Mackinac Island’s storied history is a highlight for many visitors. It’s not solely an Island destination but a time traveling adventure into the past. There is an abundance of history on the Island. From Native American culture to War of 1812 battle sites to its fur trading roots, there’s plenty to learn about on Mackinac.
Some of this history is apparent within Mackinac Island’s three cemeteries: Ste. Anne’s Catholic Cemetery, Mackinac Island Cemetery, and the Post Cemetery – which is a military cemetery. All three cemeteries lay adjacent to one another along Garrison Road in the middle of the Island. Nestled away from much of the hustle and bustle of the Island, a respectful stroll to the cemeteries makes for eye-opening, historic reflection. All three are open to the public during daylight.
Post Cemetery, a designated National Historic Landmark, is lined with graves that date all the way back to the War of 1812. Both British and American soldiers are buried here, as many early burials were simply marked with wooden crosses that have long decayed and disappeared – leaving some burials unknown. Of 108 burials, only 39 remain known. The flag at the cemetery continually flies at half mast, making it one of four National Cemeteries with this honor. The cemetery also features a 1907 picket fence and a cannon from Fort Sumter.
The two civilian cemeteries are reserved solely for Mackinac Island residents.
At Ste. Anne’s, you’ll find the oldest known grave on the Island: Marry Biddle, daughter of Edward and Agatha Biddle, who passed away on Dec. 19, 1833.
These cemeteries showcase and honor history. Their presence offers an opportunity to learn and quietly reflect on our own lives as well as life dating all the way back to the 19th century. Just remember, if you decide to investigate the cemeteries, remain respectful.
Learn more at mackinacisland.org.