This plaque commemorating the Great Russell Fire was added to the Historical Plaque Program in 2019 in partnership with the Russell and District Historical Society.

This plaque is located behind the Keith M. Boyd Museum, at the Church Street entrance to the cemetery, Russell.

St. Andrew's and St. Paul's United Church Cemetery

In 1867, the Wesleyan Methodist Church purchased property from William Helmer. The property extended from the corner of Church St. north to the Castor river and west to the gully that transects the current cemetery. In 1878, the Church sold the land that contains Bank St. and the area along the river to Austin Doran. Mr. Doran sold the land west of the gully to the Church to add to the cemetery property. At one time, a small foot bridge linked the two sections of the cemetery.



The Cemetery Today

On this site, the first wood frame Methodist church was built and was located at the corner of Bank St. and Concession St. This first church was found to be too small, and in in 1881 the congregation decided to build a larger brick church just adjacent to the original building.


The earliest burial in this cemetery was Nehemiah Pillar in 1851, infant of Hiram Pillar (1821-1904) and Mary Charlotte Holmes (1814-1890). The Pillar family is one of the earliest pioneer settlers in the area. We show here a photo of Hiram's younger brother, Abraham Pillar (1835-1926), standing in the Pillar family plot with St. Paul's Methodist (brick) church in the background.Abraham Pillar

Other known burials were the Orr family, who died in an accident in the Vars area; residents who were the first casualties of the area's train incident; and Dr. Joseph C. Bass, Duncanville's first doctor (now the village of Russell), who was laid to rest in 1867.

The Church Unites

In 1925, the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church united with St. Paul's Methodist Church. The St. Andrew's & St. Paul's United Church now takes care of the cemetery.

Submit a Plaque Suggestion

If you know of a person, place, event or object that you think may be of historical significance to the Township of Russell, please let us know!


The plaque is intended for commemorative purposes and has no legal implications. It is not a designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.