Head­stone on beach a head-scratcher

Vis­i­tors who dis­cov­ered it amongst rocks cu­ri­ous how it got there

The Compass - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.

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