A Walk in Oak Ridge Cemetery | Culture

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Patricia Davis of Springfield will play Gertrude Wright Morgan.

After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Sangamon County Historical Society will once again host the Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk on Sunday, October 3. Eight notables from Springfield will be represented. Each of the actors will give a 5 to 7 minute presentation telling the story of a nearby buried person. Here are a few highlights from each:

Marguerite Charpentier, played by Mary Disseler, was one of the first settlers in Sangamon County. She and her husband, William, arrived in the area around 1819, built a cabin, and established a small farm north of the Sangamon River, where Riverside Park is today. The house has become a stage on the stagecoach line. In 1828, the couple moved to Springfield and rented their cabin to Stephen Logan, Lincoln’s partner. William started a business, served as justice of the peace and state representative until he was forced to give up the right to vote for free African Americans. Carpenter Park and Carpenter Street are named after the couple.

William Northcott was a lawyer, established an insurance company, and served as lieutenant governor from 1897 to 1905. Active in many Springfield groups, he was for 13 years president of the Modern Woodmen of America chapter, a fraternal relief society that still provides insurance and other financial services. products today. The tombstone is a bench and a well, erected by his chapter friends. With Northcott performed by Dennis Darling, the presentation will focus on some of the 90 fraternal organizations that existed in Springfield, such as the Masons, Elks, Odd Fellows and others. The Odd Fellows held a weeklong convention in 1897. Decorations hung at the Statehouse, 3,000 people marched in a parade, and wooden arches were erected in the plaza.

Salome Paddock Enos and her husband, Pascal, left Vermont in 1815 and endured a long and arduous journey. Linda Schneider will play Salomé and read extracts from a newspaper, recounting the difficulties they encountered: a broken wagon, bad weather, muddy roads and the overnight stays that she often described as “bad”. After living near St. Louis, they came to Springfield in 1823 when Pascal was appointed Federal Receiver of County Lands. They lived in what is now Second and Jefferson, and later owned land that was donated for the town square – now the site of the Old State Capitol. Pascal died in 1832; Salomé took care of the last transactions. She was 41 and lived another 45 years.

The bells ring every day for Thomas Rees. He conceived the idea and paid for the Washington Park Carillon, which bears his name. Rees was originally from Iowa; his father, a newspaper editor, had hired young Mark Twain. Rees got into the business; he and two others bought the defaulter Constitution of Keokuk paper and reformed it successfully. They came to Springfield in 1881 to help another failed newspaper, the Illinois State Register. Once again, they were successful and thanks to the efforts of their business partner Henry Clendenin, the newspaper was known as the most powerful Democratic newspaper in northern Illinois. Their partnership lasted 40 years. Portrait painter Dave Vandevoort will share Rees’ regrets in some of the newspaper’s opinions. The Clendenin and Rees families share a large Greek columned memorial at Oak Ridge.

Click to enlarge The grave of Thomas Rees, editor of Springfield's Illinois State Register for more than 50 years, is among those buried near this Greek pillared memorial.

The grave of Thomas Rees, editor of Springfield’s Illinois State Register for more than 50 years, is among those buried near this Greek pillared memorial.

Harriet knudson is remembered by flowers. She was instrumental in founding the Lincoln Memorial Garden as a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln. Harriet and her husband, a well-known doctor, lived in Springfield and built a summer house near Pleasant Plains, where they spent time propagating and growing the flowers. They had so many varieties of gladioli that the farm was called Gladacres. Harriet founded the Springfield Civic Garden Club in 1929, served on the state board of directors, and started the Junior Garden Clubs. Portrait painter Tracy Petro will share Harriet’s vision for the Lincoln Memorial Garden, the rules imposed by Springfield, and the story of world-renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen for designing the garden.

Alone Harriet palmer is buried at Oak Ridge, but Gertrude Wright Morgan will be included in the story of the two women, played by Deb Vandevoort and Patricia Davis respectively. Harriet, white, the daughter of Governor John Palmer, and Gertrude, the daughter of a man born into slavery, met in 1874. The story of their meeting and friendship is a lesson in acceptance. The Springfield schools were integrated in 1874; Gertrude was one of the first African Americans to attend high school and the first African American to graduate from high school in Springfield, ranked number 3 in a class of 28. She later became a teacher in St. Louis. , as Springfield would. not hire a black professor. She married a prominent lawyer and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The couple helped establish the NAACP. Gertrude was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts to serve on the board of directors of the Frederick Douglass Residence in Washington, DC

Harriet married Edwin Crabbe; their work as a pension examiner has taken them to Washington State and Texas. Eventually, they returned to Springfield. No matter where the couple lived, Harriet was active in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Henri dodds owned a pharmacy from 1875 to 1921 on the corner of Fifth and Monroe. The corner was where streetcars converged and was called Springfield’s busiest corner. It became known as Dodds Corner. Andy Vandevoort will play the pharmacist and tell the story of the bustling Dodds Corner and the pharmacy which was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round. Dodds helped create the Pharmacy Act of 1881 and establish laws regulating narcotics.

Cinda Ackerman Klickna sits on the board of directors of the Sangamon County Historical Society.


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