Our History

Excerpt from the 100th Anniversary booklet of St. Andrews United Church Vernonville — 1862-1962.

When our forefathers chose a site to build our present church, through stoma or tradition, they acquired a large enough piece of land in order to have a cemetery on each side of the church. Looking back it seems quite logical that the pioneers of this community should have their last resting place beside the church they so dearly loved and worked hard to build and maintain.

The earliest record of burial in the cemetery in sin 1860 when the small daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Miller was buried. The engraving on some of the older tombstones are not too legible, but they show quite a number of burials in the sixties, the seventies and later.

There being no record as to the maintenance of the cemetery in these early years it is presumed that each family looked after his own plot. With the passing years and as the families drifted away, the cemetery at times looked very neglected as a whole. This unkempt condition irked many of the church people and they felt they should do something about this matter. This was brought to a head when in 1938 a legacy was left to the cemetery providing they set up a board of trustees to control management, caretaking and so forth.

A congregational meeting was held on April 16, 1939 for the purpose of nominating a board of trustees for the Cemetery Fund. Dr. Waldo Smith presided over the meeting. Will Robson moved and Andy Wait seconded a motion that the board be J. A. Deviney, William Broomfield, Charles Rutherford, Mrs. William Gillespie, Mrs. C. B. Turk and Will Tait. There was an amendment to the motion that Peter Robson’s name be added to the above list and the motion was carried.

After this meeting a caretaker was appointed, the cemetery cleaned up and the grass cut which has continued on until the present day. A decoration day is held every year on the second Sunday in June and when the flowers are distributed over the graves it has been said that the cemetery is kept in lovely condition. The neat and tidy appearance pays a fine tribute to the people who have their lives of service to the community.

Several donations large and small have made it possible to pay for the upkeep as well as buying bonds which in turn also give an annual income to help maintain perpetual care.

The present day officers are chairman Gordon Broomfield, Secretary, Doug Deviney; Treasurer Miss Mary Broomfield. The others won the board are W. Robson, R. T. McMurray, J. Kerr, C. Mann and Mrs. William Gillespie. Mr. Jim Kerr is the present caretaker.

The people of Vernonville United Church are very proud of their church and its setting beneath the Pines and Maples on the hill. We certainly pay tribute to those early settlers who are now resting beside the church for their wisdom of choice and strength of character in providing such a fine place for worship.