Wednesday, 3 August 2016

So where are my Doughertys and Carolines buried in Granby?

In 2009, I spent a few hours in Granby. This was the first time I'd visited there since I was a child going to the Granby Zoo, which, trust me, all Montreal children do.

It was less than an hour's drive from the south shore of Montreal where I was visiting family, and I wanted to visit the graves of my paternal second great grandparents, Marcus Dougherty, Mary Ann Diamond, Hugh Edward Caroline and Mary Donovan. I soon found a small cemetery on Cowie Street in a beautiful and peaceful setting overlooking the Yamaska River.
Hugh Caroline inscription

Hugh and Mary and their family are in a large plot just inside the cemetery entrance. Sadly, the plot is well filled with the markers of family members. The markers were restored a few years ago by their descendants. The main marker in the plot is inscribed on all four sides with the names of Hugh, Mary, and their children.

I carefully walked each row of the cemetery anticipating the moment of connectedness when I found my Doughertys. I even walked through the Anglican cemetery, separated from the Catholic cemetery by a narrow road. Who knew? There were many broken markers, and many plots with no markers at all in the Catholic cemetery. I found no trace of my Dougherty ancestors Marcus, Mary Ann and their son James, and who knows who else could be buried with them. Where were they?

I also didn't find any plot or markers for my 2nd great great uncle Mick Caroline and his wife and children who predeceased him.

The following week, I found the website for the Societe d'histoire de la Haute-Yamaska and emailed them. Naturally, it never occurred to me to find them on Granby's rue Principale while I was there. My best thoughts always come after I really need them.

It turns out that the cemetery I had visited opened only in 1875. Over the years, disrespectful teenage boys would smash or break off markers and toss them intact or in pieces into the Yamaska River far below the cemetery. As some teenagers seem compelled to do. Don't get me started.

I found out that the original Catholic cemetery was located beside Notre Dame de Granby and had been either full, or its plots spoken for, by 1875. I had driven by the church while in Granby, but it was closed. I still stopped to take photos. There was a parking lot next to the church. Wait. Can you guess? The historical society staffer told me that the parking lot was above the original church cemetery. Had I known, I would have included the parking lot in this photo of the church. Who knew?

Notre Dame de Granby Church
Like that old Joni  Mitchell song goes, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

I asked if any of the original cemetery markers had been moved into the church when it was decided to pave it over, but learned that not only was the church closed the day I had visited, it in fact had closed a couple of years previously. An adjacent former convent was already being converted to condos. The historical society staffer doubted that any markers had been moved inside.  If a record had been made of the markers in the cemetery before it was paved over, the historical society didn't know its whereabouts.

I remember gazing at the parking lot, never dreaming that below it were my family members' the final resting places.

The never ending story continues....

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