johnwood1946

New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick

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By JohnWood1946@hotmail.com

The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick

The Wood cemetery in French Lake is on the old John Wood property, part of the ‘homestead’ that he accumulated between 1823 and 1831. John sold parts of the homestead in 1845 and in 1853, but retained most of it including the land where the cemetery is located now.

John Wood died in 1868 without a will. It took at least twelve years to settle his estate and to pay his debts and, during this period, the homestead was occupied in four parts by his sons Gain, William and George and son-in-law Gain Mersereau, Amy Wood’s husband. William Wood’s part of the homestead included the cemetery area.

By 1880, John’s debts had still not been completely settled and his third wife, Hannah, was forced to sell the homestead at public auction in Oromocto. I do not know if George Wood and Gain Mersereau moved off of the homestead during this period of non-ownership. Gain lived on land that he owned, very close to where he finally settled, and Hannah moved in with a Phillips family in Rusagonis.

In late 1886, the homestead was bought back by Hannah, George and Gain Wood. All three of these purchases were made on the same day. Gain Mersereau bought the fourth part of the homestead. The cemetery area where William had lived was bought by George Wood and he, like Gain and Hannah, financed his purchase with a mortgage. However, George defaulted on his mortgage, and this part of the homestead was auctioned off again, this time in Fredericton, in late 1897. Gain Wood paid $5.00 at the auction to buy the half acre cemetery.

The earliest burial that I know of at the cemetery was William Wood’s, in 1875, when the homestead was still in one piece. There are no stones to indicate that it was used again until 1888, during George’s ownership. The 1888 burial was of William’s daughter Edith who died of diphtheria. Gain’s daughter, Eva, also died of diphtheria and was buried there, maybe in the same year.

Between 1888 and Gain’s purchase of 1897, the cemetery was used for burials of Gain’s sister Jane (1889); brother Charles (1896); and wife Fennetta (1897).

It seems clear that the cemetery did not exist in 1868 when John Wood died. He is supposed to be buried in the French Lake Cemetery, though the grave is unmarked. It is therefore likely that the 1875 burial was the first one.

The French Lake Cemetery continued in use throughout the period covered by these notes.

There is a cemetery list at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nbsunbur/cemeteryrecords/woodside.htm. This list is not complete because the cemetery is still in use today. There is also one error on the list. William Wood is shown as being born in 1875 while that was actually the year of his death.

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Written by johnwood1946

April 11, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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