The tombstone of Charles McGuire is the oldest in Salmon Arm’s Mount Ida Cemetery. He died in 1892 from tuberculosis but wasn’t laid to rest until 1894 as the didn’t exist until that year. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Whose grave is marked by the oldest tombstone in Salmon Arm’s cemetery?

Upcoming Cemetery Tour offers opportunity to learn about city’s earliest residents

A member of one of the founding families of Salmon Arm was buried in the first plot at Mt. Ida Cemetery in 1894 – two years after his death.

Charles McGuire, born Jan. 18, 1866 to parents Alexander and Sarah Agnes McGuire, died in 1892 at only 26 years old. Charles had succumbed to a disease which, at the time of his death, was known as “consumption,” and is known today as tuberculosis.

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If the McGuire name sounds familiar, there is good reason. The McGuire family helped put Salmon Arm on the map and is the namesake of McGuire Lake.

Before moving to Salmon Arm, Charles worked as a sales clerk in Kamloops but he saw that he would be out of work once the railway was functional in 1885.

Charles bought land in Salmon Arm, and sent for his 15-year-old brother Jack to help him work on an incomplete homestead. Charles turned Dutch Charlie’s – a brewery and gambling house – into a trading post of sorts and secured the mail contract, which was good for business. When he died, Charles willed his bush farm to his mother but would not be laid to rest in Mt. Ida Cemetery for another two years as the cemetery did not yet exist.

Read more: Graveside view of Salmon Arm history

Read more: Cemetery Tour to feature life and times of Mayor Cyril Thomson

While Charles’ is the first of the cemetery’s stories, there are many more to be heard. To learn more about the cemetery and the people who are buried there, sign up for the Cemetery Tour put on by the R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum. The tour is led by the museum’s curator Deborah Chapman on Oct. 13 and explores the tales behind 21 tombstones throughout the cemetery.

To register, call the village at 250-832-5243. Space is limited to 35 people.


@CameronJHT
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