WHEELING – Friends of Wheeling will host another visit to Greenwood Cemetery on Sunday. The walking tours will feature 14 notable people from Wheeling’s past in costume discussing the person’s historical significance.
Continuous tours will start at 1:00 p.m., with the last tour starting at 4:30 p.m. Tours are free and open to all ages. Parking is available at Wheeling Park and limousines from the funeral home will transport visitors to and from the cemetery.
Several people will be included who had a role in the civil war. Andrew J. Sweeney was the mayor of the city during most of the Civil War and was known to have challenged the Governor of Virginia when a request was made to secure the customs / post office for the Confederacy. Sweeney, whose family included renowned glassmakers, was later credited with bringing electricity to Wheeling. He will be played by current Wheeling Deputy Mayor Chad Thalman.
Lewis Baker was co-owner of the Wheeling Daily Register during the war. When Baker and the newspaper’s co-owner wrote editorials criticizing President Lincoln and Union Major General David Hunter, Hunter had the couple arrested and jailed in Wheeling Athenaeum Prison for seven weeks, without charges. is never filed. After their release, Baker and his co-editor returned to writing editorials critical of the war. Baker will be played by Jay Frey.
DeMarquis Lafayette “Lafe” Githens served as a private in the 50th Ohio Infantry. Captured during the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, at the end of 1864, he was sent to Cahaba prison in Alabama. At the end of the war, he was aboard the Sultana riverboat, heavily overloaded and unhappy when a poorly repaired boiler blew up, killing nearly 1,200 people. Githens survived and lived a long life in Wheeling. He will be played by Dave Barnett.
With the recent COVID pandemic in mind, two people will describe people with relevant stories. Dr James Reeves was Wheeling’s first public health official and implemented improvements to the town’s water, ice and milk supplies; breweries inspected for cleanliness; and investigated cases of tobacco poisoning among cigar rollers. His daughter Annie Reeves will be played by Susie Nelson.
Gael Fincham will play the grandmother of Mary Elizabeth Doepken, a six-month-old girl who succumbed to the 1918 Spanish Flu that claimed many lives in Wheeling, as well as Wheeling soldiers in camps preparing to serve in the First World War.
Others will tell stories of scandals in Wheeling. Jacob Grubb, mayor of Wheeling in 1885, accused the local police chief of turning a blind eye to officers preying on local prostitutes, offering protection in exchange for alcohol and professional services. In retaliation, the police chief charged Grubb with similar offenses. Grubb will be played by Hal Gorby.
Grace Schenk was the second wife of John Schenk, a wealthy meat packer whose first wife was tried for trying to poison him. Grace has become a prominent social figure in Wheeling, throwing high-profile parties at the couple’s mansion. She will be interpreted by Judi Hendrickson.
The family of Emma Feller Taylor, a niece of wealthy brewer Henry Schmulbach, were involved in a series of lawsuits when they challenged her will. Although Emma passed away before matters were settled, there was enough money to erect one of the graveyard’s finest monuments in her memory. She will be played by Pat Jeffers.
And Dr James Comerci will play Dr Henry T. Ford, who treated a local woman murdered by a man who married several wealthy widows across the Midwest, poisoned them and inherited their bank accounts and collected their life insurance. .
May Hornbrook Carpenter, an active suffragist who fought locally, state and nationally for women’s suffrage, will also be on the tour. It will be interpreted by Jeanne Finstein. Ron Scott will play Dr. Baswell Henson Stillyard, one of the first African American physicians who was one of the first of his race nationwide to be elected to a city council seat. Entrepreneur William Weiss started a very successful business, later known as Sterling Drug. He will be played by Frank O’Brien.
J. Sumner Stone, son of the co-founder of Stone and Thomas Department Store, and his wife, Katherine “Kate” Elson Stone, daughter of glassmaker William Elson, were well-known Methodist missionaries who served together in India and later opened their house. to recruits and disabled veterans of the First World War. They will be played by Dave and Sondra Clutter. And John Wesley Glasscock, the first West Virginia to play in Major League Baseball, will be played by Greg Smith. Glasscock would have been one of the three greatest shortstops of all time.
This tour is the latest in a series of similar tours offered by Friends of Wheeling, the local historic preservation organization. Tours are generally well received, with attendance of up to 600 in a single afternoon.