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Historic cemetery walk set for Saturday

Event will feature two new characters


Visitors to this year’s Historical Walk hosted by the Lawrence County Historical Society will see two new faces amidst the tombstones at Woodland Cemetery.

The annual walk is Saturday and among the crowd favorites of Ironton’s founder John Campbell and his wife Elizabeth and female ironmaster Nannie Kelley Wright, World War I flying ace Col. William Lambert and Civil War veteran Capt. James. W. Slater will join the group.

Slater will be portrayed by 13-year-old John Higgins, while Lambert will be portrayed by Bob Long.

For those unfamiliar with the historical walk, members of the Historical Society and other community people dress in period outfits of various people from Ironton’s history. The actors portray their characters at the graves of some of Ironton’s most famous residents.

Debbie Rogers, a member of the historical society, has helped coordinate the event for about 15 years.

Rogers said fellow historical society member Naomi Deer started the walks years ago to be held on a Saturday morning each year.

“She just led us through the cemetery and told us stories,” Rogers said.

Roger said she, Deer and friend Bob Price put their heads together to add actors to the walk.

“We’ve done that since then,” she said.

Roger said she never knew the annual event would grow to be a big as it is now. She said the walk saw more than 2,000 visitors last year.

In addition to the new character, Dr. and Mrs. Lowery, another crowd favorite, will return after a two-year absence. The couple will be portrayed by Bob and Cheryl Cleary.

Ironton founder John Campbell and his wife, Elizabeth, will be portrayed by Stephen Jenkins and Carol Kitts. Nannie Kelley Wright will be portrayed by Kay Rader.

Ironton Kelley, the first child born in the city, will be portrayed by Mark McCown.

James Ditcher, an African-American abolitionist, will be portrayed by Chris Saunders and Ditcher’s wife by Jackie DuFore. Prosecuting attorney John Leete will be portrayed by Jim Hale.

The walk is 5 p.m. until dark and is self-guided. Visitors are asked to bring a flashlight to navigate, as there are no lights in the cemetery.

Parking will be available at Liebert and a shuttle will take people up to the cemetery.

Booklets will a brief history of the characters, as well as a map, will be available for $2.