake!

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.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Oooh a trail!

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Always like the sound of water…

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.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Well Kept Grounds!

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.

Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog - Quebec, Canada

Glad it is all safe!

Have you ever stumbled upon an odd discovery like this? Please share your story in the comments below!

8 Comments on “Visiting Chelsea’s Old Protestant Cemetery With a Dog – Quebec, Canada

  1. I can’t tell you any ghost stories, even as it is Halloween.

    During our trip in Romania, we found also an old abandoned cemetery, but without any further information or village nearby. I have lost the location and I have only 1 picture of it, because in 2002 a digital camera had very little storage capacity, so we had to be very careful what to photograph.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/herbert_hli/10591758323/

    But not far from where I live, in Antwerp (Belgium) we have a famous and old cemetery, called ‘Het Schoonselhof’.
    As there are many impressive graves, some like a little bit as the graves you visited, it is now cultural heritage.

    Not only well known people from Antwerp are buried, but there is also a little Commonwealth War Grave, as Antwerp was liberated by Canadian soldiers during World War II.

    Here are some links with further information:

    http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2024000/SCHOONSELHOF%20CEMETERY

    http://www.schoonselhof.be/schoonselhofrand/history.html

    http://www.uitvaartvlaanderen.be/artikels/Schoonselhof.php
    There are pictures, but the text is only in Dutch and is a summary of the text of the link above)

    • Silent guardians of history. I think that is what cemeteries are too many people. Ever notice how peaceful they are… when death isn’t always?

      Thank you for all these links. This is fantastic! and something to add should we visit your area some day! Thank you for taking the time to share all this information with us and our other readers. 

  2. I admit I’m drawn to cemeteries. I’m interested in history and in the northeastern US, there are a good many historical cemeteries. I stumbled across one in Boston that had the grave of someone born in 1599. You can also infer some of the sad family histories—a husband and wife with the graves of their 7 infants and the men next to the graves of 3 wives all of whom died at ages compatible with dying in childbirth. Then the are some cemeteries with beautiful funeary sculpture like the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    • I first got to visit an old old cemetery in Tuscany – not far from Florence. It was … an art gallery of sculpture. The cemeteries in Paris are also amazing with “big names” to visit – but it is the dog cemetery I want to see next time we go. I am told the one in Vienna is really awesome too. There is one in New Orleans I am itching to discover as well.

      Just like the ones you shared, I think it’s the stories they tell so silently that draws everyone in. :)

      And… now I am off to Google the Recoleta Cemetery.

  3. Very cool little man….love the pics. It makes me wonder what else you will find on the trail when you go back to check it out…very exciting.

  4. What a beautiful site! I love old cemeteries. I would love to visit this one if we get to come back to Ottawa. Lovely post! Thanks.

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