Cemetery History

St. Patrick’s Cemetery at 1601 Chemin Saint-Louis has been in service since 1879.  Our previous burial ground on Grande Allée included a northern quarter section for victims of the 1832 cholera epidemic, later cholera outbreaks and victims of the typhus epidemic of 1847.  It was known as the Cholera Burial Grounds.  The larger southern section known as St. Louis Cemetery accommodated both Irish and French-Canadians buried in separate sections.  In 1857 St. Patrick’s Parish purchased the Irish section from the Notre-Dame-de Québec Parish and in 1859 it acquired the other section whereupon the first St. Patrick’s Cemetery came into existence.

In 1877, the Congregation purchased the Woodfield property from the estate of James Gibb.  Four to six thousand people attended the consecration of the land by Archbishop Elzéar A. Taschereau on May 18, 1879.  The Superior Court rendered a judgment on May 26, 1879 granting permission to the parish to exhume and transfer the remains from the former cemetery to the new site.  Over one hundred families arranged for the transfer of remains to new family lots.  The remains of others not party to such arrangements were interred in a mass grave.

The new cemetery had avenues broad enough for carriages and was divided into seven sections, later increased to ten.  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.  The solemn blessing of the magnificent Calvary Monument took place on June 28, 1908.  

The large crucifix in the cemetery was originally on the lawn in front of the rectory on Grande Allée.  It was erected on May 20, 1942 to commemorate the sacrifices of St. Patrick parishioners in both World Wars. 

The cemetery land on Chemin Saint-Louis extended some 1150 feet and included the gatehouse at the main entrance.  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 are the following: 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.