The Highland County Historical Society is hosting six ghosts, coming from all walks of life, to entertain and inform local residents all about their lives and times. The walk will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27 beginning at 6 p.m. at Hillsboro Cemetery on a stage beside the chapel.
This year, it’s an “all girl show,” with one male, the venerable Bob Brown, serving as emcee for the evening. Brown’s duties will include portrayals of many of the very famous folks who are buried in the cemetery — for example, Benjamin Franklin, Sara Cannon (if you don’t know that name, you will know the character she portrayed), and William McKinley, just to name a few.
“OK, full disclosure. Many of these ‘famous’ people had other last names, such as Benjamin Franklin Jones, but we’re sure you’ll enjoy these little snippets of humor,” the news release said.
The official ghosts of the evening will include Catherine Collins, wife of William Oliver Collins (you may be familiar with Catherine Street, Collins Avenue or Somers Street). Collins will be portrayed by Helen Ford, who portrays Catherine as an older woman, now looking back on her life and her trip out west to visit her husband, William, and son Caspar, both of whom were in the Union Army serving in the west to keep the land safe for pioneers heading west.
Clara Clark was a child of less than two and a half when she passed. Portraying her ghost is Carolyn Hastings, who will talk about the approximately 1,600 children buried in the cemetery and about the diseases and death rates of children before modern medicine advancements.
Liz Odland will bring guests the ghost of Carrie Lee Finnell, who was a world-famous striptease artist and singer. She began her career as a Ziegfield girl in New York and moved up to be an innovator and friend to many of her co-performers.
Violet Morgan, a mild-mannered school teacher, became a super historian where Highland County was concerned. Portrayed by Tara Beery, she’ll talk about her life, especially about her interactions with the folks around the Fort Hill community. Many say that Morgan was the foremost authority on those folks’ lives and history.
Debbie Williams will bring guests the ghost of Anna Titoff, a person little known in the community, but born here and made arrangements to be returned here for burial just over a year ago. Her life included living in many parts of the United States and serving in the military. She was married to a Russian and then learned many crafts, one of which was playing the balalaika and performing with him as well as the Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra.
“Upon hearing of her life, you will think this must have been two persons as so many events and experiences were packed into her 85 years,” the news release said.
Another little recognized name will be Mary Thompson Tuttle, who will be portrayed by Anne Throckmorton. The daughter of Judge James Henry and Eliza Jane Thompson, she certainly did not rely upon her famous parents, but went out into the world becoming an author, artist, art critic and lecturer.
“As a reminder, we let the ghosts do the walking (after all, they’ve been lying still for many years) and the visitors should bring lawn chairs to enjoy the portrayals,” the news release said. “In addition, following the time with the ghosts, there will be a short dedication of the statue ‘Five Children in a Tree’, donated earlier this year in memory of the children buried in the cemetery.”
There is no charge for the evening, but the historical society will accept donations.
The story was provided by John Glaze, Highland County Historical Society.