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Richard Evans Award Presented to Scotch Road Cemetery Association

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larger_3_0.jpg(Sherbrooke, Quebec, June 15, 2015).
The Richard Evans Award is presented annually by the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) to an organization or group of volunteers who, collectively, have contributed to preserving or promoting their community history, including some aspect of Quebec’s Anglophone heritage. This year, QAHN is pleased to announce that the 2015 Richard Evans Award has gone to the Scotch Road Cemetery Association, a not-for-profit profit organization dedicated to the maintenance, preservation and remembrance of the Scotch Road Cemetery, a heritage graveyard in Grenville Township, in the MRC of Argenteuil.

Established by a group of concerned citizens who first met at the Goodland Farm north of Grenville, Quebec, in 1975, the organization’s objectives are: to preserve the Scotch Road Cemetery; to develop a greater appreciation of the part played by the early settlers who are buried in the cemetery; and to share the association's knowledge and resources regarding the cemetery.

larger_4.pngScotch Road, in the Township of Grenville, was originally settled by Highland Scots in 1802. These first Europeans to settle northeast of the Ottawa River came from the Isle of Mull and Lochaber and were Presbyterian and Gaelic-speaking. By 1820, the farming village of Scotch Road (situated on one of the oldest roads in the region) was established and soon there was a school and a post office. As the years passed, however, the families left the rocky farms for better employment and education. Eventually, all that remained was the cemetery. Scotch Road’s last surviving building, the Presbyterian church, was moved to Kilmar in 1931, and later to the Val Carroll Resort.

In the 1970s, descendants of some of the original Scotch Road settlers came to visit the cemetery and to record data from the stones. The cemetery, they discovered, contained some of the oldest surviving tombstones in the Laurentians (the earliest, that of Archibald McPhee, dated to 1818). The visitors found the cemetery suffering from years of neglect and vandalism. The most recent burial, at that time, had been in 1948.

Over the past 40 years, members of the Scotch Road Cemetery Association have worked diligently to maintain and preserve this early community burial ground, which is now completely surrounded by second- or third-growth forest. Stones have been re-erected and repaired, a gate and fence installed, and a monument to the history of Scotch Road put in place. Members of the Association have organized clean-ups, and remain vigilant about access and conditions at the cemetery.

In 2014, members of the cemetery association, led by President Cecil McPhee, successfully confronted the town council of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge regarding proposals about the road and possible development in the area. In the words of Sandra Stock, a member of the QAHN board of directors, the Scotch Road Cemetery Association is “competently run, alert and active about any arising issues, and has an excellent web site.”

larger_5.jpgQAHN Vice-president Jim Caputo agrees. “I have visited the site,” he said, “and can attest to its condition and the efforts this group has taken to preserve this area.”

The Richard Evans Award was presented to the Scotch Road Cemetery Association during QAHN’s 15th annual convention, held earlier this month in Saint-André-d’Argenteuil and Brownsburg-Chatham. The awards ceremony took place at historic St. Mungo’s Church in Cushing.
Accepting the award on behalf of the association were president Cecil McPhee, together with a contingent of cemetery volunteers.

On hand for the awards presentation was special guest Yves St-Denis, the MNA for Argenteuil. The deputy, who was one of the sponsors of this year’s event, praised the efforts of the Scotch Road Cemetery Association, as well as the work carried out by Elaine Fuller, recipient of QAHN’s 2015 Marion Phelps Award. Both award winners received letters of recognition from the MNA.