History Underfoot Cemetery Tour returns for Friday for one night only
Published 9:15 am Thursday, September 21, 2017
By ROSALIND TURNER
James Harrod Trust
HARRODSBURG —The wind whistles through the trees softly rustling the leaves on the ground. The evening air is crisp. The bright moon illuminates the night as the shadows dance in and out of the darkness. Quietly, a figure steps forward from behind a large granite monument.
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“Good evening,” she says, as a smile spreads across her face. She raises her hand in greeting, waving a simple white handkerchief. Though pleasant to her guests, the woman seems out of place. Her dark colored garments were probably very stylish– many decades ago. Today her attire and even her way of speaking are noticeably out of place in today’s society.
But alas, the woman begins a fascinating story filled with joy, sadness and intrigue.
The woman is actually Amalie Preston, but to the visitors to Spring Hill Cemetery, she identifies herself as Monie Beatley Moore and begins to weave a story of trials and tribulations from long ago.
Preston is part of the 13thJames Harrod Trust History Underfoot Cemetery Tour, which will be held for one night only on Friday at Spring Hill Cemetery. This year’s tour is being dedicated to the memory and spirit of Gail Chambers Brown, a longtime friend and supporter of JHT and the tour.
Focused on education and entertainment or edutainment, History Underfoot is a guided tour where costumed interpreters share stories of their live and death and the people they loved, along with the traditions and customs of the time.
“Everyone enjoys this tour,” said Jerry Sampson, JHT chair. “Learning can be fun and exciting — and the cemetery tour is a good example since it is both educational and entertaining. We hear wonderful comments and get great feedback from the people who go on the tour. They always leave saying they will be back the next year – and they return, many of them year after year.”
The tour offers visitors a unique and fun opportunity to learn about the history of the state’s oldest settlement and the people who lived, loved, fought and died in the community.
“The night is about remembering their lives and learning about the trials, tribulations, the joy and the sorrow that our ancestors endured,” said Preston, a member of the Cemetery Tour Committee. “Everyone who participates leaves satisfied, entertained and with a little more knowledge than they came with.”
The event, which has drawn hundreds to the cemetery each year, has acquired a following of people from the area who attend annually. Though it is educational, the visitors always enjoy being entertained with not just historical facts but some little-known history and stories. Guests are encouraged to ask questions or share some historical knowledge of their own.
Along with Preston, others who will be portraying characters are Annie Denny will portray a victim of the 1937 flood, Sampson will portray John Litsey, Seth Singleton will portray Squire Bunton, and Myrgle Huffman will be Miss DeShayer of the Civil War era.
During past years, some of historic figures portrayed on the tour have included Madame Diss DeBarr, Col. Daniel Taylor, Hattie Crutcher, Robert Mosby Davis, Mollie Marcum, Jane McAfee Magoffin, Capt. John Haggin, Lizzie Hardin and the Rev. Jessie Head.
The event is designed to appeal to all ages.
“We hope to not only attract adults, but also local students. It is a good opportunity for them to learn about some of the men and women who shaped Mercer County. And frankly, the evening is very entertaining,” said Helen Dedman, a member of the Cemetery Tour Committee.
IF YOU GO
The History Underfoot Cemetery Tour is 6-8 p.m. Friday at Spring Hill Cemetery , 529 N. Greenville St. in Harrodsburg. Admission is $5. For more information, call the Harrodsburg/Mercer County Tourist Commission at (859) 734-2364 or Jerry Sampson at (859) 734-7829. Rain will cancel the event.