Halde Cemetery Page – Introduction

When someone online asked about Halde Cemetery in Waterville, Kennebec, Maine, my interest was piqued. I had never heard of said cemetery and couldn’t readily find much about it. I started digging and found a defunct website regarding the cemetery. The last updates to the site seem to be dated in 1997. The site can currently only be accessed using archive.org’s WayBackMachine — this means that it is only a matter of time before it is inaccessible. I have been working to retrieve as much information as possible from the site.

The below information I took directly from the image capture from the site’s introduction page. The only information that I have removed is the address to send donations until I can find whether or not this information is still accurate. All captions, photos, and information within this page is the direct work of Robert Chenard and those who have worked tirelessly to preserve the Halde Cemetery. TMR, 23 Nov 2021

When someone online asked about Halde Cemetery in Waterville, Kennebec, Maine, my interest was piqued. I had never heard of said cemetery and couldn’t readily find much about it. I started digging and found a defunct website regarding the cemetery. The last updates to the site seem to be dated in 1997. The site can currently only be accessed using archive.org’s WayBackMachine — this means that it is only a matter of time before it is inaccessible. I have been working to retrieve as much information as possible from the site.

As things get copied and worked into a usable format, I will gladly share the links to the pages here. I do this so that information that others have spent countless hours collecting is not lost.

Halde Cemetery Page – Introduction

Halde Cemetery Page – Part I: The Gravestone Record

Halde Cemetery Page – Part II: The Genealogical Record

Halde Cemetery Page – Part III: Church and Burial Records

Halde Cemetery Page – Part IV: Index & Map

Father Doyon Memorial Cemetery
Waterville, Kennebec county, Maine
Revision 6 – 20 December 1997
by Robert E. Chenard
Genealogist, Waterville, Maine

INTRODUCTION AND CONTENTSIncluded in Parts I and II is the raw information that was collected at this cemetery in 1972 by Patricia Marsh and Katheryn Jackson. Considerable new information was added in 1989 and in 1993 from re-examination of the gravestones and new finds. In 1978, Donald R. Lemieux, now of Sidney, compiled a listing of the gravestones and drew a map showing where each monument was located relative to the central obelisk. Some monuments were more legible at that time than they are now. Thus, some of the information that is presently questionable (due to 15 additional years of weathering) was taken from Lemieux’s list and is identified as Ref. A. A new cemetery map was drawn to include all the new findings. Lemieux’s original numbering system was retained except that letter suffixes were used for the new findings. Based on research into town and State vital, census, Church, and funeral home records, it was possible to further identify many of the individuals buried here. For that information, see PART II. The numbers are referenced to those listed in PART I (the gravestone record).

LOCATIONThis cemetery is located about 1500 feet from the Waterville-Fairfield line on College Avenue on a knoll on the west side behind the former W. S. Pillsbury Tractor Co. It is a rectagular-shaped lot with a frontage of 496.8 feet and is 509.4 feet deep – an area of 5.83 acres. A 12-foot wide right-of-way leads to the cemetery from Drummond Avenue as well as a pedestrian right-of-way behind the former W. S. Pillsbury grounds. There also used to be a right-of-way from Mount Pleasant St. which was the primary route the deceased were taken to their burial site by horse-drawn hearse during most of its history.

HISTORYThe first burial took place in 1873 and the last was in 1959. However, the earliest gravestone found was that of Timothy Donnelly’s who died 8 December 1862. He may have been reinterred here from another place or was buried here before Father Halde purchased this land and resold part of it to his parish (a that time, St. John’s; St. Francis de Sales in 1874). The property, as are all Church properties in the Diocese, is owned by and is under the Corporation of the Diocese of Portland. Lots were not sold with perpetual care as is the case today; thus each family either had to take care of its own lots or pay someone else to do this for them. By the mid-1890’s, it was realized that much of the land at this cemetery was inadequate due to a very high water table and also the fact that usable space was nearly exhausted. Consequently, land in Waterville for a new area Catholic cemetery was purchased in 1898 on Grove Street located adjacent to the town cemetery (Pine Grove). Thus, after about 50 years and nearly two generations later, personal care and interest in maintaining the old (Halde) cemetery was declining rapidly, particularly after the Second World War. In the 1950’s, an attempt was made to restore the cemetery by William Provencher (then caretaker of St. Francis Cemetery) according to Mr. Ivan Roy of Benton who assisted in that restoration effort. With the lack of power equipment, a shortage of manpower and evidently little interest from community members the restoration effort failed and the forces of nature prevailed.


After the third year of restoration (area B)

During the summer of 1993, following a newspaper article earlier that year by Robert Chenard decrying the shameful state of this cemetery in his French Connection column, a restoration project was initiated under the leadership of David Donahue of Fairfield assisted by Robert Chenard of Waterville, Maynard Clair of Clinton, Arthur Grenier of Waterville, and John F. Pouliot of Fairfield and they became the charter members of the newly formed Halde Cemetery Committee. Seven teen-age boys were recruited and assigned to this community project under the auspices of the Federally subsidized Summer Job Youth Employment Program. The project continued in the summers of 1994 and 1995 with the help of this program. Numerous gravestones were uncovered and deciphered during that time as new areas were cleared. By probing the earth with long metal rods, some of the gravestones and their bases were found nearly three feet under ground and even under tree stumps. In 1995, Joe Paquette, a retired contractor living in Belgrade, volunteered to help in the project and used his bulldozer, backhoe and other equipment to remove stumps and relandscape the grounds. In 1996, with the help of the summer youth and adult volunteers, installed a drainage system for the cemetery. During 1996 and 1997, several hundred truckloads of fill were brought in to raise the ground level in the low rear part of the cemetery where water collected and also the large gully in the front (no evidence of any graves were discovered in these sections).


Bob Turmelle, David Donahue, & Dan Laflamme in 1995

The following individuals made the restoration of this old cemetery possible:
David Donahue of Fairfield, who tirelessly gave thousands of hours of his time and some materials during this 5-year effort. As Chairman and treasurer of the Halde Cemetery Committee, he directed the restoration, did research into ownership, contacted the Portland Diocese, arranged for the surveying, supervised the Summer Youth groups 1 to 4 days per week, and did many other important things for this task.

Maynard Clair, who, despite having serious health problems, contributed numerous items (picnic table, metal steps, boards and shingles for the storage building, fuel, and other materials and equipment for use at the cemetery) and was regularly available as a supervisor for the Summer Youth group during most of the restoration. He also did a significant amount of tree-cutting with his chain saw.

Maynard Clair with the 1995 summer youth group

Robert Chenard, who, during the restoration, was available as a supervisor for the Summer Youth, helped David Donahue in providing general direction and planning in this effort, and did the research into all available records for obtaining the identification of those persons buried in the cemetery. He also compiled this booklet and prepared the map-layout.

Joe Paquette pulling stumps in area B; Fall 1995

In September 1994, the Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA) donated money towards the restoration. The work at the Halde cemetery was considered by MOCA as the most significant “old cemetery” restoration that year. The customary gift is $50, but upon seeing the videos of “before” and “after” and the TV channel 5 segment which we showed them at their 25th anniversary meeting held at the Calumet Club in Augusta, the members of MOCA voted to give us $200 instead.

Joseph Lionel Paquette, who, without him and his power equipment, the restoration would have taken several more years of very hard back-breaking work or the restoration might even have failed to a great extent in the battle against the forces of nature. The Halde cemetery committee, of which he is now a valued member, is most appreciative of this kind man.

Joe Paquette on back-hoe and David Donahue

Other individuals deserving special recognition for their work and time given during the restoration project include R. J. Poulin, Albert Duguay and  Arthur Grenier, (all three helped supervise the summer youth and put in many hours of work at the cemetery) John F. PouliotRobert GilbertAlcee VigueRobert TurmelleRobert DavidsonJean Ann Rancourt and Jeannie RancourtRobert VioletteDan LaflammeMrs. Barbara Bailey,all the Summer Job Youth (who were paid minimum wage by the Federally subsidized program), and numerous others from the community and the Knights of Columbus councils of Fairfield and Waterville who worked one or more days at the cemetery. Also doing work during some of the “work weekends” were youngsters from the Waterville Boys & Girls Club and boy scouts from the Immaculate Heart of Mary troop of Fairfield. We also thank the Waterville Fire Department for their support and cooperation during the many occasions when brush was burned and those who provided or donated fill and equipment.

Finally, is the singular effort of Father Gerard Doyon, a retired priest, who worked within his means to restore as much of it as he could, mostly alone, and occasionally with a volunteer, for a period of more than 6 years in the 1980’s, cutting bushes and trees, mowing what little grass there was then, sometimes by flashlight, receiving very little help as well as some discouraging criticism from the Chancery of Portland, he, more than anyone else, decried the shameful condition of this abandonned cemetery. How elated he would now be (and probably is) with what he began and inspired here. His hard work and unrewarded efforts surely were not in vain. In recognition of Father Doyon’s contribution, the Halde Cemetery Committee has rededicated it to his memory as the Father Doyon Memorial Cemetery.

The tall centrally located granite monument (obelisk) is dated 1875 at the base. On the lower part of this obelisk are the following inscriptions engraved on each side or face:


There is still more work to be accomplished before everything is at the point where all that is
required is to mow the grass and occasional upkeep of the access road. In order to do this, funds
are needed to finish this restoration. All workers are unpaid volunteers. All moneys received is used
for buying fuel, gasoline, grass seed, and other required items and supplies. Private donors and
organizations such as the Waterville American Legion Post #5 and the Knights of Columbus
councils of Fairfield and Waterville have provided the majority of the financial support for this restoration.
The Diocese of Portland and the local parishes have not provided a single penny nor have they had to.
The care and upkeep should be restored to the St. Francis Cemetery Association (which is under the
auspices of the Diocese of Portland) when the restoration is completed, as this cemetery will, once more,
be able to be used for new burial sites in the areas where no gravesites are known to exist.
There should be space for upwards of 1,500 new places.

Robert Violette, chairman (Winslow)
David Donahue, treasurer (Fairfield)
Robert Chenard, secretary (Waterville)
Maynard Clair, member (Clinton)
Albert Duguay, member (Fairfield)
Robert Turmelle, member (Waterville)
Ray St.Amand, member (Fairfield)
John Pouliot, member (Fairfield)
Joseph Paquette, member (Waterville)
Richard J. Poulin, member (Clinton)
Alcee Vigue, member (Fairfield)
Jean Ann Rancourt, member (formerly of Norridgewock)
Barbara Bailey, member (Fairfield)
Arthur Rancourt, member (Waterville)
Daniel Laflamme, member (Fairfield)
Robert Gilbert, member (Fairfield)
Robert Davidson, member (Fairfield)