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Horizon students hosted historical cemetery stroll during Madison Street Festival

MADISON – While at the Madison Street Festival on Saturday if you didn’t make the short walk to the Madison City Cemetery, you missed out on a real treat. Beth Bero’s 5th grade history class at Horizon Elementary School organized a “cemetery stroll” in recognition of Madison’s 150th birthday.

The historic cemetery on Mill Road is the last resting place of many foundering members of Madison. The students, dressed as one of the founding members or a close relative, gave a presentation about that person by their grave markers.

Danielle Roberts portrayed Wildred Williams, the daughter of James Williams, who lived from 1867 to 1945. “He owned over 1,900 acres of land and owned a store and house at 19 Front Street, which is still there,” she said. “He had the best 4th of July parties you have ever seen.”

Other students and the people they portrayed are:

Lyla Zomkowski portrayed Sarah Chilton Pickett (1793-1865), Sophie Headrick – Martha Cartright (1817-1884), Alex Henson – Elijah Thomas Martin (1833-1925), Wesley Carlson – Dr. George Sullivan (1838-1935), Matthew Kokan – Christopher Gewin (1845-1878), Daniel Collins – Arthur Holden Lewis (1848-1914), Peyton Webber – Seymour Doolittle (1821-1911) and Kourtney Dunham – Alabama Pocahontas (nee Gewin) Doolittle. Vivian Men and Lisa Xu greeted visitors to the cemetery stroll and helped them get started on their walk back through time.

“The history of Madison is very interesting,” said Men. “We learned how every house and store started in downtown Madison.”

Xu, who moved here from China, said it was very interesting for her to see their difference between China’s history and America’s history through this project. “Things are a lot different in China,” she said. “It was a lot of fun learning about Madison’s history.”

Bero said the success of the Cemetery Stroll depended on help from city historian John Rankin for factual biographies; Madison Station Historical Preservation Society; and Mayor Paul Finley.

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