MOUNT ST. PATRICK CEMETERY
PLAQUE TEXT: There is no plaque, other than the large memorial boulder that was placed in the cemetery in 2018. Still, there’s a fascinating story here.
The first Catholic cemetery in Belleville was attached to the original church and was in use from the 1820s until 1856 when the available land was used up. In1856, the church purchased four and a half acres of land on what is now Stanley Street and a new cemetery was blessed by the Bishop of Kingston, assisted by Rev. Brennan of Belleville and Rev. Lalor of Picton. While the cemetery was dedicated to St. Patrick, it was commonly referred to as St. Michael’s Cemetery.
By 1904, space was running out in this cemetery and after much discussion, land was purchased for a new cemetery along the bay front, adjoining the Belleville Cemetery. The first burial in the new St. James Cemetery was conducted November 16, 1904.
However, many families who owned plots at Mount St. Patrick Cemetery insisted on using them so the use of both cemeteries continued for about 10 years. The last burial at Mount St. Patrick was recorded on January 20, 1914.
Many parishioners, with plots at the New St. James Cemetery, had the remains of their family members moved. Over the next few decades, the old cemetery grew up in brush and stones were damaged. In the 1930s efforts were made to clean up the cemetery, remove the brush and repair the damage. However, again the improvements were lost to the ravages of time.
In 1972, the old cemetery was again tidied and some stones set into a cairn at St. James Cemetery. In recent years, the old cemetery has been well cared for, with sturdy fences and carefully mown lawns. However, with no gravestones or markers, few people are currently aware that this is a sacred ground, the final resting place of generations of Belleville’s Catholic community.
In these circumstances, the St. James Cemetery Board and the Hastings County Historical Society have formed a partnership to erect this memorial boulder to identify the grounds as a cemetery so that future generations can know and respect this sacred burial ground.
From information distributed at the time of the dedication of the memorial boulder. September 16, 2018.
GPS Co-ordinates: 44° 10’ 35.45” N 77° 22’ 10.46” W (44.17638889 -773694444)
Street address: Stanley Street at Russell Street, Belleville
Photos: A lawnmower (background) clips the grass where there were once headstones. Below, a marker at the entrance to the cemetery.