Cemetery notes and/or description: Located at corner of Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road, in downtown Halifax. Saint Mary's Basilica is across the street on the north side and St. Paul's Church is on another side of the cemetery.
Established in 1749 as a common nondenominational burial ground, located along the southern wall of the city, it was the first. burial ground in Halifax. Many members of the founding families of Halifax, as well as men from the British army and the Royal Navy, are buried here. The graveyard was granted to St. Paul's Church (Canada's oldest Anglican Church) in 1793. Over 12,000 individuals were buried here during the 95 years of active service, although there are less than 1200 foot and headstones presently intact. Many people were buried without markers, especially those who were poor or who died during the various epidemics. The early grave stones were hand carved on slate imported from Massachusetts Bay. After the American Revolution, local carvers used indigenous slate, called ironstone, and later sandstone. The cemetery closed in 1844, with new burials conducted at the Camp Hill Cemetery located a few blocks away.
The oldest marked grave is dated 1752, for two-year old Malachi Salter Jr. The most famous grave may be for General Robert Ross, who was responsible for the burning of Washington during the war of 1812. Captain Lawrence of the USS Chesapeake, whose dying words were "Don't give up the ship", during an encounter with HMS Shannon off Boston Harbor, was buried here with his 1st Lt. Ludlow. Their bodies were removed in 1813 when an American brig flying a flag of truce arrived at Halifax to retrieve the fallen heros. Capt Lawrence's body was reinterred at Trinity Church, N.Y.
The Sebastopol memorial, more commonly known as the Welsford-Parker memorial, was erected in 1855 at the cemetery entrance. It was built in honor of two Haligonians, Major A.F. Welsford and Captain William Parker, both killed during the battle of Redan during the Crimean War. The lion at the top represents the bravery of those who died during the war. George Laing is accredited with the construction of this monumnet; he also built the Halifax Federal Building which is now the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
The cemetery has survived two world wars, the devastating 1917 explosion, Hurricane Juan, and brutal winters. It was restored in the mid 1980's to combat vandalism and erosion, and is now an outdoor museum and park. The site is maintained by the Old Burying Ground Society, who was responsible for the restoration of the cemetery and the many didactic panels situated throughout the cemetery. Grave rubbings are not permitted.