SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – The Sangamon County Historical Society will take visitors on a walk back in time during this year’s Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk.
The event, “Echoes of Yesteryear: A Walk Through Oak Ridge Cemetery,” will take place Sunday, Oct. 2 from noon to 4 p.m.
Visitors will hear from actors dressed in period costumes portraying eight historical figures buried in the cemetery.
“Our purpose is to promote the history of Sangamon County and there’s no better way than to tell the stories of the people that are buried here in Oak Ridge Cemetery,” said Mary Alice Davis, the chair of the cemetery walk.
A bus will transport visitors to the first gravesite then attendees will walk to the others.
“The thing we have to remember, it’s that underneath every headstone in that cemetery is a story, no matter whether we’ve all heard that story, or we want to have it interpreted in some way or another,” Davis said.
This is Mary Disseler’s fifth year representing a historical figure.
“I’m always really pleased and privileged actually, to be asked to do that,” Disseler said. “We have so many historic people who do a lot for our county and for our city and sometimes we get a little lost with Mr. [Abraham] Lincoln and how famous he is, but we want to remember some of these other famous people too.”
Disseler will portray Margaret Carpenter, the wife of William Carpenter, an early settler to Sangamon County who owned a ferry operation. Carpenter, who also served as a Springfield postmaster during his life, has Carpenter Park and Carpenter Street named after him.
“Our claim to fame in the park is that some of that land on the bluffs above the river has barely been touched since white settlers came to Sangamon County, and there’s a tiny, tiny fraction of Illinois that can claim that. So we’re real proud of that legacy, my family and I,” Disseler said while in character, giving a sneak peak of her performance to come.
Beginning in 1996, the walk ran for 12 years until 2008. The event came back in 2015 and was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and again in 2021 because of rainy weather.
To learn more about the cemetery walk, you can visit the Sangamon County Historical Society’s website.