Virtual Tour: Murrayville Cemetery

Historic Murrayville Cemetery
Historic Murrayville Cemetery.
Photograph by Ron Bryson

Featuring a view of Golden Ears Mountain in the distance, the Murrayville Cemetery has a history that extends back to 1891. Established by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (Cloverdale Lodge No. 15) and named the Odd Fellows Cemetery, it has the unique feature of the oldest tombstone predating the opening of the cemetery. How is that possible? Alexander Murray drowned in the Fraser River in January 1884 while attempting in vain to save a friend. Originally, Murray was buried at the Fort Langley Cemeter. But when the Odd Fellows Cemetery opened, his family exhumed his body and relocated it so that he would be closer to home.

In 1904, the municipality of Langley purchased the cemetery and renamed it Langley Prairie Cemetery. Over the years, it has come to be known as the Murrayville Cemetery. It is located at 21405 - 44 Avenue, west of 216 Street on the Murrayville hill.

Capture a glimpse of the Murrayville Cemetery and learn of Langley's early history by viewing below some of the special and unique headstones located within the cemetery.

Therold Williams’ headstone,
Murrayville Cemetery.
Photograph by Ron Bryson

As in the Fort Langley Cemetery, the Murrayville Cemetery is home to many unique and touching memorials. One of sweet remembrance is that of Therold F. Williams, who passed away one month shy of his fifth birthday. In keeping with attempts in the early 20th century to downplay death’s finality, this stone described Therold as one who "fell asleep." Sentimentally, the stone also reads:

Sakamoto headstone,
Murrayville Cemetery.
Photograph by Ron Bryson

"No Sordidness of life can stain No weight of woe can crush This little child of mine."

The history of Japanese Canadians living in British Columbia is a long one. In the older section of the Murrayville Cemetery, a few graves mark their early presence in Langley. The stone, inscribed in English, is a thick, squat granite block. The stone remembers the Sakamotos as “Father” and “Mother” and bears the Christian text “God is Love.”

Found in what was once called an Odd Fellows Cemetery is an odd monument marking the passing of Johnston and Margaret Nelson. This unique and impressive marker is carved out of red granite and consists of a sphere supported by a pedestal. The perfect sphere surely must have been a challenge to create, but also draws much admiration. As the second family to settle in Murrayville, the Nelsons operated Langley's first steam-powered sawmill.

Paul and Lucy Murray came to Langley in the 1870s, giving their name to the Murrayville neighbourhood. Originally known as Murray’s Corners, the community that emerged at the Five Corners came in time to be known as Murrayville. The monument commemorates Paul, Lucy, two of their sons, and a daughter.

Nelson Monument,
Murrayville Cemetery.
Photograph by Ron Bryson
Murray family monument,
Murrayville Cemetery.
Photograph by Ron Bryson

More Information

Langley Centennial Museum
604.532.3536
museum@tol.ca