McGuigan Cemetery
McGuigan Cemetery
photo: Ken Watson, 2000

This cemetery, restored by the Merrickville and District Historical Society, is located at 448 River Road, directly across the river from Clowes Lock, about 0.8 km south on River Road from Upper Nicholsons lockstation. The earliest known grave is that of Samuel McCrea who died on November 15, 1806. The cemetery operated until about 1892.

There are two bronze plaques which read as follows:
This cemetery is one of the oldest burying grounds not only along the Rideau River but in Eastern Ontario. It was used for approximately one hundred years between 1800 and 1900. Unfortunately, there are few written records anywhere either as to its existence or as to who was buried within its confines. The tombstones discovered during its restoration in 1979 and 1980 by the Merrickville and District Historical Society tell only a small part of the role it played in the history of the area.

It was named after Miles McGuigan, an Irishman who served in the Peninsular War under Wellington in the 81st Regiment and who was later wounded at Waterloo. As an army pensioner after the War of 1812 he married the widow Leahy, who owned the land, a Crown Grant, on which the cemetery is located. Legend has it that he was buried here but his grave has never been found. The oldest known grave is that of Samuel McRae, one of the earliest pioneers of the Lower Rideau Settlement.
This memorial marks the area where an unknown number of persons were buried in this cemetery between the years 1800 and 1900. Despite the scarcity of records, it is believed that many died of pestilence, principally malaria, during the construction of the Rideau Canal. From 1826 to 1832, they were mostly Irish labourers and the children of pioneer settlers. Their graves were marked only by simple fieldstones, some of which remain visible.
May They Rest In Peace.

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This page was last updated on: June 5, 2000
URL: http://www.rideau-info.com/canal/images/img-n-mcguigan.html
© 2000 Ken Watson