Across from the stage
A hundred and forty years ago, George Street was a place of tradesmen and warehouses, where a ship owner could restock his vessel. Or a family could go to pick up a gravestone.
But not all the relics of that time are buried beneath the bars and restaurants of George Street. At least one is above ground—unlike the people whose names it bears.
At the top of the concrete stairs beside the Rock House building you’ll find a stone with the names of at least four people etched on it.
Isabella Whiteford is written on the side facing Turkey Joes.
Apparently she died on April 4, 1865 at 75 years old, two years before her husband, Alex, whose epitaph is above hers on the gravestone.
Charles Pollock Reynolds and Mariam Whiteford Reynolds are written on the side facing the Majestic Theatre.
According to the Directory of 1864-65, Mariam worked at Reynolds & Co., a dry goods supplier located at what was then 293 Water Street. Isabella Whiteford also worked there.
The last two names, Olivia McNeilly Whiteford and James Alex Whiteford, are on the Rob Roys side of the stone.
James, who died in 1887, was a watchmaker, and lived in “Dunluce Cottage” on Portugal Cove Road.
After searching the names on the provincial archive registry, I discovered another headstone for the Whiteford’s at the Protestant cemetery on Waterford Bridge Road. The inscription on that stone is almost identical to the George Street stone.
It’s impossible to say for sure why two gravestones for the family exist and why one of them is on George Street.
There were a few stone mason shops nearby back then, according to street maps of the late 19th century. Perhaps it was a practice stone the masons left behind.
Or perhaps there’s more to it than that.
— Shawn Hayward