Cast announced for Cemetery Tour

The Historical Society of the Town of Middletown has announced the cast of the 2013 Living History Tour of Clovesville Cemetery to be held Saturday evening, June 29.

Rain date is Sunday afternoon, June 30.

Area residents will portray ten people who are interred in the main cemetery, and in the Irish burial ground across the road. The players, some of them descended from their subjects, will step briefly into the past lives of these historical figures to describe their families and work, struggles and joys.

Costumed docents (Barbara Atkin, Jackie Purdy, Harriet Grossman and Anne Sanford) will lead tour goers through the cemeteries to meet each character.

Tickets to the tour ($10) will be available by reservation only this year. Early birds can come to the HSM table at the Fleischmanns Street Fair May 25; phone reservations only will be taken from May 26 through June 24 at 845-586-4736.

Welcoming folks to the cemetery will be Matthew Griffin, lawyer, politician, postmaster and founder of Griffins Corners (now named Fleischmanns). He will be portrayed by John Bernhardt.

Caroline Stone, widowed mother of ten who nursed soldier son William through the illness that killed him during the Civil War, will be played by Agnes Laub.

Revolutionary War soldier and local pioneer Samuel Todd (John Hartner) will converse across the decades with grandson Augustus Todd, Fleischmanns entrepreneur, played by descendant Ward Todd.

Talman Beadle, one of the last Kingston-to-Delhi stage coach drivers, will be played by descendant Ken Taylor.

John M. and Delia Garrison Blish, who were closely tied to the Fleischmann family after selling the Blish homestead lands to them for their elaborate family compound, will be played by Fred Margulies and Anne Saxon-Hersh.

Mike Todd, legendary Catskill mountain man, will be played by Joe Hewitt, who will be remembered for his portrayal of timber raftsman Erastus Clute in the popular 2012 cemetery tour.

The last stop on the Clovesville tour will be the tiny Irish cemetery where visitors will meet a pair of immigrants from the olde sod: 10-year-old Maggie McGuire, who perished with two siblings during a disease outbreak in 1877, and 34-year-old Thomas Dwyer, a worker at a local tannery, who died in 1868. They will be played by Niamh Walsh, and her father, Brian Walsh, a native of Ireland.

The tour program will include information about adjacent Bnai Israel Cemetery and its most famous occupant, Gertrude Edelstein (radio personality and TV star Molly Goldberg), but out of respect for the Jewish Sabbath, the tour will not enter this cemetery.

Bill Tari of Jefferson will coach and direct the players. Scriptwriters are Beth Sherr, Anne Saxon-Hersh, Amy Taylor and Mary Barile.

Sponsors of the tour and the video that will be produced of the event include the Catskill Mountain News, Ulster County Chamber of Commerce, Phil O’Beirne, Purple Mountain Press, the Elliott Family, Miller’s Drug Store, Spillian, MTC, Riverside Pizza, Sluiter Insurance, NBT, the Flour Patch and the Cheese Barrel.

For details on programs and activities of the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown, and to contribute toward the preservation of local history, please visit


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