Cemetery tours bring history lessons to life

Lisa Goudy
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Brian Bell, president of Heritage Moose Jaw, explains the story of Charles Wilkes on a Heritage Cemetery Tour at the Moose Jaw Cemetery on Saturday. Wilkes drowned on the S.S. Empress of Ireland on May 29, 1914.

Ontario-born Charles Vrooman moved to Saskatchewan and put up a homestead south of Tuxford.

Vrooman, who died on Feb. 15, 1939, is buried in the Moose Jaw cemetery. He lived to be 93.

“He had good DNA,” said Brian Bell, president of Heritage Moose Jaw. “(It’s good) for someone to hit 93, considering you didn’t have antibiotics, you didn’t have clean water - you know you’re really on your own.”

Bell provided history about many headstones, symbolism and the people buried at the Moose Jaw Cemetery on the Heritage Cemetery Tours, including information about Charles Wilkes, a 22-year-old who drowned with the S.S. Empress of Ireland.

The tours run every Saturday in July and August and people are asked to meet at 10:30 a.m. at the 900 block of Caribou Street East gate of the cemetery.

“Anybody who lives in the city needs to do this tour,” said Debbie VanKoughnett who took the tour on Saturday. “This is absolutely fascinating, even if you don’t like the idea of walking around a cemetery.”

For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.

Organizations: Times-Herald

Geographic location: Ontario, Saskatchewan, Tuxford Moose Jaw Ireland Caribou Street East

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Recent comments

  • Arlene Mayall
    July 16, 2012 - 16:59

    Hi: I saw the information about the cementary tours of Moose Jaw, my husband Don Mayall was born in Moose Jaw and I have been building our family tree. Would you have any information on the Mayall's. Guy's, Huffmans, Raspberry, Haswell's. My Husband did not know he had a grandfather Samuel Mayall b.1872 in Oldham Lancashire, England and died 1945 in Moose Jaw. Samuel's wife was Sarah Ellen Thackray b.1871 d.1911 in Oldham. The 1916 Saskatchewan the cenus shows Samuel's wife's name is Esther Jean Londesbrough and a son Erich born in Ontario. I have not been able to find any information on their marraige and would like to confirm that Erick was his son. Would you have any information? If not, do you know where I could research any information on these families. I live in Calgary and would sure like any help you might have on how I can find out anything on these families. Don's dad Samuel b. 1907 d.1981 his brother Joseph b 1901 d. 1974 and brother James b 1896 d 1945 all servied in the Second World War, and moved to Moose Jaw with there father and brothers, a sister Cozbi married John Raspberry and moved to Moose Jaw, after the birth of their daughter Hilda who married George Huffman. Any help would be great. I look forward to hearing from you. Regards Arlene Mayall arlenemayall@shaw.ca