We had a good crowd Sunday, great performers and a beautiful afternoon in the shade near the Chariton Cemetery Shelter House for the 14th annual cemetery heritage tour, sponsored by the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission. So thanks to all who participated!
I'll post the five scripts from the tour here as the week progresses, but wanted to start this morning with photos of four of the presenters who brought these interesting women and men from Lucas County's past to life. So in order of appearance here they are:
Trae Hall (top), who braved the heat to wear a World War I uniform from the Historical Society collection while portraying Pvt. Forrest D. Youtsey, one of the 26 young men from Lucas County who gave up their lives a century ago during World War I service.
Suse Daniels Cohen, who did a terrific job as she told the story of Freda Simon Oppenheimer, the matriarch of an immigrant family who came to America seeking opportunity and freedom from oppression in their native Germany and become deeply woven into the fabric of Lucas County.
Doyle Smith, who portrayed Templeton Percifield, brought to Chariton as a child after his father was killed in Arkansas just after the Civil War, who became one of the city's best-known (and most entertaining) residents, a firefighter who specialized in brightening the lives of others.
Jeanne Taylor, who told the story of Helen Maloney Talboy, an heroic World War II U.S. Army nurse who turned her talents after the war, as superintendent of the Iowa Women's Reformatory at Rockwell City, to revolutionizing the way the women incarcerated there were rehabilitated.
As it turned out, I was the fifth presenter, reading the script prepared for William Martin (aka Benjamin Alexander), born into slavery and Lucas County's only black veteran of Union military service during the Civil War. We had two excellent candidates to portray William, but one ended up with a conflict and the other could not rearrange his work schedule to be with us. So ....
Everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon and most remained to socialize and enjoy apple crisp, pumpkin bars and other treats, served on the front porch of the Shelter House.
It really was a great afternoon, and the commission is grateful to everyone who helped to make it a success. The cost of admission will be applied toward paying for an appropriate monument at Potters Field, where last year's tour was held. Hopefully, it will be in place by this time next year. Although the commission is a city agency it is an "unfunded" one --- the tour is our only source of income.