Stephen Vance, Staff
Tucked away on the quiet and tranquil Irish Block Road in Annan, surrounded by bucolic views of rural farm fields is a small cemetery with some rich local history. Those wandering the well-kept grounds of the St. Michael’s Cemetery, viewing the many headstones that date back to the earliest settlers of the area, might feel that something is missing, and there is – a fence.
That will soon change if a recently launched fundraising initiative is successful in raising $35,000 that will be used to construct an iron fence around the property.
“St. Michael’s Cemetery Project Committee (a committee of the St. Mary’s & The Missions Cemetery Board) have embarked on an exciting project to erect an iron fence at the site of the former St. Michael’s Parish Church and the adjacent pioneer and active cemeteries. St. Michael’s Cemetery is a treasured place that needs to be protected, cared for, and preserved,” noted organizers in a press release issued recently.
There had been a fence in years past however the old fence had fallen down over time, and the lack of a fence has left the property vulnerable to acts of vandalism.
“There is an enthusiastic spirit to build a proper fence to protect the legacy of the original ancestors and those who have chosen the cemetery as their final resting place,” said organizers of the fundraising initiative. “Efforts are now underway to raise $35,000 for the St. Michael’s Cemetery Project. The Committee is eager to reach as many people as possible with a connection to the area that may be interested in supporting the project.”
In addition to raising money to erect the fence, the St. Michael’s Cemetery Project Committee is also planning an updated book of the history of the Irish Block Catholic community.
The committee notes that in 1937 the Irish Block congregation published a history booklet that covered the period of 1847 through 1937, and the committee is planning to compile a new history book covering the years from 1937 through to the present. They hope that local residents can help out by submitting stories and photos related to the church’s activities in those years.
A celebration to commemorate the 170 year history of the Irish Block community is planned for the summer of 2018, bringing together many of the families and friends of the former St. Michael’s Parish. More information about the celebration will be available closer to the date of the event.
If anyone is interested in contributing to the project or for more information, you can contact Michael Traynor, Chair, St. Michael’s Cemetery Project Committee at 519-376-8791 or firstname.lastname@example.org.