Mother’s Day Homage: The Wilcox Family Gravestones


 Base of Gravestone of Susan Wilcox (1834-1918), “Mother”


The sorrows of motherhood and the difficulty of raising children safely to adulthood more than a century ago were poignantly brought to mind by a grouping of gravestones I happened upon last Fall in the cemetery of the old Pembroke Chapel (originally Methodist and later a United Church) in Pembroke, Nova Scotia.

Situated beside the gravestones for Susan Wilcox (1834-1918) — prominently marked “Mother” — and her husband, Nathan (1827 -1899), are markers for five of their children, each of whom predeceased their parents:  Cyrus, who it’s noted “Drowned At Sea”, aged 27 years, 1887;  Norman F., aged 2 yrs. 7 mos., 1861; Annie E., aged 13 mos., 1871; Frederick W., aged 1 yr., 1873; and Cora M., aged 1 day, 1877.

My curiosity prompted a search of old genealogical records here, which revealed that Susan and Nathan Wilcox had a total of 11 children (born between 1859 to 1880) — quite a brood!  Families were larger then partly because additional helping hands were needed and life was understood to be more precarious.   To lose a child is an unbearable thought for any parent and to have five leave this world before either parent sounds utterly tragic.  Even though they had six children that survived them and considering that many things about life being very tough may have been taken in stride back then, I imagine that this mother and father must have endured an immense measure of grief.

Thus, this homage to motherhood and Mother’s Day and a reminder to be thankful for family, friends and other loved ones, as well as to treasure each of our precious days (on Mother’s Day and beyond).


Gravestones for Nathan and Susan Wilcox Family, Pembroke, Nova Scotia



 Markers of Norman F., Annie E., Frederick W. and Cora M. Wilcox



 Markers of Cyrus Wilcox and his mother, Susan Wilcox



Old Pembroke Chapel, Pembroke, Nova Scotia




Similar posts on O’Canada:

* Saint John’s Transcendent Old Loyalist Burial Grounds

* Halifax’s Beautiful Old Burying Ground

* Canada’s Oldest Regular Cemetery:  Garrison Cemetery, Annapolis Royal, N.S.

Halifax’s Beautiful Old Burying Ground

Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Nova Scotia

Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Nova Scotia


I find old cemeteries to be serene places for reflection and contemplation, and Halifax’s historic St. Paul’s Church Cemetery, also known as the Old Burying Ground, which dates back to the 1749 founding of the city, is one of the most gorgeous green spaces of this type.  Its many weathered gravestones hint at stories of lives both brief and long — and all so long ago.  The Burying Ground’s charm is evident by, among other things, the numerous times I’ve seen it used as a backdrop for wedding group photography or a leisurely setting for those simply enjoying a good book.

These photos are from an early Fall trip to Halifax a few years ago. [Click images to enlarge.]

“Sacred to the Memory of . . . “, Old Burying Ground, Halifax


Memories For the Ages, Old Burying Ground, Halifax


Solitary Gravestone, Markings Erased, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

Solitary Gravestone, Markings Erased, Old Burying Ground, Halifax


Weathered Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

Pastoral Splendor On the Ile d’Orleans


Rustic Barn with Red Doors, Ile d’Orleans

Quebec Month / Installment 4

Situated just a few miles north of Quebec City is the Ile d’Orleans, a smallish island of about 20 miles in length (about the size of N.Y.’s Manhattan Island) and one of the earliest areas settled in Quebec.  Its coast-hugging main road is filled with postcard-perfect pastoral vistas bordered by wide expanses of the St. Lawrence and distant rolling mountains.


Small Barn Overlooking St. Lawrence River, Ile de Orleans


Early Spring Farm Field, Ile d’Orleans


Old Farm Wagon, Ile d’Orleans


Green Space On the St. Lawrence, Ile d’Orleans


Tombstone with Cross, Sainte Famille Church, Ile d’Orleans


Farm and Silos, Ile d’Orleans


Old Barn with Rusted Roof, Ile d’Orleans


Cemetery, Sainte Famille Church, Ile d’Orleans


Sainte Famille Church, Ile d’Orleans

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