The Oak Grove Cemetery is the earliest burying ground for the residents of Kentville. Formerly known as Oak Hill Cemetery, the Oak Grove Cemetery dates from July 1, 1817. It is in the extreme east end of Kentville on what was once the property of Benjamin Peck Sr. and Benjamin Peck Jr.
The cemetery is favourably situated on a sunny, sheltered slope, providing a fine view from its summit. It is shaded in part by grand old oaks and within easy access of the main part of town.
On March 8, 1845, an act was passed by the legislature to provide for the supervision and management of this burying ground. This act states,
“… that on July 1, 1817, when Benjamin Peck Jr., with his wife Mary, deeded his farm to Joseph Barss Jr., he reserved half an acre for a public burying place, in the grove of oaks, where his father, mother, and several others were buried. This public burying ground was to be open and free to people of all denominations forever”.
The original half-acre has been greatly added to over the years. Now, several acres are consecrated for use as a cemetery. The earliest recorded grave belongs to Hannah Peck, who died at age six on September 8, 1774. The first graves in the cemetery have tombstones which are still well preserved.
One notable personage who is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery is Henry Magee. A native of Ireland and a Loyalist from one of the rebelling colonies, Henry Magee built the first grist mill and owned the first general store in Kentville. He died on August 2, 1806, at the age of sixty-seven.
Eaton, Arthur Wentworth Hamilton. The History of Kings County. Belleville, Ontario: Mika Studio, 1972.
Nichols, Mabel G. The Devil’s Half Acre – A Look at Kentville’s Past. Kentville: Kentville Centennial Committee, 1986.