The history of the cemetery can be traced back to Monday, February 6th, 1888, when a meeting was held in Deseronto’s Town Hall to discuss the establishment of a Cemetery Company under the terms of the Cemeteries Act. It was agreed that the Deseronto Cemetery Company should be formed, with a capital of $4,500. Within a week a prospectus had been issued and shares were being sold at $100 each.
The Tribune, Deseronto’s newspaper of the day, reported the outcome of the meeting in the following way:
The prospect of the early opening of a cemetery in this vicinity is everywhere hailed with satisfaction. The people of Deseronto and neighbourhood have in the past been compelled to bury their dead here, there and everywhere, a state of affairs in no way creditable to their public spirit. We are glad to know that so many are taking shares in the company.
The Tribune, February 10th, 1888
The original committee of the Cemetery Company included Dr John Newton, the local physician, Amos A. Richardson, a merchant (later MPP for Hastings East), and Thomas H. Nasmith, cashier for the Rathbun Company.
Forty acres of land to the east of Deseronto were purchased by the Rathbuns for the cemetery in April 1888 and A. J. Hopkins, a landscape architect from Oswego, New York, was hired to design a layout for the site in early May of the same year. The choice of an Oswego landscape architect reflected the industrial interests of the Rathbuns in that town and the fact that there were no landscape architects in Canada at that time.
“Before long, it would be a ‘pleasure’ for anyone to be buried in the Cemetery”, reported The Tribune, on April 6th. By the summer of 1888 the cemetery was in use.
A portion of the cemetery was sold to the Roman Catholic church in 1895, creating a separate Catholic section on the east side of the site.