History comes to life at Talking Tombstones cemetery tour


First Talking Tombstones termed success

Locals in period costumes ready to bring residents of Sugar Grove Cemetery to life Saturday. For more photos, see inside and at wnewsj.com.

Locals in period costumes ready to bring residents of Sugar Grove Cemetery to life Saturday. For more photos, see inside and at wnewsj.com.


Tom Barr | News Journal

The character actors receive a police escort through downtown Wilmington prior to the event.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Volunteers and attendees at the event.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Volunteers and attendees at the event.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Azariah Doan, portrayed by Andrew McCoy. Doan was an attorney, then Brevet Brigadier General in the Civil War.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Volunteers and attendees at the event.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Catharine Kline, the first person buried at Sugar Grove Cemetery, was portrayed by Lucy Enge and among those volunteers greeting the first group of guests Saturday morning.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Mary Taylor Adams, the first Civil War nurse to enlist from Clinton County, portrayed by Emilia Knisley.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Charles Webb Murphy, Chicago Cubs owner and Murphy Theatre founder, portrayed by Bryan Wallingford.


Tom Barr | News Journal

General James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman.


Tom Barr | News Journal

General James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Fred and Susan Ertel share the rich 160-year history of Sugar Grove Cemetery.


Tom Barr | News Journal

General James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Marshal John Todd Van Doren, portrayed by Dave Lieurance. Marshal Van Doren was shot and killed in the line of duty in Wilmington in 1884.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Sarah Shields-Foland, portrayed by Nancy Foland McKay. Sarah was the wife of Daniel J. Foland, a Captain in the Civil War who owned a Wilmington pharmacy.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Robert Wickersham, home builder who constructed what is now the History Center’s museum, portrayed by Ethan Powles.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Attending the event were the real-life great-great-grandchildren of General James and Louise Rombach Denver — Bonnie Williams Sandy (left) and Chip Williams (right) — shown with Molly Boatman and Jonathan McKay, who portrayed the Williams’ ancestors.


Submitted photo

The George Clinton Chapter, DAR, provides water for attendees along the walking tour. George Clinton Chapter members Frances Sharp, Susan Henry, Karen McKenzie, Claire Ropp, Barbara Daulton and Beth Mitchell staff the water station at the Talking Tombstones.


Submitted photo

WILMINGTON — A first-ever event was deemed a great success at the first-ever Talking Tombstones fundraiser at Sugar Grove Cemetery, held by the Clinton County History Center on a beautiful late October day.

Local residents brought historical residents to life for about 200 attendees, according to Clinton County History Center Executive Director Shelby Boatman, as character actors shared a 5- to 10-minute story of each local individual’s history.

All the characters were being historically costumed and outfitted by Linda Rinehart.

Self-guided walking tours began every half hour between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m., and a variety of additional cemetery history and symbolism was also shared in each participant’s event brochure.

Due to COVID-19, this is the History Center’s only in-person event for the year and served as their main fundraiser for 2021.

The event was sponsored by Brown Funeral Home – Wilmington, Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Edgington Funeral Home – Wilmington, Littleton Funeral Home – Sabina, Merchants National Bank – Wilmington, Smith Funeral Home – Wilmington, Sugar Grove Cemetery, City of Wilmington, The Loft on Main, and the Wilmington News Journal.

Survey says

Event participants are invited to share their opinions and feedback by way of an online survey to help the History Center improve for next year: https://clintoncountyhistory.org/?p=3648 .

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Photos by Tom Barr | News Journal

Locals in period costumes ready to bring residents of Sugar Grove Cemetery to life Saturday. For more photos, see inside and at wnewsj.com.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0171-5.jpgLocals in period costumes ready to bring residents of Sugar Grove Cemetery to life Saturday. For more photos, see inside and at wnewsj.com. Tom Barr | News Journal

The character actors receive a police escort through downtown Wilmington prior to the event.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0160-5.jpgThe character actors receive a police escort through downtown Wilmington prior to the event. Tom Barr | News Journal

Volunteers and attendees at the event.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0164-5.jpgVolunteers and attendees at the event. Tom Barr | News Journal

Volunteers and attendees at the event.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0168-5.jpgVolunteers and attendees at the event. Tom Barr | News Journal

Azariah Doan, portrayed by Andrew McCoy. Doan was an attorney, then Brevet Brigadier General in the Civil War.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0209-5.jpgAzariah Doan, portrayed by Andrew McCoy. Doan was an attorney, then Brevet Brigadier General in the Civil War. Tom Barr | News Journal

Volunteers and attendees at the event.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0177-5.jpgVolunteers and attendees at the event. Tom Barr | News Journal

Catharine Kline, the first person buried at Sugar Grove Cemetery, was portrayed by Lucy Enge and among those volunteers greeting the first group of guests Saturday morning.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0181-6.jpgCatharine Kline, the first person buried at Sugar Grove Cemetery, was portrayed by Lucy Enge and among those volunteers greeting the first group of guests Saturday morning. Tom Barr | News Journal

Mary Taylor Adams, the first Civil War nurse to enlist from Clinton County, portrayed by Emilia Knisley.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0187-5.jpgMary Taylor Adams, the first Civil War nurse to enlist from Clinton County, portrayed by Emilia Knisley. Tom Barr | News Journal

Charles Webb Murphy, Chicago Cubs owner and Murphy Theatre founder, portrayed by Bryan Wallingford.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0192-6.jpgCharles Webb Murphy, Chicago Cubs owner and Murphy Theatre founder, portrayed by Bryan Wallingford. Tom Barr | News Journal

General James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0202-6.jpgGeneral James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman. Tom Barr | News Journal

General James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0203-5.jpgGeneral James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman. Tom Barr | News Journal

Fred and Susan Ertel share the rich 160-year history of Sugar Grove Cemetery.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0214-6.jpgFred and Susan Ertel share the rich 160-year history of Sugar Grove Cemetery. Tom Barr | News Journal

General James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0207-5.jpgGeneral James Denver and Louise Rombach Denver wed in 1856 and took up residence at Rombach Place — now the History Center’s museum home. The Denvers were portrayed by Jonathan McKay and Molly Boatman. Tom Barr | News Journal

Marshal John Todd Van Doren, portrayed by Dave Lieurance. Marshal Van Doren was shot and killed in the line of duty in Wilmington in 1884.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0217-5.jpgMarshal John Todd Van Doren, portrayed by Dave Lieurance. Marshal Van Doren was shot and killed in the line of duty in Wilmington in 1884. Tom Barr | News Journal

Sarah Shields-Foland, portrayed by Nancy Foland McKay. Sarah was the wife of Daniel J. Foland, a Captain in the Civil War who owned a Wilmington pharmacy.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0224-5.jpgSarah Shields-Foland, portrayed by Nancy Foland McKay. Sarah was the wife of Daniel J. Foland, a Captain in the Civil War who owned a Wilmington pharmacy. Tom Barr | News Journal

Robert Wickersham, home builder who constructed what is now the History Center’s museum, portrayed by Ethan Powles.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0227-5.jpgRobert Wickersham, home builder who constructed what is now the History Center’s museum, portrayed by Ethan Powles. Tom Barr | News Journal

Attending the event were the real-life great-great-grandchildren of General James and Louise Rombach Denver — Bonnie Williams Sandy (left) and Chip Williams (right) — shown with Molly Boatman and Jonathan McKay, who portrayed the Williams’ ancestors.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_williams-family-4.jpegAttending the event were the real-life great-great-grandchildren of General James and Louise Rombach Denver — Bonnie Williams Sandy (left) and Chip Williams (right) — shown with Molly Boatman and Jonathan McKay, who portrayed the Williams’ ancestors. Submitted photo

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DSC_0201-6.jpgSubmitted photo

The George Clinton Chapter, DAR, provides water for attendees along the walking tour. George Clinton Chapter members Frances Sharp, Susan Henry, Karen McKenzie, Claire Ropp, Barbara Daulton and Beth Mitchell staff the water station at the Talking Tombstones.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_DAR.jpgThe George Clinton Chapter, DAR, provides water for attendees along the walking tour. George Clinton Chapter members Frances Sharp, Susan Henry, Karen McKenzie, Claire Ropp, Barbara Daulton and Beth Mitchell staff the water station at the Talking Tombstones. Submitted photo
First Talking Tombstones termed success