Headstone on beach a head-scratcher
Visitors who discovered it amongst rocks curious how it got there
Maggie Orr, a 12-year-old visiting the North Shore of Conception Bay with her grandmother, came across something unexpected on a beach in Broad Cove recently. She found a section of a headstone with two names on it. Maggie and her grandmother are curious as to how on earth it got there.
BROAD COVE, NL — A 12-year-old girl made a surprising discovery while climbing amongst some rocks on a Conception Bay North beach last month.
Maggie Orr was exploring the beach in Broad Cove July 27 when she came across a broken off chunk of a headstone.
Right in the rocks, there’s I’d say 90 per cent of a headstone. — Madonna Malarsky
“It’s quite a ways out on the rocks,” explained Madonna Malarsky, Maggie’s grandmother from Small Point. “Right in the rocks, there’s I’d say 90 per cent of a headstone.”
The headstone is for a couple believed to be from Western Bay. According to the inscription, John Charles Sellars was born Sept. 20, 1885 and died Dec. 15, 1961. Sarah Elizabeth Sellars was born Jan. 6, 1889 and died Feb. 26, 1975.
“On the bottom there’s kind of a little prayer. There’s a couple of words missing, and then it says “Erected by,” and that part is missing,” said Malarsky, who lives in Alberta and returns home every other summer accompanied by her granddaughter. Her maiden name is Judge and Malarsky’s daughter Dana Orr is also originally from Newfoundland.
She shared a photo of the headstone on Facebook and it attracted a lot of responses, with one comment suggesting with 100 per cent certainty the headstone originated from Western Bay. Malarsky told The Compass she remains curious about how the headstone made it to Broad Cove.
According to the Newfoundland and Labrador Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data website, John and Sarah were buried in the Western Bay North United Church Cemetery.
Marie Mulley, a Carbonear resident with a solid collection of genealogical information for the area, identified a John and Sarah Sellars (maiden name Slade) with matching birth dates for the headstone. While her information for John Charle’s date of death matched the headstone, she had different information for Sarah Elizabeth. According to Mulley, Sarah died in 1963.
Mulley told The Compass the Sellars had nine children, one of whom was Theodore Sellars. Several of his children still live in the Conception Bay North area.
However, Melvin Sellars, one of Theodore Sellars’ sons who lives in Blackhead, said he was not 100 per cent sure if the John Charles and Sarah Elizabeth on the headstone were his grandparents. The Compass attempted to reach other potential descendants of John and Sarah, but failed to do so prior to deadline.
This piece of a headstone was recently found among rocks on a beach in Broad Cove, Conception Bay North.
According to this headstone, Sarah Elizabeth Sellars died in 1975.
The headstone reportedly comes from the Western Bay North United Church Cemetery.
John Charles Sellars was born in 1885 and died 76 years later.