In the community of Porters Lake, on the Myra Road, there is a small church, St Marks Anglican, within sight of the Porters Lake narrows. The church has a small cemetery on a gentle east-facing slope. Directly opposite on the other side of the road is Pixie Keizer’s Garage, a good landmark if you are looking for St Marks (some might say it’s just the opposite).
Recently, while waiting for my car to be serviced, I took the short walk up the road to the cemetery. I thought that I might happen to find a grave marker of one of the many Halifax Explosion victims from the Eastern Shore
I did find the marker of a young woman, Margaret H Cooper. The engraving on the broken headstone, lying on the ground, told a short story. She was the wife of a man named James Cooper, and she was only 26 when she died in the explosion. From the archives, I have also learned she was usually called “Jeannie,” and not by her formal name, Margaret. She was a mother. Her child, Baby Cooper, died in the explosion with her. Her place of residence when she and her baby died was Hawthorne Street in Dartmouth.
I have not been able to find out what Jeannie’s maiden name was. The fact she was buried here in this lovely spot perhaps indicates that her family was from the Myra Road area, and that St. Marks was her family’s church. The headstone is beautiful, even though it now lies broken. One hundred years ago, someone cared dearly for Jeannie. Today, the grass around her marker is still well tended and is easy to read.
If anyone has additional information on the story of Margaret H Cooper, please contact: Jim Reid, home phone 902 829-2850, email [email protected].com
Editor’s Note: Jim Reid is spearheading a special event at the Old School in Musquodoboit Harbour on Saturday, December 2, 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. Local performers, storytellers, and musicians will explore the Halifax Explosion's ripple effects on the people of the Eastern Shore. Hours are from 12 noon to 4 pm, and from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. Free, by donation. See TheOldSchool.ca for a schedule of events. If you have stories, poetry, audio, photos, or anything else about the Explosion, contact Jim Reid.