The first graves were largely a result of Loyalist burials, some of them the settlers Captain Michael Grass had brought with him to Canada. Captain Michael Grass himself was also buried in the cemetery in 1813. The land upon which the cemetery is located was owned by Neil Ferris who measured out the area and sold plots (containing approximately fifteen graves each) for the sum of $10.00, and a deed was given to prove ownership. Thirty deeds were registered in Kingston, dating between 1840 and 1899.
In the founding years this cemetery, which now surrounds Cataraqui United Church on three sides, was not Methodist, but was more closely aligned with the Catholic Apostolic Church in which Mr. Ferris was involved. Neil Ferris died in 1893, passing his estate (including unsold plots) to his unmarried niece Sara Jane Dick, who died soon after 1901. The estate was then inherited by her sister Mrs. Emma Susan Chapman, who moved away a few years later. Subsequently this was the end of Ferris ownership of the burial grounds. There is not official document that indicated ownership of the 'Ferris Burying Ground' by the Methodist Church of Cataraqui. However, the Church continued to look after the cemetery and Cataraqui United church is still the manager today. In 1929, a 'Perpetual Care Fund' was established to care for the grounds adjoining the Methodist burial grounds is a family cemetery, "The McGuin Burial Plot". The exact demarcation of this plot is a post in the northwest corner of the lot, and this can be clearly seen today; a surveyor's stone with a scored cross on top.
The cemetery has passed through several phases since its conception; the coming of the Loyalists, times of plague (such as the typhus plague of the 1850's), the population shift after the war of 1812 etc. Thus it represents an important cross-section of our history. The oldest stone in the cemetery belongs to Nicholas Herchmer, dated 1809, but through the years foot stones have been buried and headstones broken or rendered unreadable by the weather, so there are likely many older burials on the grounds. In fact, when the widening of Sydenham road was under discussion, it was decided that it was not feasible in front of the church cemetery because there were so many unmarked graves there.