East Gore- It was a grave subject at the East Hants Historical Society (EHHS) meeting on Oct. 14, with guest speaker Deborah Trask.
Trask is well known for her interest in history and spent 30 years on the curatorial staff of the Nova Scotia Museum. Trask is a member of the Board of Directors of the Old Burying Ground Foundation in Halifax and since 1976 has been a member of the International Association for Gravestone Studies, based in New England. She is the author of a book on grave stones in Nova Scotia titled “Life How Short-Eternity How Long.” Trask has lectured widely on the grave stones of NS and continues to provide cemetery preservation advice through her museum consulting business.
The EHHS has kept extensive records of the information found on grave markers throughout the municipality. Some of the information was collected nearly 30 years ago and in some cases is the only record of what was to be found on the stones as age erased the lettering.
Trask outlined the various materials the grave stones have been made of. Slate, sandstone, white limestone, cement in some areas and polished granite One unique grave marker is made of cast iron and can be found in the Blois Cemetery in West Gore near the Nights of Gore Corn Maze.
One of Trask’s favourite stone makers is known only as J.W. and is found in many cemeteries in Hants County. His stones were usually made of slate or sandstone and carried unique images and even more unique epitaphs. His signature was usually largely featured on the stone- J.W. Sculptor.
One example of an epitaph found in the Noel Cemetery reads, “Stop poor sinner, stop & think before you father go; will you sport upon the brink of everlasting woe.” The stone is for Robert O’Brien dated 1833 and begins, “Here lies one gone to visite the regions of the dead.”
Pat Whidden commented that it would be interesting to know what the people thought of these peculiar stones he created for them to which Trask responded, “It would be, I am sure they looked really spectacular; especially if you couldn’t read.”
Trask has been involved in the preservation of several cemeteries in the East Hants area and explains the do’s and don’ts...