Search Website Design and Content © by Eric Krause, Krause House Info-Research Solutions (© 1996)
      All Images © Parks Canada Except Where Noted Otherwise
Report/Rapport © Bill O'Shea --- Report Assembly/Rapport de l'assemblée © Krause House Info-Research Solutions

Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada


Extracted from © The Seagull

Louisbourg Heritage Notes

April 1999

Mystery of St. Bartholomew’s Gravestone Solved?

In October 1990, I asked if anyone knew the story behind a grave marker in St. Bartholomew’s church cemetery. It is the tallest stone in the cemetery, a grey granite pillar, with the word MOTHER carved on its base. The only hint of its origin is that the design of the stone duplicates the O’Toole family stone in old St. Richard’s cemetery in the Park. No one remembers hearing a story connected with the stone. It is a Louisbourg mystery.

Well, it is possible that I have discovered the answer after all these years.

What led me to the solution was the grave located next to the granite marker. It is a white marble stone, mounted in an modern aluminum frame but broken and almost obliterated. Reading it closely you can make out the words Joseph Slattery, age 51 and the date 1866. This stone matches one of the most interesting entries in the St. Bartholomew’s records - the burial of Joseph Slattery of the Diocese of Arichat, in August 1866 at the age of 51 years. The hand-written entry in the Register states that "He had been a member of the RC Church but prior to his death expressed a desire to be buried in the Church burying ground which request was complied with."

Now, why would Joseph Slattery, a Roman Catholic, want to be buried in St. Bartholomew’s?

That’s when I remembered something else in my notes. The St. Bartholomew’s recods note the burial on September 9, 1867 of Eleanor Slattery the widow of James Slattery who died in the 72nd year of her age. Why would there be two Roman Catholics in St. Bartholomew’s? That’s where another piece of information was critical. This was an entry from the St. George’s (Sydney) Church Vestry book recording the marriage of James Slaughtery ( Slattery ) to Elenor Loroway (Lorway) at Main-a-Dieu on March 30, 1810 by the magistrate Charles Martell.

The Lorways were a Loyalist family, and adherents of the Anglican church, who came to Cape Breton through Louisbourg in 1785. They eventually settled in Sydney where descendants are today - though, interestingly enough, later there was a branch of the family in Louisbourg that became Roman Catholic. Elenor Lorway, an Anglican, married James Slattery, a Roman Catholic, but she remained a member of the Anglican church and was buried in St. Bartholomew’s.

Joseph Slattery who is buried beside her was born in 1815 and was probably a son. He passed away a year earlier than his mother, but he obviously wanted to remain near her in death and so arranged for his burial in St. Bartholomew’s.

The Slattery Stones in Old Stella Maris Cemetery

There are three stones of particular interest in the old Stella Maris Cemetery. They commemorate Charles Slattery, 15 September 1860, 18 years; Joseph Slattery, 15 April 1868, 72 years and Mary Slattery, 14 January 1880, 78 years. What makes them interesting is that they are all dated prior to the construction of the Old Stella Maris Church which was completed around 1892. So how did they get there?

Joseph Slattery was a son of Michael Slattery who came to Louisbourg in the late 18th century. Joseph married Mary Townsend and in the early 1800s moved to Gabarus where he ran a business. His sons, Isreal and Valentine, were officers in the Gabarus militia in the 1860s. The Slatterys lived, died and were buried on their property in Gabarus. Then, in August 1904, Valentine removed the bodies of his brother, mother and father from Gabarus and had them reburied in Stella Maris cemetery in Louisbourg. At the same time he relocated their grave stones from Gabarus. This move is a bit of a mystery since a Roman Catholic chapel was dedicated and opened in Gabarus in July 1903, a year before Valentine moved his people to Louisbourg. Does anyone out there know more about this story?

The Cryers of Old Town are Roman Catholic

. . . So why is John Cryer buried in St. Bartholomews?

Look at the Cryer families of Old Town Louisbourg in the 1891 census and you find that they are Roman Catholic. I was surprised, then, to find a record noting that when John Cryer died at 86 years of age in February 1882 he was buried in St. Bartholomew’s Anglican cemetery. Intrigued by this I looked a bit more and found John Cryer in the 1871 census. He is recorded as Anglican, a widower and a fisherman. His children, however, are all Roman Catholics.

There is some speculation that the Cryers may have come to Louisbourg at the time of the siege of 1758 or shortly after. For certain, William Cryer is here in the 1827 census and John Cryer, who was buried in St. Bartholomew’s, was probably a son. The baptisms of John’s children are recorded in the St. George’s Anglican church records. Still, all the children became Roman Catholic and are recorded as such in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census. What could have happened?

A key piece of evidence, once I discovered it, made the solution straightforward. It seems that in February 1833 John Cryer married Elizabeth Keho, a Roman Catholic. The service was performed by Rev. Charles Inglis, the Anglican minister of St. George’s church.

But, Elizabeth remained Roman Catholic and had reached some agreement that her children would be raised in her religion. That’s why the Cryers are Roman Catholics.

The Joseph Mayo gravestone in Main-a-Dieu

This stone is located in the old Anglican cemetery on the bend of the road just before the Credit Union/Library. It is a small black slate or mudstone with a winged skull on the top - one of the few in Cape Breton. It has the text, In Memory of Mr. Joseph Mayo of Wellfleet in New England who Died July ye 9d 1768 in ye 25th Year of his Age. The stone was placed here by the shore in Main a Dieu after the French left but long before there were any other churches in the area. When Helen and I were on Cape Cod several years ago we were in Wellfleet on Cape Cod and visited the cemetery where the Mayos are buried. Many of the graves have stones very similar to Joseph’s. Someday I will take the time to find something about the young man buried so far from home and so long ago.

That’s it for this month folks. 

Bill O’Shea

Return to the Previous Page

Retour à la page précédente