Page 31 - Mary Willa Littler and "The Strangers' Grave"
ISSUE : Issue 71
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1996/12/1
descendants from another line of the same was kind of family, kind of. And he has some idea that intrigued by John Boyd, killed in Springhill, is buried "The Strang- there in Hardwood Hill. So, we're going to ers' Grave." follow that up tomorrow. And I haven't met (What does John Boyd yet, so it's going to be kind of that mean?) fun. 'Cause we've been speaking with each Well, it other over the years, but we've never met means that face-to-face yet! there were men and boys (How did you start your search?) I started who were in 1981 on a Canada Community Development strangers to Project. It was a federally funded project the town of for the town of Springhill. And it was on- Springhill, ly six months of work. But I think I just without any got personally attached to it, and I don't friends or know how to let go! And I'm not going to relatives to be able to let go until I feel that it is claim their complete. Maybe they thought it was com- bodies. So plete at the end of six months. But as far they're bur- as I'm concerned--I mean, it's led me in ied in this all kinds of directions for the past 15 common lot years, and led me to different areas to in Spring- look for these graves. hill called "The Strang- (What was the goal for the six-month pro- ers' Grave" ject?) Just to identify the graves in or "The Springhill, and to mark them off. Like Strangers' kind of identify where they were, who they Lot." were. Clean their graves, if there were any bushes or anything like that. And if something was like tipped a little ways, to make it stand up straight again, or anything like that. But that's all it was. ("The graves in Springhill." Of who? Of any explosion, or just...?) Just 1891. Be? cause there were 125 killed in that explo? sion, men and boys. (So, that project ended.) Yes. But in the course of the research, I came across a reference to "The Strangers' Grave." And I Here is one of the granite marl(ers that Mary Willa Lit? tler places on the graves of victims of the 1891 Explosion, burled away S|l from Springhill. itf' Cape Breton Boarding Kennels MODERN HEATED FACILITY FOR DOGS AND CATS • Open 12 Months • Indoor - Outdoor Dog Kennels • New Cattery Separate Building from the Dogs • Certification of Vaccination Required JgJB'Sk 737-2281 R- R- #1, glace bay, n. s. Specialists in FREE ESTIMATES Phone: 539-4111 Certainteed / Kohler VINYL WINDOWS ''/fihH''' • No mo • No structural cfianges No more painting • Clean from inside 341 Welton St., Sydney SERVING ALL OF CAPE BRETON PRODUCTS LTD. And it didn't have any marker on it at all. If you were walking in the cemetery, you would not have known where it was at all. And my quest, I guess, at that time was to discov? er- -where is it? It exists, where is it? So then the undertaker at the funeral home in Springhill--his name is Winfield Brown--he found a reference to it in his ledgers. And all it said was (that) the Strangers' Lot was located in Lot #74 in the south sec? tion. And it said, several buried in it, at the 1891 explosion. But "several" didn't answer--like, what does several mean? Like, what number do you put on several? So anyway, I started looking through all kinds of newspapers. Of course, I already mLJ'/A' Canada's #1 ''fl/U'' - Eating Place! ''H'i'' Smittys (J y' Family Restaurant Port Hastings Over 140 outlets across Canada to serve you Breakfast All Day • In-House Specials At the Rotary in Port Hastings OPEN YEAR ROUND 31
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