Cemetery Tour cast announced

The Third Annual Living History Cemetery Tour sponsored by the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown will be held on the first day of summer, June 21.

This year’s tour will be at the Sanford Cemetery on County Route 6 (New Kingston Road), Dunraven, one-half mile off NYS Route 28. Costumed players will portray eight individuals buried there, and an Esopus Indian, burial place unknown, who will talk about life before the coming of European settlers to the East Branch Valley.

Guides will lead visitors through this picturesque burial ground to meet each character, whose stories have been meticulously researched. A section of the cemetery was used for reinterment of remains taken from the Arena, Millbrook and Dunraven areas flooded by the Pepacton Reservoir in the 1950s. The earliest headstone, dated 1803, is for a teenage girl originally buried in the Old Arena Cemetery.

Tour reservations – by phone only — will be taken beginning June 1 at 845-586-4736. Tours will run periodically from 4 to 7 p.m.

Players and their subjects include Fred Margulies (pioneer farmer Ziba Sanford); Roy Moses (early settler and mill builder Samuel Smith); Fred Travis (physician and teacher Robert Waterbury); Agnes Laub (Thankful VanBenschoten, credited with growing the first commercial cauliflower in the region); Harriet Grossman (turnpike gate keeper Matilda O’Brien); John Bernhardt (tavern keeper and slave owner Abel Sands);  John Exter (Estonian basket maker Karl Amor); Ken Taylor (outdoorsman F. Lee Keator) and John Hartner (the Esopus sachem known to the Dutch as Hendrick Hecken).

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