Living History Cemetery Tour This Saturday

Ten area residents will portray people from Middletown’s past in a “Living History Tour of Margaretville Cemetery” to be held Saturday, June 30 by the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown (HSM). Rain date is July 1.

The cast and docents, with directors Frank Canavan and Joyce St. George, pose during dress rehearsal June 27.

Margaretville Cemetery is located on Cemetery Road, one block off upper Main Street (NYS Route 30).

This is an opportunity to enjoy a summer evening’s stroll through the historic park-like cemetery to get acquainted with some of the movers, shakers and just plain folk who populated Middletown’s colorful past.

The one-hour walking tour, led by costumed docents, will be offered every 20 minutes starting at 6 p.m. The last tour starts at 8 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; $5 for children aged 8-15. Water and snacks will be available for purchase.

Tours are limited to 20 people and will be filled first come, first served. The route is less than a mile, and is generally flat, with one short, moderate hill climb. One golf cart per tour will be available to accommodate people with mobility issues. Those who need this assistance are advised to call 845-586-4973 in advance to reserve a tour time. No other reservations will be taken.

Please note there are no sanitary facilities at the cemetery.

This unique opportunity to visit with Middletown’s dear departed begins with a welcome at the cemetery gate from Undertaker Charles Gorsch, played by John Hartner.

Other subjects include J. Francis and Adah Murphy, founders of the Pakatakan Artists Colony in Arkville (played by Fred Margulies and Elizabeth Sherr); farmer George Hendricks (played by George Hendricks, Jr.); doctor, legislator, editor and anti-war advocate Orson Allaben (portrayed by John Bernhardt); and famed outdoorsman and animal trainer Niles Fairbairn (portrayed by Michael Fairbairn).

Also, legendary log raft steersman Erastus Clute (played by Joe Hewitt); beloved Margaretville Hospital founder Dr. Gordon Maurer (portrayed by Kent Brown); and attorney Ward DeSilva and his milliner wife Margaret, whose bright futures were cut short in the 1919 flu epidemic. The DeSilvas will be portrayed by Ken and Amy Taylor.

Directing this plein air performance are Frank Canavan and Joyce St. George.

Docents include Anne Sanford, Gretchen Balcom, Barbara Atkin, Tina Greene and Vesti Snyder.

Artists J. Francis Murphy, right, and Adah Murphy, center, looking at her husband, are among subjects to be portrayed at the cemetery tour. Photo courtesy David and Meg Leveson

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