Cemetery tours teach local history

For Brian Mulherin, Historic Augusta's Walk With the Spirits tour represents more than Augusta's rich past. It represents important parts of his life.

"My mother is buried there, and my father is buried here," Mr. Mulherin said Sunday afternoon as he stood in the family plot at Magnolia Cemetery. He was at the cemetery last weekend for a dress rehearsal of the third annual cemetery tour, which will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. He will portray his uncle Charles Mulherin and tell of his grandfather's journey from Ireland to Augusta.

Guided by actors portraying Augustans who are buried in Magnolia Cemetery, visitors will get an unusual peek at Augusta's history and learn about Victorian cemetery symbolism.

The 40-minute tours will feature prominent Augustans such as George Evans, an Augusta mayor for whom the city of Evans is named, and Katharine Hammond Gregg McCoy, the daughter of Gov. James Henry Hammond, whose home is the Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site. She was later married to J.J. Gregg, who was murdered by a disgruntled former employee at the Graniteville Mill in 1876.

"History is a great deal of fun," said Michelle Zupan, of the Watson-Brown Foundation, who portrays Mrs. McCoy and has been part of all three tours.

By allowing these people to come back to life, so to speak, the program is a more interesting way of presenting history rather than reading it in textbook fashion, Ms. Zupan said.

Julia Jackson, of Historic Augusta, said the tours are popular among Augustans, many of whom have ancestors buried in the cemetery. The first tour was at Summerville Cemetery, and last year's tour also was at Magnolia Cemetery. About 330 people visited Summerville, and 440 took part in the tour at Magnolia.

The tour costs $15 for adults and $10 for children. For groups of 10 or more, the cost is $10 per person. It is not recommended for children under 5. The tours will be presented rain or shine.

Reservations are encouraged. Call (706) 724-0436 or visit www.historicaugusta.org.


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