Hillside Cemetery History

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The original Hillside Cemetery is located adjacent to the Parks and Recreation department operations area in Kin Coulee Park. The cemetery is an eight-acre site incorporated by the Church of England as a cemetery in 1892. In 1945, the site was turned over to the City of Medicine Hat along with approximately $500 in a trust fund. The last interment in the old Hillside Cemetery was in 1947. The cemetery is no longer active and is maintained as a passive green space by the Parks and Recreation department.

St. John's Presbyterian Church in Medicine Hat owned a parcel of land described as SE quarter of Sec. 26, Township 12, Range 6, west of the 4th, comprising approximately 40 acres. In 1908 – 1909 the Presbyterian Church released 20 acres to the City of Medicine Hat for the purpose of establishing Hillside Cemetery. In April 1914, they released to the City the balance of the land which is now completely within the Hillside Cemetery. The new Hillside Cemetery is located at the intersection of Gershaw Drive and 10 Avenue SW.

The first burial, in what is now Hillside Cemetery, was a baby by the name of Cecil Hargrave on November 7, 1886.

For more information on this history of our cemetery, contact the City Clerk department at City Hall or the on-site staff at Hillside Cemetery.

Additional Information
Did you know that in the early days of the city, an old burying ground straggled up from the back of the old church of St. Barnabas, along 6th Avenue to the brow of the hill? In 1891 the Vestry bought from a Mr. Cruickshank's six acres of land in the Seven Person's Creek area. Two acres of land was then sold to the Roman Catholic Church for $15an acre. Most of the bodies were then moved to this new site, but a few unmarked graves still exist, including two along the south wall of the present church near the organ transept.

In 1922, five acres of land were reserved for the exclusive use of the Church of England in the "Hillside Cemetery." This portion was consecrated by Bishop Harding. The Seven Person's Creek site was no longer used and fell into sad neglect. It's pathetic loneliness moved the Vestry in 1944 to approach the City about it. The Vestry agreed to hand over the property along with a trust fund of approximately $500. In return, the City promised that the site would be set apart as a park and the graves therein would receive perpetual care. Since then, the City Parks and Recreation department has done a great deal to improve and beautify this old cemetery. (Source: St. Barnabas Church Parish Leaflet Feb. 29, 1948)

The first cemetery was located near where Ogilvie Flour Mills now stands. The next cemetery was near St. Barnabas Church, which later moved further up the hill. The first burial service was for a surveyor who died of fever early in 1883. He does not mention any dates as to when the cemetery was in use at St. Barnabas Church, but in other references, Rev. Wellington Bridgman, (the first Methodist Minister in Medicine Hat, in 1883) states that the fever, (probably a type of flu) struck the town and he performed eleven funerals that year, deaths caused by the fever. He does not, however, state where the burials were made, but we assume they were in the first cemetery located near Ogilvie Flour Mills in 1883. (Source: Notes from Mr. Mort Fulton)

The Roman Catholic Church has secured sufficient land from Mr. W. Johnston for a cemetery. (Source: Medicine Hat Times March 31, 1892)

The congregation of the Church of England purchased eight acres of land situated in the Seven Persons from Mr. Cruikshanks for cemetery purposes. (Source: Medicine Hat Times June 16, 1892)

In 1891, the St. Barnabas Vestry purchased six acres of land by Seven Persons Creek to use as an Anglican cemetery, replacing a small plot behind the Church, which had served as the town's first cemetery. Five acres of the Hillside Cemetery, located in the coulee to the south of town, were set aside for the use by the Church of England, the first Anglican burial taking place in March of 1884. (A Roman Catholic section was created for the parish of St. Patricks Church in March of 1892; their first burial occurred in January of 1889) Eventually the City of Medicine Hat assumed care for the "old" Hillside Cemetery, in 1945. A new cemetery, also called Hillside, was created on the west of town. (Source: Medicine Hat library archives)