Cemetery History

St. Patrick’s Cemetery at 1601 Chemin Saint-Louis has been in service since 1879.  The previous burial ground on Grande Allée in Québec City included a large section for victims of the 1832 cholera epidemic, later outbreaks and victims of the typhus epidemic of 1847. It was known as the Cholera Burial Grounds or the St. Louis Cemetery.  It became St. Patrick’s Cemetery in 1856.

In 1877, the Rector and Trustees of the Congregation purchased land for the current cemetery from the estate of James Gibb.  The forty-acre lot had come to be known as Woodfield.  The consecration of the land by Archbishop Elzéar A. Taschereau on May 18, 1879 was attended by four to six thousand people, many arriving by boat.  On the 26th of May 1879, the Superior Court granted permission to the parish to exhume and transfer the remains from the Grande Allée site to the new site. Over five thousand transfers were made and most of these were interred in a mass grave.

The new cemetery had avenues broad enough for carriages and was divided into seven sections. Pathways subdivided the sections into ranges, the whole forming a spacious and picturesque enclosure overlooking the St. Lawrence River.  The stone chapel was originally a stable built in the same style as the mansion of William Sheppard who owned Woodfield prior to the Gibb family.  On July 1st, 1894, the large crucifix was blessed. The solemn blessing of the magnificent Calvary Monument took place on June 28th, 1908.  The land extended some 1150 feet along St-Louis Road and included a lodge house at the main gate.  Sections of this land were later sold to accommodate the building of Saint Brigid’s Home, the former Seton Residence of the Sisters of Charity and McGreevy Manor.

The remains of many people of local historical interest lie in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. Some names of the more remarkable appear below: Patrick McMahon 1796-1851, first pastor of St. Patrick’s Church; Michael Connolly 1794-1884, merchant and patriot arrested in 1837; Charles Alleyn 1817-1890, mayor of Quebec City; Owen Murphy 1827-1895, mayor of Quebec City; Bernard Leonard 1841-1924, founder of Industrial Life Insurance Company; Jeremiah Gallagher 1838-1914, designer of the Celtic cross on Grosse Île; Marianna O’Gallagher 1929-2010, author and founder of Irish Heritage Quebec; Charles Gavan Power 1888-1968, Liberal member of Parliament and Senator for over 50 years; John Sharples 1814-1876, mayor of Sillery and lumber merchant; Larkin Kerwin 1924-2004, Rector of Laval University and President of the Canadian Space Agency.