On Sunday, the residents of Chillicothe will have the opportunity to learn a little more of Chillicothe’s history in a unique manner. City Stage, Inc., Chillicothe’s community theatre organization, will sponsor a walking tour of Edgewood Cemetery highlighting the lives of historical persons who are buried there. The walking tour, called “Stories in Stone,” will feature costumed actors narrating about a dozen stories from people whose lives ended before 1945. The tours will not be held if it is raining.


On Sunday, the residents of Chillicothe will have the opportunity to learn a little more of Chillicothe’s history in a unique manner. City Stage, Inc., Chillicothe’s community theatre organization, will sponsor a walking tour of Edgewood Cemetery highlighting the lives of historical persons who are buried there. The walking tour, called “Stories in Stone,” will feature costumed actors narrating about a dozen stories from people whose lives ended before 1945. The tours will not be held if it is raining.

Lisa Rule, artistic consultant for the group, says that this tour is not geared for entertainment, but for education. “What we’re trying to do here is educate the community about what life was like when Chillicothe was in its infancy. Not only do you learn about a specific person’s life, but also what life was like in our town at that time.”

The tours will run every 5-10 minutes between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday. The 3/8 mile tour will take a little over an hour to complete. Cost for the tour is $5 for adults or $3 for senior citizens and students. Parking is available in the First Baptist Church parking lot. Golf carts can be driven to the cemetery by those with physical hindrances, but will not be available at the cemetery.

The group sponsored this tour last year and will repeat some of the people: Angie Lauhoff and Aspen Whitson will represent Bertha Ritter Wallbrunn and Hattie Ritter Stein, granddaughters of Jacob Wallbrunn—a prominent Jewish businessman who immigrated from Bavaria. Kolby Eller will narrate the story of Johnny Rucker, a young man whose faithful dog is one of Edgewood’s most unique monuments. Sue Bachman will represent Mary Dockery, the wife of Gov. Dockery, who experienced great sorrow with the deaths of eight infant children. Jevon Glasgow will narrate Landon Johnson’s life—a man born into slavery in Virginia who was manumitted and performed a great act of kindness. Jerry Davis will represent Professor G.A. Smith who taught thousands at the Chillicothe Normal School. Bruce Brodmerkle will portray Sheriff William O. Jennings, one of the first settlers in Livingston County whose life was cut short by an unsolved murder. Scott Rule will narrate Christian Boehner who immigrated from Germany at 15 and became a butcher, landowner, rancher, judge, and mayor. Steve Whitson will represent Dr. A.J. Simpson whose philanthropy touched Chillicothe and endures today. Karen Jensen will narrate the life of Mrs. Nelson Kneass, the wife of a musical composer whose popular song “Ben Bolt” was a worldwide sensation. Clay Jensen will narrate Newton Hicks, a Civil War soldier who saw action at the Battle of Shiloah.

There will also be two new stories this year. Gracy Reeter will portray the young life of Katie Milbank, the daughter of miller George Milbank and Laura Miller will narrate the life of Mrs. Andrew Leeper, whose husband established the Leeper Hotel and whose monument is one of the most grand in Edgewood.

Edgewood Cemetery is also home to some non-traditional monuments and many examples of beautiful funerary art including the draped urn, the Woodmen of the World monuments, a columbarium (a container for cremated remains that is in-ground rather than above ground), a monument made from a meteorite, and monuments in the Mt. Sinai section which are inscribed in Hebrew. Tour goers can be directed to these as well.