Repairing History

In early August of 2018, there was a phone message left at the church from a person doing genealogy research on their family. Certainly, not an uncommon phone call to receive for a church over 165 years old. St. George’s Church, Georgetown was established around 1852 and until 1888 had its own burial ground.

The person calling was Carol Ann Currie, who was inquiring about Evan & Sarah Price, and one of their sons Robert, her great great grandfather, who she understood had been buried here at St. George’s.

As the parish priest, I was happy to call Carol Ann back and help her with genealogy but also introduce myself to her, not just as the rector of St. George’s but also as a descendant of Evan & Sarah Price myself! They were my 4th Great Grandparents.

It is a small world, isn’t it.

Carol Ann, and her husband Jim soon came to visit the cemetery and pour over the archives. Unfortunately, the cemetery stones, which had been gathered together in the 1970’s to preserve them, had been vandalized in the 1980’s and never properly repaired and the fenced in area of concrete hadn’t been weeded since early spring, so the stones were tough to read.

I told her that the first burial in the St. George’s “burial grounds” in 1855 was, in fact, our shared ancestor Evan Price and that the stone he shared with his wife Sarah, had been broken and the top part with Evan’s name was missing. But from our meeting, we shared a desire to have the stones repaired.

Alan Ernest works on a stone while his helper keeps an eye on the level.

Soon after her visit, I received an excited note from her saying, “I was inside the fence cleaning off the stones and almost fell over as I couldn’t believe my eyes. There as clear as can be and very well preserved is the headstone of my Great Great Grandfather who I was looking for, Robert Price.”

Carol Ann, using our records, did further research, looked for other descendants of those named on the broken stones. She also contacted other Price family descendants to begin to raise funds for repairs. I secured some funds from the church budget and from the support of our Thursday Morning group.

Over July and August of 2019, Alan Ernest, a local historic cemetery specialist began the work of repair and restoration. With the repair work done, the stones are in much better shape, although not all the damage could be undone.

Carol Ann and I hope to find a way to record the names of all those who had been buried in the old cemetery on a plaque or sign, so that all their names would be remembered and not just the ones on the stones we were able to restore.

Evan and Sarah would be proud of their family and their church.