Fact-finding in Fernhill
Fernhill Cemetery spans three centuries of burials
By Ruby M. Cusack
Winter seemed to be lasting forever so Cliff and I really appreciated this sunny Saturday with mild temperatures. But our playing in the snow was put on hold as Dad suggested it would be a great day for us to take the can of Brasso and shine the brass on the harnesses.
We sat on overturned nail kegs and rubbed and rubbed until we could almost see our faces in the shiny bells and ornamental decorations. All this labour and the harsh odor of the brass polish made us thirsty. Luckily the wooden puncheon that served as a watering trough for the horses was by the stable door. I put my hands to my face to keep my straight hair from getting in my way as I leaned over the tub and drank from the spout of the pipe. The cold spring water tasted some good to us, even though Mum thought it was not very sanitary to be drinking from a rusty water pipe in the barn.
Children visiting Fernhill Cemetery were able to get their drinks from the stream of water running down from the goat head spouts on the decorative cast iron Ruel fountain. The fountain had been placed there by James Rhodes Ruel in 1895 in memory of his wife Sophia and son Ernest. The obituary of Mr. Ruel in March of 1900 states. . "He was interested in many good works, and always showed a generous spirit in helping those whom he felt needed assistance. This was done in an ostentatious way. No matter what he undertook to do he showed much persistency in carrying out the undertaking. His connection with Fernhill is an example of this. Under his management the place has been remodeled and beautified so that the burial place of the dead is robbed of many of its horrors by beautiful walks, blooms, etc., and it may well be said, 'in the place of death there is life, beauty and joy'.... ".
James Ruel also presented the cemetery with twenty elm trees to be planted near the main entrance and under his presidency the system of Perpetual Care was adopted.
The first burial in the Saint John Rural Cemetery, as Fernhill was called in the beginning years, was 153 years ago when Georgenna Campbell was interred in lot 10 on Spruce Avenue on March 8, 1848. Since that time about 38,300 people have been buried in this cemetery. The burials in Fernhill have spanned three centuries, thus tombstones reflect the changing times and styles and will continue to do so as new ones are erected as memorials to those who will rest in peace in this quiet setting during the twenty first century.
Over the years, the Cemetery Office has recorded internments and other information concerning the deceased on Lot Cards. Copies of these can be purchased. I have solved many a genealogical mystery by using the Lot Cards. Fernhill has kept up with modern day recording and their burial records can be quickly found on a computerized database.
A handout titled "Fernhill Cemetery Walking Tour" has been compiled
and is available for the asking at the Fernhill Office. It gives a brief
history of the cemetery, pertinent information on points of interest of the
cemetery as well as information on a number of individuals who are buried
in this park-like graveyard.
the website of Fernhill Cemetery
Ruel: I am seeking information on my great grandfather, James Rhodes Ruel, who died in March of 1900. He superintended the extension and improvement of Fernhill Cemetery as well as donating an ornate fountain in memory of his wife Sophia and son Ernest. I am attempting to find out if there are any descendants of James's son, Gerald Ruel, Q.C., a barrister who died at Toronto, Dec. 1, 1953 at the age of 87 years and of his other son, Frederick Herbert Ruel, who died in Montreal, and is buried at Fernhill along with his wife Eunice T., and their daughter, Thelma, and son William Augustus Holbrook Ruel, a retired banker who died in 1982. I am also interested in the Ruel ancestors.
-Joy Scheifele, 105 - 55 Blue Springs Drive, Waterloo, Ontario N2J 4T3. Telephone: (519) 888-9642. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Davenport - Young - Arnold - Allen - Hendry - Day: I'm looking for information about Davenports who settled in Parish of St. Mary's, York County in the early1870s. William Davenport was born in Ireland about1840 and married Mary Ann Young who was born in Ireland about 1845. William and Mary Ann both traveled to Australia (not sure whether together or separately).Their first child, my great-grandmother Catherine Anne Davenport, was born in Australia on Aug.17,1865. Her brother William Henry was in born in 1867 in Australia. The Davenports then boarded a ship in about 1870 and family lore has it that the ship was meant to take them to Ireland, but some mishap caused it to divert to Canada instead. A third child, Eliza, was born at sea during this time. Circa 1871 the family settled in Parish of St. Mary's, York County, New Brunswick where two more children were born - Alice Maud and James Albert. Catherine married Judson Devereaux Arnold on Aug.14,1888. William Henry married Augusta Mary Allen on Apr.18,1889. Eliza married Jonathan Allen Hendry in1893 and Alice Maud married Skiffington Day on Oct.11,1899. All the marriages were in York County. My great-grandmother Catherine died in 1916 when my grampy, Frederick Hayward Arnold, was only 12 and he lost contact with her family at that point. We don't know their background beyond the above. I'm hoping to hear from anyone connected with some portion of this tree, with an eye towards finding out where in Ireland they originated, why they emigrated to Australia, and what ship brought them to New Brunswick.
- Nessa Burns Reifsnyder, 371 Sound Drive, Mount Desert, ME., 04660, USA. E-mail to email@example.com.
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.