Guysboro Cemetery is located at Lot 133, Concession 7 on the north side of Talbot Road (Heritage Line) approximately 3 miles east of Straffordville. In 1837 the Crown sold land including this property to John Hiestant who in turn sold the 200 acres to Martin Hubbard in 1850. In 1851, Martin Hubbard sold the south 100 acres to John Kidd who reserved one acre (later enlarged) for a cemetery. It is quite certain that there were graves already there and that he was giving this fact consideration and respect by officially designating it as a cemetery. The first recorded burial in the cemetery may have been in 1835, Mrs. Christian Honsberger (nee Agnes Mayer). Her plot is located in the southeast corner on the ridge near the road fence. Cecil Ball collected 182 burial permits that had been issued from gravediggers for the cemetery. The oldest permit was dated April 12, 1897 and referred to the death of Martha Kennedy. In 1897 an additional tract of land to the north of the old section was bought from Tilman and Mariah Marlatt for $10.00. This increased the total area to 1.75 acres.
There is no evidence that an organized plan or map of the cemetery existed before 1957. The fact that a roadway existed in the cemetery and that plots were laid out in an orderly manner indicates that plots were assigned – it is likely that a respected member of the community kept the details in memory. In the early 1900’s, the cemetery area was fenced to keep out livestock, but was otherwise uncared for and grown over with bushes and weeds. Occasionally George Marshall called a “bee” of plot owners to burn off the grass and brush. Some plot owners were able to clear the weeds and brush on their individual plots.
On May 1, 1957, a bee was called for the purpose of burning the accumulation of dead grass and brush and to plan for future care, as per the opening quote from the Guysboro Cemetery Minute Book. Another meeting was called and chairman, secretary-treasurer and board of trustees were appointed. Under supervision of the new board the shed was moved from near the road to its present location at the west centre of the cemetery, broken monuments were repaired and reset, plots were leveled where possible, the driveway improved and new fence put along Talbot Road. Cliff Thomas undertook the task of measuring the area, drawing a map to scale and inserting the names of those buried in each grave. He also spent many hours repairing stones and putting in markers. It was decided that no plots should be sold in the future without perpetual care being included in the price, and that no more plots would be sold in the south part (old section) because of the uncertainty of burial locations there. The first Annual Decoration and Memorial Day Service was held on August 24, 1958, and Decoration Day has been held on the fourth Sunday in August every year since that date.
Abstracted from, and for more details see “The History of Guysboro Cemetery” as compiled by Cecil Ball, 1991.
Guysboro Cemetery Decoration Day - 4th Sunday in August
A: 57682 Heritage Line,
Straffordville, ON N0J 1Y0