Dorchester Pioneer Cemetery

Dorchester Pioneer Cemetery

Dorchester Pioneer Cemetery

The Dorchester Pioneer Cemetery, located at the base of the hill where the Dorchester Penitentiary now stands, houses a small collection of tombstones, mostly modern, despite its association with the area’s early settlers. A plaque at the site pays tribute to the early Methodist settlers who later established the United Church nearby.

Dorchester Pioneer Cemetery

Over the years, the cemetery had deteriorated with parts damaged or missing. However, in 2001, a restoration effort commenced. As part of a restorative justice program at the Westmorland Institution, 70 inmates chose to give back to the community by restoring the cemetery.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2001, the inmates diligently worked to restore the cemetery. They formed a planning committee, mapped out the site, catalogued and numbered each stone, and determined which sections to prioritize.

Gravestones Dorchester Pioneer Cemetery

The inmates used an acid wash, cleaned the stones with wire brushes and steam, used dental picks on the lettering, and finally coated them with a clear epoxy as a preservative. In many cases, steel rods were drilled through the stones to hold them together, while in other cases the bases had to be completely redone so they could stand upright once again.

Five inmates worked full time during the day while the rest worked evenings and weekends – more than 2000 hours over a six-month period. Over a six-month period, five inmates worked full time during the day, while the others worked evenings and weekends, totaling over 2,000 hours.

Dorchester Pioneer Cemetery

In the fall of 2001, the village of Dorchester honored the inmates at Westmorland’s gym. The Historical Society presented each inmate with a Heritage Circle Award, and the inmates reciprocated by giving them a compact disc and a book detailing the entire project.

Following this successful restoration, inmates have undertaken other projects in the village, such as the restoration of St. James Church and its transformation into a textile museum.

This post has already been read 2221 times!

3 thoughts on “Dorchester Pioneer Cemetery

  1. There is an older cemetery located in Dorchester located at bottom of hill that leads to Palmers pond and local indigenous reserves. Many of the Dorchester Palmers are located there and a proliferation of magnificent tombstones tell many stories of Dorchester settlement and the sailing and tall ship manufacturers at Dorchester by settlers like the Palmers, Chandlers, etc.

  2. I have numerous relatives buried in this cemetery dating back to its inception. How or who can I get in touch with to get the list of names of those buried there? My Family originally comes from Johnson Mills.
    My Ph # – 454-7464

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »