Talking Tombstones A Trip Through Somersworth History
Saturday 29th September turned out to be beautiful Fall day with perfect weather for a walk though the Forest Glade Cemetery which is located on Maple Street here in the city.
Now I know many of you already walk the cemetery each and every day, which is exactly what it was designed for when it was created in 1852. If you had the pleasure of walking through on Saturday though you were in for a treat thanks to the Summersworth Historical Society.
A Walk Through History
You see the Summersworth Historical Society held it’s second ever guided tour of this historic cemetery and brought some of Somersworth’s most famous and sometimes infamous characters to life. This was possible through the support of volunteers who acted the part of those long since departed but have like each and every soul in the cemetery a story to tell.
Around 180 people were treated to a variety of characters on each of the tours that were held every 20 minutes or so.
Now if you follow Somersworththenandnow on Facebook you will know that I am on the board of directors at the Summersworth Museum and Historical Society and I was one of the guides for the day’s events. Planning for the event began long before last Saturday though with lots of research into the stories that were to be told that day, collecting sponsorships and general maintenance of the cemetery.
The Past Meets Present
Once all that was in place there were costumes to be made or acquired, lines to be rehearsed and a dress rehearsal the Saturday before the event. By 10 am we had quite the crowd gathered to take the very first tour of the day.
Each tour lasted around one and a half hours and would meet 22 of Somersworth’s departed souls. Those souls included among others, Somersworth’s second Mayor, Christopher Wells, Civil War hero Lt. Joshua Littlefield and one of my favorite characters, Typhoid Mary.
Let me tell you about Typhoid Mary if I may. She was a women who lost not only her entire family to the devil in the water as it was known back in the 1800’s, she also lost her own life to the silent but deadly killer. On Saturday she was played by Maggie Larson who will forever be known as Typhoid Maggie now. Her story stuck a cord with many that I was lucky enough to guide around the cemetery that day.
Being one of the tour guides for the day was a lot of fun and I got to meet and tell some cool people about these departed souls.
One of my favorite places to take people who have never been before is the Furber Chapel where Saturday we would meet Lizzie Poor who had the chapel erected in 1897 in honor of her Father. This chapel is a hidden gem and watching people’s faces as they step into the small but perfectly crafted space is always something that I take delight in. Lizzie Poor who was played by Beth Poulin would then recount her story and fill in any gaps that I may have left out on the tour.
For those attended on behalf of the Summersworth Historical society I would like to to say thanks for coming. For those who wanted to and couldn’t get there, we look forward to seeing you soon. We’ve been asked when the next tour is planned and right now that is up in the air but there will no doubt be another.
To all those who volunteered, sponsored or helped in any other way, we want to extend a huge thank you because we simply couldn’t have done it without you!
See you all at the Summersworth Historical Museum or on my frequent walks around the beautiful Forest Glade Cemetery.
If you would like to see more photographs of the event please visit THIS link for some awesome photography by J Duenas a photographer from right here in our beautiful city of Somersworth.