Sunday, September 22, 2013

Join us for today's "Homecomings" cemetery tour

Beautiful early autumn weather --- sunshine and a high near 70 --- is in the forecast for today's 10th annual Chariton Cemetery Heritage Tour, "Homecomings," so please join us. If rehearsals, held late yesterday afternoon, are any indication, it's going to be one of the best.

As "Homecomings" is intended to suggest, the path to eternal rest for the remains of each of our subjects was complicated. Each came home to the Chariton Cemetery by a complicated route. 

That's Ruth Comer (above, left), who will portray Maggie Corbett at our first stop, rehearsing as Patrick Dittmer and Karoline Dittmer look on. Maggie's rest was disturbed by grave robbers more than a century ago, during the late 1880s.

Below, Patrick and Karoline flank the tombstone of their uncle (some generations removed), Carl L. Caviness. Patrick, a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, will end the presentations with a tribute to Carl, the first Lucas Countyan to be killed in World War I and the man after whom our American Legion post is named.

In between, Albert Butler will portray Marko "Chicago Mike" Vucicic, a legendary character from Lucas County's mining years, brought home to Chariton many years after his death; and Bill Baer will portray Rene Julien, who arrived in Lucas County by covered wagon in 1853 and died in 1861 but didn't make it home to Chariton until 1936.

We'll gather at the Larry Clark Memorial Gazebo on the courthouse square at 2 p.m. There will be a short presentation on preservation work in progress at the square, then guests will travel by bus to the cemetery for the tour. After the four gravesites have been visited, dessert will be served in the cemetery shelter house, a contributing structure to the cemetery's status as a National Historic District, before we return to the square. Ticket cost is $5 per person.

The tour is a project of the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission, an "unfunded" agency of city government. "Unfunded" means the commission receives no city money, so must raise any funds spent on preservation projects itself. The tour is its only fund-raising project. Commissioners are Martin Buck, Janet Clark, Alyse Hunter, Frank Myers and Melody Wilson.

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