Early Settlers Cemetery, Moser River, NS

Updated: January 28, 2018

Some of you may already know I’m a genealogy nut, emphasis on the nut. While drinking-aged teen friends were out making their world a fuzzy place to be, I was poring over notes about my great-grandparents and trying to make connections between them and others with the same surname. Twenty-five years later, I’m still doing the same thing.

Because of this obsession, I’ve dragged first my young nephews then my own children through dozens, perhaps a few hundred, cemeteries in Atlantic Canada. Some of these cemeteries held the remains of several hundred individuals while others were a single grave.

As whim allows, I’m going to post some of the photos I’ve taken over the years. I can’t do it all at once, just as time permits.

Today, I’m posting pictures taken at the Early Settlers Cemetery ~ Herr Heinrich Moser Sr., Moser River, Halifax County, NS.

Although I had thought I’d visited every cemetery between Sheet Harbour and Sherbrooke while digging up the Tibert and McDonald history, I was wrong. On a sunny summer’s day in 2007 while talking with Gail at the Trail Stop, Moser River, and discussing my activities for the day – taking pictures of local headstones – she asked if I had been to the Early Settlers Cemetery

“No! I hadn’t heard of it,” I said. “Tell me more.”

Gail kindly gave me direction to this secluded cemetery then I packed my youngsters in the car and went in search of it. It took several minutes of driving and asking neighbours near the cemetery before we discovered the right path to the waterfront property where many early settlers of the small community of Moser River were laid to rest.

The incredible advantage digital cameras have over film cameras is the onboard computer that captures the exact time of each photo taken. Four years later, without having made one note, I know the first picture was taken at 1:25 pm, July 22, 2007, and the last at 1:31 pm. Incredible!

How did I do this, you might ask. Simple. Hover the curser over the file name of the photo and these details and others are revealed. For more details, right click the file name and choose Properties from the menu that appears.

The Old Settlers Cemetery contains only three headstones with information. Most of the graves are marked with a simple steel cross. My usual mode of taking pictures is to first take a shot of the entire stone and setting. The second photo is a close-up so I can read the information clearly. This is not needed for every headstone.

I used the Nova Scotia Genealogy website (https://novascotiagenealogy.com) to search for records to add information to what I have.

The Old Settlers Cemetery

As we approached the cemetery, I could immediately see it was well cared for. The lovely white fence was in perfect working condition, the grass was neatly trimmed and the tree added beauty to the tranquil setting.

Old Settlers Cemetery Moser River









A fitting sign graced the entrance way.

Old Settlers Cemetery, Moser RiverOld Settlers Cemetery, Moser River





The setting was beautiful. The soft summer breeze blew off the ocean, bringing with it the aromas of salt and sea.

Old Settlers Cemetery, Moser River









Turning away from the harbour, I took a picture of the cemetery to show where the headstones and crosses were located.

Old Settlers Cemetery, Moser River









William E. Moser’s headstone was the oldest on site. William had died October 24, 1890, age 54. I could find nothing further on William’s death on the Nova Scotia Genealogy website.

However, I believe I found his marriage registration (book 1816; page 184, number 84): William Edward Moser married Catherine Moser on February 5, 1877 (hard to read) at Moser River, Halifax County, NS by license, Presbyterian. William was 40 years old, a bachelor and farmer. He was the son of Ann and George (farmer). Catherine was a 24-years-old spinster. She was the daughter of Mary Ann and Arth? (very hard to read) Moser (fisherman). Both were born and resided in Moser River. Witnessing the wedding was George Fraser and Rev.(?) Alfred B. Dickie.

If someone knows whether these guesses are right or wrong, please, let me know.

UPDATE: I was sent a message to say these guesses are correct, and that Catherine Moser’s father was Archibald. Thanks, Walter.

Old Settlers Cemetery, Moser RiverOld Settlers Cemetery, Moser River

Wm J. (Wm indicates William) Shiers was born in 1866 and died in 1948. His wife, Eliza A., was born in 1872 and died in 1955.

Searching for a death record on the Nova Scotia Genealogy site, I found Wm J. was William Jack Shiers. He died at Moose Head, Halifax County, NS on February 11, 1948 at the age of 81 years, 5 months and 23 days. Although the handwriting is difficult to read, I believe he died from coronary occlusion (heart disease).

William was born at Moose Head on August 20, 1866, the son of Eliza Moser (born Moose Head) and Albert Shiers (born Moose Head). William was married at the time of his death to Eliza Shiers. He had been a carpenter during his lifetime, working in the trade for 50 years (if I read the handwriting correctly). It appears his last day of work was ten years before he died. His nationality is listed as Canadian, and his racial origin as English.

Neil H. Smith of Necum Teuch, who was unrelated to William, served as informant to his death. William was buried at Moser River on February 13, 1948 by the undertaker, D. K. Veinotte of Ecum Secum.

On further search of the website, I found Eliza’s death certificate. Eliza Anna Shiers died February 27, 1955 at Moose Head at the age of 82 years, 9 months and 22 days. Again, the cause of death is difficult to read. It appears to be cardial vascular disease. She was a widow.

Eliza was born Eliza Anna Moser on May 5, 1872 at Moser River, the daughter of Catherine MacDonald (born Harrigan Cove, NS) and William Moser (born Moser River). She had been a housewife.  Her nationality was listed as Canadian, and her racial origin was German.

The informant for her death was her daughter, Stella Maud, the wife of Arthur Moser of Moser River. (Stella and Arthur were married September 1, 1921 at The Rectory, Ecum Secum, Guysborough County). She was buried March 1, 1955 at Moser River by the undertaker, D. K. Veinotte, Ecum Secum.

Old Settlers Cemetery, Moser RiverOld Settlers Cemetey, Moser River



Nelson Moser died the same year as Eliza A. Shiers, in 1955. He was born in 1868, so was a few years younger than her. His wife, Sarah M., was born in 1879 and died in 1964.

Searching the NS Genealogy, I found Nelson’s death certificate. He had died August 3, 1955 at Moose Head, Halifax County, NS at the age of 89 years, 1 month and 18 days of arterial sclantic (?spelling), cardio vascular disease.

Nelson was born June 16, 1866 (which differs from the headstone) at Moose Head, the son of Sophie Howbolt (born Mary Joseph (now Marie Joseph), Guysborough) and Ephram Moser (born Moose Head).

Nelson was a carpenter for twenty years, but also worked as a fisherman. His last day of work was in 1935. His nationality is listed as Canadian, and his racial origin was Dutch. He was married at the time of his death to Sarah Matilda Moser.

The informant who provided the information for the death certificate was Mrs. Nelson Moser (Sarah), his wife, who lived at Moser River. He was buried August 4, 1955 at Moser River by the undertaker Ken Veniot, Ecum Secum, Guysborough County.

Sarah’s death certificate won’t be available online until 2014, fifty years after the event.

The couple’s marriage registration can be found online (book: 1819, page 18, number 268). They were married July 5, 1894 at Moser River, by License, Presbyterian. Sarah M. Moser was age 15-year-old spinster, the daughter of Catherine and William (farmer) Moser. Nelson Moser was 24 years old, a bachelor and fisherman, son of Sophia and Epherium Moser (Carpenter). Both had been born and resided in Moser River. The witnesses were Maggie Bresker? (hard to read) and George Moser.

Old Settlers Cemetery, Moser RiverOld Settlers Cemetery, Moser River

I checked the steel crosses. None of them had markings on them to indicate a name or a date.

If you found this information helpful, please consider buying me a cup of tea ($1.50) as if we had chatted at a cafe and I shared this with you. [Payment is through PayPal.]

59 thoughts on “Early Settlers Cemetery, Moser River, NS

  1. Very interesting read, My grand father a great man came from this area, Willam moser married to Jean Moser from the Ecum Secum area.They had moved to Medford Ma. I believe her mother was Nettie Beaney whose maiden name was Jewers. If I have it right. Im heading to Ecum Secum on 6/9/19 to explore my self. Kevin Wallace

  2. Hi, my name is Bob Moser from Beverly Ma. I have relatives that have visited Moser River and I was told that I am somehow distantly related. I have not researched the genealogy. My grandfather was Charles Moser born in Boston in 1890.

  3. The Lowe’s from moser river started with Sgt.John Lowe from Scotland of the 83rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Glasgow Volunteers)

  4. Hello Diane My name is William Shiers, the grand son of the William J Shiers you have posted on your early settler’s page.some of the info. dosent match,the historical facts,as whoever published them,was in error.I will begin with William E Moser,who is correctly stated as the son of George Moser and Ann his wife. William J Shiers, full name was ,William Jacob Shiers,Jacob being the name of his mothers father first name. Wm J shier’s ,father was Albert Shiers who was married to Jacob Moser’s dauther,Phobie,her mother was from Liscomb,maden name Debra Lang.(the name shiers is correctly pronounced shers)we are of German Swiss,Frence and Itialian desent.as far back as I have been able to trace the Shiers here in this aeria,was around1654 Ad WITH sAMUEL dE cHAMPLAIN. in fact where I live in Moose Head,out by the sea shore in a place called shiers point,ther was a land grant given to the old shiers famley consisting of what today woulb 100 acres.later in 1815 A Dit was granted to Henery moser sr.the present corner head stone of this grant,which can be found is on thesame coordinance as first set in th 1600s. William J Shiers was married to Eliza Ann MacDonald,either in 1892 or1894.Eliza Ann was born 5years before her mother Cathrin Ann MacDonald was married to Wm E Moser.I have been told that Eliza’s father was a McMann from moser river. I believe that my great Grand mother kitty ann worked for the McMann famley,as they had a number of servant ladies working for them,at the McMann house’s in moser river.the Moser’s wer of Dutch German desent,and also members of the Luthern church.after kitty ann married wm.e,then shee changed my grand mother’s last name to moser.I will leave this much info with you for now. my second oldest daughter Faithshiers(Allen)also does genological research.also my sisters girls have researched the historicla background of the famley lines in this aera.Faith’s E-mail add is deepforest faith@yahoo.com.I will leave my E-mail add below

  5. hi, have anyone heard from ferne richardson,i been waiting a long time to get answer from ,do anyone know if something happen to her. hazel grove

  6. This is not a lot to do with your site. I am a tour bus driver from the mountains of North Carolina. I grew up in the town the Andy Griffith Show is based.
    I come through Moser River in the Motorcoach loaded with groups from time to time. Love, Love, Love your community. Beautiful place, beautiful people!

  7. Hi Diane, I’m sure we have met before I have done research in your area starting in the 1970’s by interviewing the older residents, I have compliled family histories for most of the Moser River families. Because of time and life interfering with what I love to do most of my research, done before computers, is in paper form. I’m wanting to turn it over to someone who will carry on with what I started. If you or you know of someone let me know.

    • Richard, have you considered creating a book with your research? I may be able to help get the work onto the computer, and then organised in book format. If you are interested in doing this. It would be nice to see a completed form for your research so you can share it with others who research the families and history of the area. I assume you wish to share it, but I understand if you don’t.

      I don’t remember your name, but I’m horrible for names. I often remember faces or voices. If we have met, I’m sorry I don’t remember.

    • My great great great grandparents and there family lived in moser river there are some family last names like Moser Fraser and Jewers just wondering if there is any info on Margaret Jane Fraser her married name would be Jewers or her Husband William Fraser or a Jane Fraser she later went by mailman and and then there were other family members John Fraser and Sarah Margaret Moser I really would love to piece some of the family tree together not just for me but for my kids and there kids any information would be helpful.

      • Hi Natasha
        I have all the family history for the Fraser and Moser familes, I belive I have a picture of Margaret Fraser I will look it up for you later today and let you know

      • Hello Natasha this is also my family. My grandma Kay often talked about Aunt Maggie and Bob Jewers . He went by Bob but was not a Robert LOL. My grandmother lived with them. I have a picture of them . They came to Somerville , MA. You may contact me at capecod656@yahoo.com Regards, Louise

    • Hi Richard;
      I came across your name as I was looking for my family heritage-Moser. My great grandmother’s name is Sarah Eldora Moser and married Howard Richard “Dickie” Turner. Evatt Graham Turner and Gladys Muriel Moser is my grandmother. I read you have some information regarding the Moser family heritage and would be very interested in a copy of it, if possible. If anyone has any information it would be greatly appreciated. My name is Cheryl and my email is cherylandshadow1965@hotmail.com

      • Hi Cheryl
        Your grandfather was my Uncle.He and my mother were siblings. Sarah and Dickie were my grandparents.If you want to email me and let me know what info you are looking for I will try to help.Can I ask which of the children are you parents ?
        E-Mail is: ferne.richardson@hotmail.com

    • hi richard i see you on dianna typerts write up;and see you have done a lot of research on the moser river families im now interested in the turner and rudolph jean jewers and denise burns told me you have done reseach with jean but didnt let me know how to contact you after you moved from moser river so could you please help me out with these turners and mosers help will be much appreciated email addy crnb9@hotmail.com

  8. do anyone can get in touch with ferne richardson,please tell her to write or if you have her e-mail address that i can write. thank you very,very,much hazel

  9. hi, i cannot find my great grandmother sarah ann moser ,she married wm wilson in 1845 in hfx,n.s.,like to get her and her family so far no luck,i enjoy looking up old cementry hoping to find her
    ,i do not know where he was bury either

    if you find anything,please e-mail me fred.w.grove@gmail.com

    • Hi hazel
      I have been following the Moser geneolgy as my Grandmother was a Moser from the Moser River area. My G.Grandmother Catherine Anne B:!840 had a sister Sarah who married a William Wilson. If you think they could be the same please get in touch and I will give you the information that I have which was passed down in the family
      Tanks Ferne

    • Hi Hazel
      I am sorry but I have’t been on this site for a long time.I am not too sure how much help I can be but will answer as much as I can .If you would like to e-mail me my address is:
      ferne.richardson@hotmail.com .My family line is from Catherine Anne , Sarah’s sister. If you haven’t gotten any further in your research and I can help would be happy to. I didn’t follow William and Sarah but did her sister Catherine Anne

      • have you anything on sarah ann moser who married wm. wilson of hfx,n.s, please e-mail me ,i like her birth date and parent nam . hazel

        • I don’t have any information on Sarah Ann Moser. This is not part of my family line, but I am slowly adding information to my Harrigan Cove website which includes the community of Moser River. I have nothing on her on the site yet, but as I continue to add information, she may show up. You can see what I have so far on this family and the community here: https://harrigancove.wordpress.com/index/

  10. I was born a Moser and grew up in Moser River. My grandparents were Frank and Alice Moser. I believe I am directly descended from some of the people buried in this cemetary. I would love to know more, will visit this cemetary soon.

  11. To Loreen MacDonald
    Lorene come home to your mother’s place of birth this summer. We are having a Lowe Family Reunion

  12. Hi Diane! Thanks for posting this. There are a lot of Mosers on my mother’s side of the family, so I hope to get out to see this cemetery sometime myself.

    I started cataloguing graveyards in N.S. late last year and came across your website, and also an article you wrote in Roots to the Past about the Old Porter’s Lake Presbyterian Cemetery. Last week I started indexing the stones in the St. John’s church cemetery on Main Street in Dartmouth (where all the construction is going on, if you’ve been through there lately). One of the workers was curious about the project and mentioned that he had a 2nd or 3rd cousin who was researching graveyards and churches in the area and had published a lot of work, and it was you! I knew I recognized your name from somewhere when he told me, but it didn’t click until a few seconds after he left to return to work. I just thought that was a weird coincidence 🙂

  13. Yes I have in fact looked into the Cordes Gen. page and it has been helpful , thank you .
    Also have to say you were right on where we lived and your brother Glen and I were in fact in the same grade at school.Spent many early years at you home ,your mother being very welcoming to us when we visited ,miss those days .Nice to hear from you .

  14. Sorry – I forgot to mention that Nelson and Sarah Moser would be my great grandparents on my grandfather’s side. My grandfather was Norman Moser and his daughter Janet was my mother. I too was unaware of this cemetery until only a few years ago.

  15. I don’t think it is the Lowe family that lives near. I knew Hector Lowe and his family and that cemetery is is next to where they used to live, on the opposite side of the main road.Needing to check with someone to be sure ,I think traveling east from Halifax the cemetery is just past the Moosehead Rd.,on the same side.I used to live on the Moosehead Rd.Finding it quite strange that growing up there , I never knew of it’s excentance.

    • My name is Cliff Hutka and my family also used to live on Moosehead Rd – firstly in the little house just past the road leading down to Bertha and Gordon Snow’s place and later the second last house at the end of the road just before Dorothy and Harold Shiers place. I think my brother Glen may be more your age but I do vaguely remember your family. If I am not mistaken your house used to be on the right hand side of the road just before Stan and Edie Moser’s place. If you are looking for information on the Mosers you really need to check out the genealogy research which has been compiled by John Cordes. If you google “Cordes Genealogy Home”, it will provide a wealth of information.

    • Lowe is a very ancient Jewish surname, it means “lion” in Hebrew. There is a very famous rabbinical family with this name.

      • The Lowe’s from moser river were from Scotland they started with Sgt. John low of the 83rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Glasgow Volunteers)

  16. I was visiting a lady, Ena Purcell — Musquodoboit Harbour, yesterday and she told me her ancesters came from Germany in 1770’s and settled in Moser River. They were Jews and the name she mentiond was Heinrick Moses, who changed the spelling to Moser so as not to be recognized as a Jew. There were 7 of them — not sure if she said siblings or children. Some later went to town and changed the name yet again to Mosher. I found this very interesting since my mother, Belle [Lowe] Leslie was from Moser River. When checking on this information today I came across this web site but the only place I see his name is on the Cemetry Sign. Where is this cemetry located? I know there had been a cemetry plot close to where my Uncle’s Hector and Basil Lowe lived — would this be it?

    • I’m not familiar with the families who live in the houses near the cemetery. I can’t say if it is the Lowe family. This cemetery is down a long, grassy path. It’s right on the water. I imagine if you walked to the right (if you’re looking at the ocean from the road) from the bridge, you’d find it to be about half a kilometre. By car, you have to go down a dirt road, Ferry Road, I think it was called. You take a right off ferry road, park by a house and walk down the path, making sure you head towards the water.

      That is interesting information. Thanks for sharing.

    • This is in response to Loreen’s comment back in 2012. I am a direct descendant of Henrich Moser. The Moser family was not Jewish. I know this because all of my family members have been DNA tested. There was a family named Jewers that lived in Moser River maybe thats where that lady’s confusion came from. My father passed down a small booklet about the history of Moser River that was published back in the early 1970’s. If anyone is interested, please contact me at: Lisajmoser@yahoo.com & I’ll send you a scanned copy. One last comment…whoever it is that watches over & cares for that cemetery, GOD bless you.

      • DNA testing at present will only reveal Jewish ancestry to about 40% of those tested and only Ashkenazi Jewish, not Sephardic. This is a very complicated history and needs much study. Jews left Spain in 1492 and went to many other countries, where they took on names reflective of their new country. Mauser, later other spelling, IS a Jewish surname. You can find it on the list of German Jewish surnames online. So are Moser and Mosher. I am a direct descendant of the Mauser that came from Germany. I do show Jewish ancestry on my DNA results. Many families of Jewish origin settled in Blandford and Chester, NS. Some were only one generation from being Jewish. Also, clues to Jewish ancestry are found in the first names they gave their kids. Abigail, Moyle, Ephraim, Solomon and on and on…Hebrew names.

  17. I enjoyed reading about your findings. Cemeteries can be so interesting and informative. Your people are from Guysborough, right? Have you “done” all the cemeteries there? I have found two cemeteries that were out in the woods, one in MA and the other near Bar Harbour, ME. I was so excited to see them. The ME one had the remains of one of the men who rowed Washington across the Delaware that fateful night. He was an uncle way back. Priscilla

    • Thanks for dropping by, Priscilla. Yes, my father was born at Liscomb Mills where his grandfather had settled in the 1880s. I have visited many of the cemeterie in Guysborough County, but I don’t have pictures for them all. You are aware the Guysborough GenWeb site has them or at least they are trying to photograph every headstone. My pictures were taken mostly in the cemeteries between Sheet Harbour and Sherbrooke. I didn’t take every headstone if there were many, just those relating to the family. Wherever I found family, I visited the cemetery and snapped pics.

      Cemeteries out in the woods are great finds. And pictures of them are treasures because many people either can reach them or can’t find them.

  18. Thank you Diane. I love old cemeteries and this is one that I might not have ever seen if it wasn’t for you and this blog.

  19. What a facinating find! As a fellow lover of history and early settler cemetaries, I was so happy to see the pictures reflect the care taken of this special place.

    Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful pictures and story of your journey through the cemetary.

    Christi Corbett

    • When I learned of the cemetery, I wondered about the condition. Like you, I was pleasantly surprised to see the wonderful care this out-of-the-way cemetery is under. Obviously someone who either has loved ones buried there or who appreciates the history in old cemeteries sees that it is kept in excellent condition.

      • That cemetery is not well known even to ancestors of the ones buried there .I am still trying to figure out just who William Edward was .My Great Grandfather was Edward Moser ,B:1837-D:1920. He married Catherina Ann Moser B:1840-D:1870?Though I have not been to this Cemetery I had thought My G.Grandfather Edward was burried there.,and he could be.I am a direct descendant of Heinrich Moser.We have been trying to piece together our history and some of what we have does not match . Everything I have has been passed down from previous family members.Most of which came from my Grandmother Sarah Turner(Moser) who died 1982 at the age of 102.She was the daughter of Edward and Catherine Ann.Takes a lot of research and time, so slowly I get bits and pieces. Thanks for the pic.’s , and it is taken care of by a family member ,

  20. Lots to be learned from old cemeteries.

    Interestingly, while I was researching St. Cyprian’s church here in Dalhousie, I discovered what only a few in the area seemed to know, that there was another Anglican cemetery that had been abandoned many, many years ago. It was in pretty hard shape at that point, but has since has been restored by a group who have restore various cemeteries in the area.

    • I love old cemeteries. They have many secrets to share if someone takes the time to dig them up. I’m happy to hear your found abandoned cemetery was given a second life by that group which restored it. This is our history, our families who carved a life in Canada. Thanks for sharing, Laura.

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