A brief history of St. James Cemetery Carp

(Editor’s Note: The following is the text of a presentation West Carleton historian Charlene Johnston made to the Huntley Historical Society about the St. James Cemetery in Carp on Tuesday, Jan. 19. It is reprinted with her permission.)

CARP – I am the secretary-treasurer of St. James Cemetery in Carp village. This burial ground is often referred to as a ‘hidden gem.’ It is not visible from carp Road, in fact so many are unaware of it’s existence in the heart of Carp village. A few years ago, one of our parishioners had family visiting from Los Angeles. The visitors were mesmerized with the beauty of the cemetery. They had never experienced such a peaceful place in their busy hectic American city.

Built in 1920, the cemetery was consecrated in 1921 by Bishop Roper. This historical event would have been commemorated at our annual cemetery service in June of 2020, sadly COVID-19 restrictions made that impossible.

The clergy at the time, Rev. Robert Waterman chose a family plot to be used for family members of the time and future descendants. He chose the first plot inside the cemetery gates. I am sure he was wishing to be the ‘first’ best plot in the cemetery. Now, in 2021, it may very well be the poorest plot. It is located in the shade, no grass or flowers will grow and it suffers from erosion over the decades.

In 1921, any parishioners wishing to purchase plots, were instructed to drop a cheque on the collection plate. The reverend then marked an ‘X’ on the cemetery map to indicate their purchase. Such a simple transaction…no “logging in” or confirming a Visa number.

A bridge was built over the gully, it was replaced in 1945 with the current causeway. The vault, still in use today was built in 1960.

The Cemetery committee purchased an additional two acres from the Honeywell family in 1966. This land was consecrated in 1990 and has been in use ever since.

At present, we have two columbariums built by Tubman Funeral Home and a scattering garden built in 2015. The scattering garden is dedicated in loving memory of Roma Lett by her husband Major General Kenneth Lett.

A quick stroll through the cemetery will reveal several old family names. Although there may not be many of these families living in Carp at present, it is an enduring present. These names include: Lett, Olive, Weatherley, Younghusband, Lyttle, Boucher, Mckenny, Blondeau, Hawkshaw, Wilson, Dolan, Davis, Hodgins, Evoys, and Bishops.

Several local politicians have been laid to rest at St. James. Namely Andrews Lett, Wallace Davis, Wm G. Rivington, Glenn Rivington, W. Erskine Johnston and Donald B. Munro.

A number of former clergy have chosen St. James as their final resting place. Namely Rev. Canon Robert B. Waterman, Rev. Horace Lamble, Bishop Robert Jefferson, Rev. Canon Ken Cowan and Rev. Canon James Tyrrell.

My predecessors as treasurer-secretary include Dr. A.E. Cavanagh, Clifford Langstaff, Ralph Arnold and Don Roper.

A history of the cemetery was compiled in the early ‘80s by Helen Rivington, Doris Langstaff and Judy Claus.

Our current cemetery committee include Bryan Armstrong, Geoff Lathem, Ryan Howie, Cheryl Haughian, Christine Reid and Evelyn Reid.