Take a trip through the cemetery
Roger Timberlake, Fred Cammack and Linda Runden have a good idea.
Each November in Savannah, Ga., the Society for the Preservation of Laurel Grove Inc. has a ‘Lantern Tour.’ Laurel Grove is a ‘Victorian cemetery,’ perhaps the most historically important cemetery in Georgia
For two nights in November, the cemetery comes alive, to speak, with actors portraying the most illustrious residents of Savannah’s finest necropolis. Trolley tours last two hours, and, believe it or not, refreshments are served.
We heard at a meeting last week that Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis does the same thing.
Timberlake, Cammack and Runden think we might come up with something similar at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Corydon, although many of our most famous forebears are not buried there. Timberlake called a preliminary meeting last week for some brainstorming.
The group talked about the possibility of having someone play William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States and the man our fair county is named after. He could talk about the origins of Corydon, Harrison County and the state of Indiana. Someone else could play his good friend, Edward Smith, a pioneer settler whose cabin was located near the spring at the Harrison County Fairgrounds. On Harrison’s request, Smith’s daughter, Jenny, would sing a dirge called ‘The Pastoral Elegy,’ about the death of the young shepherd boy named … Corydon.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to take a tour some nice evening through Cedar Hill Cemtery, on foot, aboard a horse-drawn carriage or in a golf cart, and hear Confederate soldier Green Bottimer or Home Guard Col. Lewis Jordan talk about the Civil War Battle of Corydon, or hear former slaves describe how they escaped a living hell via the Underground Railroad.
Maybe Leora Brown could talk about what it was like to teach at the one-room ‘colored’ schoolhouse. Maybe Dennis Pennington could talk about building the First State Capitol, and maybe some legislator could explain how the state constitution came to be written beneath a large tree.
The idea of a ‘lantern tour’ at the cemetery is intriguing and sounds like fun. It could be a wonderful tourist draw, it would be ideal for fourth-grade students of Indiana history, or something the First State Capitol people might want to do around Halloween or the night of the Fourth of July.
We’ve done things like this before ‘ Old Capital Days and the big Sesquicentennial celebration at Harrison County Fairgrounds in 1966 come to mind ‘ and we could do it again.
If you or your history or civic group ‘ or the descendants of these historical figures ‘ are interested in getting in on the planning stages of a Cedar Hill Cemetery magical history tour, call Cammack, Runden or Timberlake.