Events bring area history to life again this weekend
Two history-based events will be in Young County next Saturday, one detailing the local history of Graham notables called Talkin’ Tombstones, and one serving as a 19th-century living demonstration of daily life called Fort Belknap Days.
Fort Belknap Days
Fort Belknap Days, sponsored by The Friends of Fort Belknap and Young County Historical Commission, is a living history event with 19th century demonstrations from actors portraying blacksmiths, candle makers, military units and more. There is no fee for the event and food and novelty vendors will be on site.
The public day will be Saturday, Oct. 28 starting at 10 a.m. with lunch at noon and a tea social at 2 p.m. Every year prior to the public event the fort hosts all schools in the area to attend their own private Fort Belknap Day to serve as an education day.
The fort will host schools on Oct. 27 and on Friday at 7 p.m. in barracks b there will be an Officer’s Ball with music from a live string band open to the public.
For more information about the event call 940-846-3222 or email JNHammond1836@gmail.com.
GRT and Fort Belknap Archives are joining for a tour of Young County history with accounts from actors portraying historical personalities in Graham at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Three tours are planned for 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. on Oct. 28 with the cost being $10 for adults and no cost for children 5 and younger.
“What is taking place at the cemetery is much more purely historical, there is nothing spooky, there is nothing haunting, the reason it is the date it is is simply because of the weather and the timing of what we can do,” Sanders said.
The tour will memorialize six individuals in Graham who made contributions to the city with permission taken by their descendants. Some of the actors in the play are descendants of those they will be portraying.
“We have a couple of folks who have agreed to come in and they are portraying their ancestors,” Sanders said.
“Now there were some that we were not able to get ancestors for, so like G.A. Graham and his wife we have local actors playing those characters, but we have people coming in from all over to play their ancestors.”
Those being memorialized include Agnes “Addie” Mary and Col. Edwin Smith Graham, Edmonia and Gustavous Adolphus Graham, Mary Annie Morrison, the wife of John Edward Morrison and Mary Lois Loving, the wife of Oliver Loving Sr.
“Whenever I am able to see that with three or four generations deep and I recognize that oh I see you guys share a grandfather or this person shares this or whatever, it is very interesting and I got way more history than we are able to show in that one time, but if it goes well this is something that we may continue more frequently,” Sanders said.
“We didn’t feel like it required a specific image for the story,” he said. “We wanted to create (an image) almost as if you are sitting around a campfire telling stories.”
The story will be based on actual ghost stories from the region told to Sanders firsthand, and some he researched and started collecting last January. For some of the stories the actors will read and act and for some it will be necessary to provide a historical background before beginning, Sanders said.
“Sometimes we are telling the story, sometimes we start telling the story and then a couple people take over, kind of acting it out,” he said. “For instance (with) the Baker Hotel, there are so many stories … that we give a bit of the history of the Baker Hotel and then we go through and tell each of our favorite stories that we like one after the other.”