Lorneville Cemetery has been in existence since 1846. It was established in association with the erection of a Wesleyan Church Chapel in Pisarinco (Lorneville) on land donated by Samuel Cunningham Jr. Mr. Cunningham was a native of Kilkeel Parish in County Down Northern Ireland and in 1845 he and his wife Eleanor (Baird) donated a 62’x50’ parcel along “the highway” (north side) in trust to a group of people for building a Methodist Church. The group of people included Pisarinco residents “Samuel Cunningham (probably Sr.), Thomas Gilbraith, James Gilbraith, and Henry Beard, farmers, and Robert Salter Esquire, Dennis Sullivan, Mason, and James McCoach, Pump and Blockmaker.”
In 1852 Mr. Cunningham and his wife sold another lot of land directly behind the Church Chapel (north of the Church and highway) to the Trustees of a Burial Ground Committee of community volunteers. The land was to be “solely appropriated for the uses of a burial grounds” and was 50’ wide by 214.6’ in length. The trustees for the Committee were “James McCaver, John McNeight, and Thomas Gilbraith” and the full Burial Ground Committee included – “Samuel Cunningham Sr., Thomas E. Carter, John Stinson, James Alston, Henry Beard, William Perry, Thomas Gilbraith, John Gilbraith, Henry Gilbraith, John McNeight, Samuel Cunningham Jr., Hugh McCaver Sr., James Cunningham, John Cunningham, Samuel Ferguson Sr., Michael Splane, and John Gillingham”.
Samuel Ferguson Sr., the Cunninghams, Henry Baird Sr., the McCavours and Galbraiths, John McKnight, William Perry, and John Stinson were all natives of Kilkeel Parish, County Down, Ireland, then resident in Pisarinco (Lorneville). They were part of an exodus of families from Kilkeel Ireland in the late 1820’s early 1830’s, to Saint John New Brunswick, who later acquired land and settled in Pisarinco, circa 1840. James Alston was a Pisarinco resident, and native of Edinburgh, Scotland who had married Nancy Baird, a relative of Henry Baird Sr. Michael Splane and John Gillingham were residents of nearby Irishtown, and members of the Methodist Church.
The original Burial Grounds of Lorneville Cemetery, as laid out in the parcel of land described above, consisted of Row 2 – between Lot # 43 (Robert Splane) and Lot #60 (Charles and Arthur McCavour); and Row 3 – between Lot #79 (William Wilson Sr.) and Lot #94 (Joseph Shanks). These rows are on either side of Derryogue Road Lane, so named after the Irish townland on the outskirts of Kilkeel Ireland, where many of the early settlers of Lorneville originated.
Lorneville Cemetery has expanded a number of times beyond the boundaries of the original grounds. The first addition was immediately to the west of the old grounds – the “Western Line” or Row 1, on land originally owned by Samuel Cunningham Sr. As these older areas of the cemetery were filled – Rows 1, 2, & 3 – Thomas Henry Galbraith began selling lots c 1911 from his property north of Rows 2 and Row 3 in the original Burial Grounds. He and his son Allan, and grandson Lawrence Galbraith, continued to sell lots on their property, and added Rows 4, 5 & 6 beside the Lorneville Meeting Hall, and then Rows 7, 8 and 9 behind the Meeting Hall. When the Methodist Chapel was moved in 1930, the top of Rows 2 and 3 also became available for grave lots.
Like Seaview Cemetery, maintenance and upkeep of the grave lots and monuments in Lorneville Cemetery was the responsibility of individual families in the community. Fees as well as labour were sometimes contributed by lot owning families for physical repairs and maintenance of common assets, like access lanes and picket fences. Records dating from Thomas Henry Galbraith’s records (c 1911) outline fees collected and projects like fence painting and repairs that were completed.
Over time and as people relocated and families were no longer present in the community, sections of the graveyard grounds and the stone monuments began to deteriorate. In the 1970’s Lorneville Cemetery began to exhibit signs of disrepair and neglect. This situation led to the re-establishment of a Cemetery Committee of community volunteers to oversee general maintenance of the cemeteries and provide a base level of care.
It was in 1982 when the existing grounds were again filling and additional space required that that the Cemetery Committee decided to incorporate in order to facilitate the purchase of a parcel of land adjacent to Lorneville Cemetery. This act of incorporation as a non profit charitable Company also facilitated fund raising, by making it possible to issue tax receipts for donations received.
Much good volunteer effort was given by the Cemetery Committee and Board of Directors of Lorneville and Seaview Cemeteries Inc. Cemetery grounds were expanded after the incorporation in 1982, but the level of funding available for maintenance remained insufficient to the need. Conditions in the older sections of the cemeteries reached the point where a major rehabilitation was required.
Just such an effort was initiated in 2000. A new Board of Directors was installed and capital fundraising efforts began. Increased funding and in-kind donations of materials, equipment, and labour, has enabled a complete facelift of the grounds and stone monuments of both Lorneville and Seaview Cemeteries to take place. Trees and flower gardens have been planted, access roads, lane markers and an irrigation system installed, and a Visitors Center/Maintenance Building constructed since 2002. As part of this effort, ownership of the private sections and parcels of land in and around Lorneville Cemetery have either been transferred or are in the process of being transferred to Lorneville and Seaview Cemeteries Inc. We thank previous owners Lawrence and Marilyn and Galbraith for their generosity and help in completing the transfer, and also the N.B. Government, Department of Supply and Services, for “a buffer” property around Lorneville Cemetery.
Effective maintenance of these improved grounds and assets has been a priority and will remain a focus of attention into the future.