Thursday, November 30, 2023


Historical Society to Sponsor Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk

Event date: 10/2/2022 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Export event
Jenni Dahl
/ Categories: Events

Historical Society to Sponsor Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk

Sangamon County Historical Society

Historical Society to Sponsor Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk 

            The Sangamon County Historical Society will again sponsor the popular cemetery walking tour this fall. “Echoes of Yesteryear: A Walk Through Oak Ridge Cemetery” will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 2 at Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1441 Monument Avenue in Springfield. (The last tour begins at 3:15 p.m.)

            “This year’s Cemetery Walk will provide visitors with a glimpse into the history and heritage of Springfield and Sangamon County,” said Mary Alice Davis, chair of the cemetery walk.

Actors dressed in period costumes will portray eight individuals who made significant contributions to our community. The personal stories of each historic figure will be interpreted at his or her respective gravesite in the cemetery. These authentic stories, which have been thoroughly researched, will take the audience back to an earlier time and provide insight into their lives.

·       Harriett Knudson (1883-1969) was the driving force behind the creation of Lincoln Memorial Gardens. She also organized the Springfield Civic Garden Club and started the Springfield PTA Council.

·       Harriet Palmer Crabbe (1857-1948) and Gertrude Wright Morgan (1861-1931) Palmer Crabbe was the daughter of the 15th Illinois Governor. Wright Morgan was the first African-American student to attend a white school in Springfield.  The two walked together to school and remained friends throughout their lives. Wright Morgan fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher in St. Louis and was a leader in Niagara Movement for civil rights and African-American self-determination.

·       Richard Dodds (1851-1921) was the owner and operator of a Springfield landmark drug store on the corner of Fifth and Monroe streets known as Dodds’ Corner, which became a de facto city meeting place near street car routes.

·       Thomas Rees (1850 -1933) was the long-time publisher of the Illinois State Register and Illinois State Senator. Upon his death, he left funds to build the carillon in Washington Park that bears his name.

·       Salome Paddock Enos (1791-1877) was the wife of Pascal Enos who opened the first land office in the Springfield District. He died at a young age, leaving her to manage his sizable land holdings. In 1837 she donated $3 million worth of property for a new State Capitol.

·       William A. Northcott (1854 -1917) served as Illinois Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Illinois. He later became Head Consul of Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal life insurance company that erected his monument.

·       William Carpenter (1787 -1859) was an early settler who owned a ferry operation along a stagecoach line. The settlement was known as “six-mile house.” He later served as Springfield postmaster and had extensive real estate holdings.  Carpenter Street and Carpenter Park are named after him. His story will be told by his wife Margaret Carpenter.

Attendees will be transported by bus to the first gravesite, then walk to the other grave-sites before boarding the bus back to the parking area. The walk is approximately one-half mile.

In addition to the walk, refreshments will be available for purchase by the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum.

The popular cemetery walk, which is sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society and co-sponsored by Oak Ridge Cemetery, was held annually for twelve years beginning in 1996 and ending in 2008. It was brought back seven years ago by popular demand. 

The event is free to the public, although donations are suggested. Parking will be available in designated areas of the cemetery.

For more information about the event and Sangamon County Historical Society, go to or call 217-525-1961

            Established in 1961, the Sangamon County Historical Society is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of the area through educational programs, tours and special projects including providing support to the Sangamon Valley Collection of Springfield’s Lincoln Library.  Monthly programs feature topics of local historic interest and are open to the public

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