Characters Visit Cemetery

Dave Clutter will portray Bill Lias during the tour of Greenwood Cemetery.

Dave Clutter will portray Bill Lias during the tour of Greenwood Cemetery.

The Friends of Wheeling will present another historic tour of Wheeling’s Greenwood Cemetery next Sunday. Costumed characters will portray the lives of some of Wheeling’s most notable — and notorious — citizens who are buried in the cemetery off National Road.

Continuous tours take place between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

They are free and open to all ages. The last tour will begin at 4:30.

There are two tour routes featuring different characters based on location. It takes about two hours to do both, but visitors can choose to do only one if they wish.

This year’s 12 presenters are:

∫ John Frew portrayed by Greg Smith — newspaperman who was a partner with Archibald Campbell on the Wheeling Intelligencer during and after the Civil War

∫ (Margaret) Anna Parker Hall portrayed by Gael Fincham — Civil War nurse, later national president of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic and suffragette

∫ Benjamin Exley Sr. portrayed by great-grandson Ben Exley IV — member of Carlin’s Battery during the Civil War, master building contractor and member of a successful drug company founded by his son and namesake

∫ Laura Farnsworth Schenk portrayed by Judi Hendrickson — accused poisoner of her husband, wealthy pork packer John Schenk

∫ Robert Ritz portrayed by Alex DeLorenzo — Wheeling High football star who was murdered two days after he led his team to a victory over arch rival Bellaire

∫ Harry Seybold portrayed by Kim McCluskey — banker who was accused of taking money from the bank where he worked and using it to build a mansion in South Wheeling

∫ Orville Dewey portrayed by Chris Bowie — iron/steel entrepreneur who retired to a life of travel and served as the first president of the Fort Henry Club

∫ Sallie Howell Oglebay protrayed by Jeanne Finstein — socialite descendant of the Howell and Paull families and wife of Earl Oglebay

∫ Johnson Camden McKinley portrayed by his great-grandson Bennett McKinley — coal entrepreneur who built Willow Glen mansion and grandfather of U.S. Rep. David McKinley

∫ Bill Lias portrayed by Dave Clutter — Wheeling underworld leader who operated bootlegging and gambling establishments while also helping poor members of the community

∫ Charles Ahrens portrayed by Shawn Schwertfeger — Prohibition agent who was in charge of destroying barrels of confiscated beer when he met his untimely death

∫ Walter Sneddon portrayed by Dave Barnett — immigrant miner who was killed in the Benwood mine disaster, along with his son and 117 other men.

Parking is available at Wheeling Park, with shuttle service to and from the cemetery.

The Friends of Wheeling has operated these historic tours for many years. Organizers said 500-600 people usually attend.

The Friends of Wheeling is a nonprofit organization and is the oldest preservation group in the state of West Virginia. Meetings are held monthly at a historic home or building and include a brief business meeting and a presentation about the meeting place followed by a tour.

COMMENTS