Alicia Fraley: Cemetery Walk set to return this month

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2021

On Saturday, Sept. 25, the Lawrence County Historical Society will be hosting their annual Cemetery Walk. Every year, people gather at the Woodland Cemetery in Ironton to listen to the stories of the people buried long ago.

As always, there will be crowd favorites, such as the Russian Ballerina who received jewels from Russia’s Tsar, the eccentric Nannie Kelly Wright, whose hard work made her the second richest woman in the world, and Osa Wilson and her paranormal tombstone that seems to be giving clues about the day she died.

The cemetery walk had humble beginnings. The first “walk” was in the early 1990s. It consisted of Naomi Deere, Bob Price, Debbie Rogers and other members of the Historical Society. Naomi led the group through the cemetery with a bullhorn. She would stand in front of the graves and tell the story of the person or family buried there. She would start each story with “According to town talk…”

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Virginia Bryant and Naomi Deere painstakingly researched as many graves and people as possible. They even made a booklet containing the information.

In 1999, the Historical Society decided to host the event for the public. Debbie Rodgers oversaw the first event.

She asked members of the community to portray the historical people. She obtained permits, wrote scripts and helped find costumes for the characters. Debbie was the chairman for almost 20 years. Because of her dedication and hard work, “The Historical Cemetery Walk” has become the most popular event hosted by the Historical Society.

The walk will start at 5 p.m. and end around 7 p.m.. Guests can park in the Vertiv parking lot (formally Liebert).

There will be buses that will continually run between Vertiv parking lot and Woodland Cemetery.

For information, please contact the Lawrence County Historical Society at or call 740-532-1222.

— Alicia Fraley is the secretary for the Lawrence County Museum