As part of the sesquicentennial observance of the Civil War and West Virginia statehood, a "Civil War and Other Tales" historic walking tour of Mount Wood Cemetery in Wheeling will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19.
Eleven costumed presenters will tell the stories of people who made a major impact on Wheeling, with nine of those having a direct link to the Civil War. The event is free.
The cemetery is located on Mount Wood Road, but there is no parking at the site. Visitors should gather at West Virginia Independence Hall, 1528 Market St., Wheeling, to be transported to and from the cemetery. Walking at the site is uneven, so visitors should wear comfortable shoes.
Friends of Wheeling members Judi Hendrickson, left, and Jeanne Finstein meet at the McLure family monument in Mount Wood Cemetery. Hendrickson is portraying Elizabeth Campbell McLure, while Finstein appears as Diana Norton.
In addition, a pre-tour reception for people with ancestors (from any era) in the cemetery will be held Friday evening, May 17.
No reservations are needed for the Sunday tour, but those interested in the reception are asked to make reservations. For details on the pre-tour reception, call the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp. at 304-232-3087.
Mount Wood Cemetery was incorporated in 1848 and is the oldest extant cemetery in the city. It was built in the "rural cemetery" style that was popular throughout the mid- to late 19th cemetery. This plan incorporated the natural beauty of the landscape with carefully planned lots and a park-like setting.
Years have passed since the cemetery was used actively. Nature and vandalism have taken their toll. However, much of the original beauty, including amazing views of Wheeling and the Ohio River, can still be enjoyed.
The tour will include stories of these people:
Capt, Samuel Kraus (1832-94). The German immigrant served in both the Mexican War and the Civil War, when he was captain of the 7th Virginia Infantry (Union). After the war, he was a successful businessman in Wheeling. (He will be portrayed by Jeremy Morris.)
Col. Daniel Frost (1819-64). The Ravenswood editor of the Virginia Chronicle was elected Speaker of the House of the Restored Government of Virginia. He served as colonel in the 11th Virginia Infantry (Union) and was mortally wounded in the Battle of Snickers Gap. (His wife, Ellen Frost, will be portrayed by Vicky Musicaro.)
Isabella Goshorn Kelley (1816-60). A daughter and sister of slave owners John and William Goshorn, she was married to Benjamin F. Kelley, who later became a general in the Union army. She was the mother of two sons who also fought for the Union. (She will be portrayed by Lola Miller.)
George Loy (c. 1842-77). This member of Carlin's Battery was captured by the Confederates and survived both the infamous Andersonville Prison and the Sultana riverboat disaster. (He will be portrayed by Carson Cox.)
Edward M. Norton (1812-83). The successful iron manufacturer was one of the members of the local delegation to the convention nominating Abraham Lincoln for president. He later served as the U.S. marshal and actively enforced the Confiscation Act. (His wife, Diana Norton, will be portrayed by Jeanne Finstein.)
Col. Joseph Thoburn (1825-64). The Irish immigrant became the surgeon of the 1st Virginia Infantry (three-month service) and then the colonel of the re-enlisted three-year unit. He was killed in action at the Battle of Cedar Creek. (He will be portrayed by Roger Micker.)
Dr. Simon Hullihen (1810-57). The doctor's death was termed "a public calamity." Known as the father of oral surgery, he specialized in the treatment of the mouth and head and performed more than 1,100 surgeries. He was also a founder of Wheeling Hospital. (He will be portrayed by Mike Medovic.)
William P. Wilson (1800-73) and George Wilson (1834-61). The successful businessman signed the Ordinance of Secession and therefore was considered a traitor. His son, George, joined the Confederate Shriver Grays and was killed in action at Antietam. (The wife of William and mother of George will be portrayed by Gael Fincham.)
Capt. John McLure (1816-93). The riverboat captain displayed his support for the Union by steaming through Confederate territory with U.S. flags flying. He later captained boats carrying Union troops. After the war, he owned the McLure Hotel. (His wife, Elizabeth Campbell McLure, will be portrayed by Judi Hendrickson.)
Alfred Caldwell (1817-68). The Harvard-educated lawyer served as Wheeling's mayor before the Civil War. He was one of the members of the local delegation to the convention nominating Lincoln for president. He later served as U.S. consul to Hawaii. His wife, Alice Caldwell, will be portrayed by Bekah Karelis.)
Noah Linsly (1772-1814). The Yale-educated lawyer moved to Wheeling in 1799 and served as mayor from 1810 to 1814. His will established a Lancastrian School in Wheeling that still bears his name. (He will be portrayed by Jon-Erik Gilot.)
Sponsors of the tour are Friends of Wheeling, Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp., city of Wheeling and West Liberty University. Stages of Wheeling provided costume assistance. For more information, call WNHAC, 304-232-3087.