The Russell Road Cemetery is another of Port Elizabeth’s historic grave yards dating back to the early days of Port Elizabeth. As the town grew the increased demands on the St Mary’s Cemetery next to the Baakens River became too much and a solution had to be found, not just for another cemetery but also to accommodate the different religious affiliations. Small pieces of land was allocated to the various Christian denominations on the town margins in the late 1830’s and 1840’s with the Wesleyan Methodists, Catholics and Congregationalists each getting their own burial grounds to the north west of the settlement in what became known as Burial Kloof. This kloof, a rocky area which created a natural stream when it rained, is the kloof down which Russell Road runs today. Back then the three cemeteries were adjacent to one another and were separated by walls with each church having their own entrance.
Today there isn’t much left in the Russell Road Cemetery. The cemetery became very run down many years ago, and most of the graves were badly vandalised. In an effort to preserve as much of the remaining stones as they can, the municipality laid them flat and cemented them to the ground.
One grave stands out from the rest. The white grave in the centre of the cemetery belongs to James Langley Dalton who was a survivor of the Battle of Rorkes Drift and the recipient of a Victoria Cross. Unfortunately Dalton dies while visiting a friend in Port Elizabeth and was buried in this cemetery.