Loyalist Township

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Lutheran Union Cemetery

Lutheran Union Cemetery is located at 1506 Ham Road and is one of the oldest European cemeteries in the Bay of Quinte area. The cemetery was already in use by the 1790's with the first known minister, Reverend John Wigant.

The early burial sites had fieldstone rolled onto the grave; some had painted names or initials scratched onto the stones - now worn away, others had wooden markers. With the opening of the Rideau Canal, stonecutters moved to the area and families would commission them to carve a memorial to relatives who had died years earlier. An example is that of Mary Laughlin,  1760 - 1796, whose marker was placed by her children.

In 1819, an acre was designated as a cemetery and three denominations used the church building erected about the same time. The Lutheran, Presbyterian and Wesleyan Methodist congregations took turns holding services for over 60 years until the Lutheran congregation dwindled and the church was given to the Methodists. St. Peter's Church became the Union Church, burned in 1932, rebuilt in 1937 and again destroyed.

The cemetery runs alongside Mill Creek and contains many fine examples of well carved headstones including mourning scenes. One of the earliest stones is dated 1814 and lists many United Empire Loyalists and later generations. "The cemetery is a pilgrimage site for descendants of the first European settlers in Ontario" and an inventory of the surviving markers is maintained in the Lennox and Addington Museum in Napanee.

Some transcriptions and photographs of headstones can be found at www.findagrave.com.