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Tenth annual Spirits of Erath Cemetery Walk held last Sunday

Stephen Lowe, Contributor

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Stephen Lowe JTAC News

History lovers gathered at the West End Cemetery this last Sunday, Oct. 29, for the 10th annual Sprits of Erath Cemetery Walk. Sponsored by the Stephenville Historical House Museum and the Friends of the Dick Smith Library, the Cemetery Walk features biographies and actor portrayals of many prominent figures from the history of Stephenville and Erath County, most of whom themselves or their family members, are buried at the cemetery.

Each year highlights notable people from local history. Past walks included visits from the “spirits” of John Tarleton, George Erath and Sheriff Richard T. Long.

Attendees of the event this year learned about people such as John “Big Daddy”

Akey and Earl A. Funkhouser, whose iron and rock works from the early 1900’s can be seen around Stephenville. Their spirits were portrayed by actors Karl Aho and

Ed Tober respectively. Others included Sallie Mothershead, played by Lori Larue, and Nancy and Robert Sloan, played by Katrina and Jim Hinson.

The actors did a very good job bringing their fictional character to the present day and making the audience forget that they weren’t listening to the actual spirits. The spirits reminisced to the audience about their time while they were alive and their contributions to the community.

Glenda Stone, historian and chair- woman of the Spirits of Erath Committee, played a crucial role in putting the event together. She obtained information for biographies, helped create scripts and has been the driving force of the Cemetery walk. Although she has been the commit- tee chair since its inception, she doesn’t take credit for coming up with the idea of the Cemetery Walk.

“Dr. Ken Jones, who was the univer- sity librarian at the Dick Smith Library, suggested having a spirits walk to the Friends of the [Dick Smith] Library,” she revealed.

Drs. Kenneth Jones and Christopher Guthrie were avid supporters of the Cem- etery Walk and often contributed their knowledge and acting skills to the event.

This annual autumn event has a 5 dollar entry fee, which is a small price to pay for what is, basically, an interactive museum of local history.

During the interview, Stone was optimistic about an increase in attendance.

She said, “Last year we had 148, in all. We’re hoping to have more than that this year.”

Everyone in this group of volunteers in passionate about history and want to share it with as many people as they can. If you like history and museums or you just want to learn about the town of Stephenville, then you can’t miss this event. Keep an eye out for the next Cemetery Walk next October.

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Tenth annual Spirits of Erath Cemetery Walk held last Sunday