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BLACK HISTORY SOCIETY AND J.D. IRVING, LIMITED CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY THROUGH COMMUNITY-LED RESTORATION OF WATSON FAMILY CEMETERY

GRAND BAY - WESTFIELD The Black History Society Museum, J.D. Irving, Limited and community members Ray and Jan Riddell have worked together to restore the Watson Family Cemetery—a historical site for early Black settlers in Grand Bay-Westfield.

“It was a forgotten spot in the woods, with a couple of broken-down crosses and there was a story there to be told,” says Riddell.

The Grand Bay-Westfield Heritage Committee, together with community volunteers, played a vital role in making this restoration project a reality. Together, they constructed a road leading to the cemetery, ensuring improved access for those looking to connect with the area's historical roots.

J.D. Irving, Limited is proud to support the community-led initiative by contributing a culvert to manage water flow in the area and facilitate the dry installation of a memorial stone at the cemetery. As continued support, this Black history month, J.D. Irving, Limited donated $5,000 to the museum.

“It shows the whole community can come together and work together,” said Ralph Thomas, Co-Founder and Program Coordinator at the New Brunswick Black History Society .

 

Partnering with the Black History Society Museum, the Riddell’s have done extensive research to unveil the stories and legacy of the Black pioneers resting in the Watson Family Cemetery. This collaborative effort aims to honor and preserve the rich history of the community's early settlers.

A tribute to the Watson family, William and William Junior, is featured on an interpretative panel at the Kiwanis gazebo on the Nerepis causeway, symbolizing the community's commitment to honoring its history.

For more information about the Watson Family Cemetery, visit the Black History Society Museum in Saint John, New Brunswick or read more at nbblackhistorysociety.org

 

Watson Plot - Video Snap.JPG