Ewanida Rail Records


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USCC Cemetery (Sion Cemetery)
Grand Forks, Kootenay Boundary, British Columbia, Canada

Lat: 49° 19' 05"N, Lon: 117° 38' 41"W

Steve W Babakaiff
PO Box 760
Grandforks BC Canada V0H-1H0
Ph: 250-442-8252 Fax: 250-442-3433

Transcribed by Maggie Rail, Nov 05, 2004, last edited Feb 08, 2010 [mrail@asisna.com]. Total records = 1,316.

This cemetery is uniquely situated on the banks of the Kettle River, along the south side of Crowsnest Hwy #3. To reach it drive west out of Grand Forks, turn left onto Mill Road, then a quick right onto Cemetery Frontage Road. The main entrance is some distance down this road, although there is one entrance to the east end, if you make a quick left, after turning onto the Cemetery Frontage Road, and up the hill.

Just before you spot the Mill Road from Hwy #3 you will see the USCC Community Center and the Pride of the Valley Flour Mill, then just west of that, all off to your left as you drive west on Crowsnest Hwy #3, will be the cemetery. The main office in the Community Center, is where you may inquire about cemetery records.

This cemetery was first established in 1909 by the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood and named the Sion Cemetery. In about 1939 the USCC or Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ became the new owners, changing the name to USCC Cemetery.

This cemetery has about 6 acres in use, with several more acres they own, allowing for burials for some time to come. It has 109 rows filled at the present time, with varying numbers of burials in each. At the west end there might be 27 burials in a row while at the east end there may only be 15, depending on the distance across the cemetery in the different sections. It follows the contour of the land, sometimes up a hill and then back down to a flatter, lower area as it follows the bends of the river, varying in width for the full length of the cemetery.

I found there to be many missing stones, or perhaps burials which never had a marker, in some of the older parts of the cemetery, especially in the central area, which appeared to be the oldest section. It perhaps did not always have the care it is getting today for the grounds. Another sad truth is, when there is no existing stone, it is next to impossible to identify the burial site, because many of the very earlier records (pre 1960) were lost in a fire.

The cemetery is well maintained today, with volunteer work. The second day I was there was a scheduled work day for them. About 6:30 a.m. 12-14 men came in full force, each with a tool, lawnmower, weedwhacker etc, and within only a few hours they had the whole cemetery neatly groomed.

A large number of the stones here are in the native language, or sometimes they will have both languages. I was fortunate to be able to have the sexton files to compare with and I also used a Cyrillic to English alphabet to help me translate. I must thank William Lavrench for assisting me in translating those last dozen or so I could not get.

I walked and read this cemetery on Aug 11-12, 2004, using my digital camera. This includes all existing and legible headstones plus a few from the sexton files. I would be happy to share my photos, if someone would like one. When the record says photo, that is a photo on the stone. If anyone sees an error, do not hesitate to contact me about it, so I am able to correct it. If you have proof of a burial here that I do not have, I would be happy to add them. Information in parenthesis is not on the headstone.

- Maggie Rail

s/w = stone with
s/by = stone by, usually like stones
* = from sexton files only, no photo
** = translated from Russian

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