Lonely stones: caring for the Townships’ orphan cemeteries

Staff Writer

It is not unusual, driving along the back roads of the Eastern Townships, to come across an old cemetery in the middle of otherwise open countryside. The old white stones stand like crooked teeth, worn by weather and time and creeping with lichens and moss. Where some might not even turn their heads as they drive right by, an increasing number of groups and organizations have growing concerns about the heritage that these burial grounds embody and the question of who will be looking out for the sites as time goes on.

Sheila Allan, President of the Megantic County Historical Society, explained that the MCHS has taken on the basic care and maintenance of nine different local “orphaned” cemeteries from a variety of religious backgrounds because the families and communities connected to them most closely have all died off or moved away.

“We took this on many years ago as a project because there’s nobody to look after (the cemeteries).” Allan said. “Something has to be done; they have to be taken care of.”

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