Photo with lettering Mysteries of the Cemetery
The Mound View Cemetery Walking Tour will take place this Sunday, September 10, with the theme “Mysteries of the Cemetery.”

MOUNT VERNON — The long-running Mound View Cemetery walking tour programming is returning to Mount Vernon this weekend, with a program entitled “Mysteries at the Cemetery.”

Re-enactors and historians will bring to life some of the characters and stories associated with the historic burial ground as attendees move from section to section.

As the writer of the History Knox column, I’m proud to say that three of the presentations will be based on my columns (and a fourth used one of my columns for research as well), and I’ll be participating myself.

Musician Daniel Decatur Emmett will be a featured stop on the tour.

Attendees will meet in the parking lot of Round Hill Dairy, where a wagon will bring them over to the cemetery to start at the grave of Mount Vernon’s legendary fiddler, songwriter, and minstrel, Daniel Decatur Emmett, who will be portrayed by Bill Bridges, who embodies Emmett’s warmth and humor.

The presentation will be fleshed out movingly with some of Emmett’s Civil War-era music performed by the vocal ensemble Chapeaux, directed by Amy Stoner.

From there, visitors will go to the Curtis family plot, where historians Steve George and Karen Smith will give a fascinating overview of the life of Mount Vernon founding father Henry Curtis and his wife, Elizabeth Hogg Curtis.

Henry Curtis and his wife Elizabeth will have their stories told.

They will shed some light on a long-running local legend that may actually be based on nothing more than a misunderstanding.

The next stop is an approximate one, for Amber Keener will be vividly portraying the mourning daughter of the Stockbridge Indian tribe member Rachel Konkapot, who was cruelly shot in an early frontier incident, and later died without recovering.

Konkapot was buried in Mount Vernon’s original cemetery, but it isn’t clear if her body was actually moved to Mound View Cemetery, when it was created in the 1850s. Her grave location remains a mystery.

Next up will be yours truly, as I desperately attempt to condense my five-column series on the life and death of Billy Bergin down to just five minutes or so. (Spoiler alert, I’ve gotten it down to about seven-and-a-half minutes in practice.)

The broken gravestone of Billy Bergin is one of the tour’s mysteries.

Bergin was the only man ever hanged for murder by the sheriff in Knox County, and his story is one of almost unbelievable bad luck and untreated trauma that led to his terrible acts. Without excusing his acts, I’ll try to at least explain why they happened.

The unsolved death of Miranda Bricker at the Maplehurst Mansion will be recounted.

It gives me great pleasure that another one of my History Knox series will be brought to life by the great Cate Blair-Wilhelm, with whom I’ve worked in theater for almost 30 years.

Cate will be portraying the nameless maid mentioned in period news reports who discovered the body of murder victim Miranda Bricker early one morning on the lawn of the Maplehurst Mansion.

The presentation will take place at the Fairchild plot, the owners of Maplehurst at the time of the assault and murder.

From there, visitors will trek to the grand obelisk that marks the grave of The Honorable Columbus Delano, Mount Vernon-born statesman who had a national impact in the 1860s and 70s, as both a mover and shaker, and a member of the Ulysses S. Grant administration.

National statesman Columbus Delano will be brought to life.

We’ll have the honor of seeing Delano portrayed by Dr. Larry J. Evans, something of a local legend himself for his years running the theater program at the Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus.

I’ve worked with Larry in countless productions over the years, and learned much from him, including poise and presence. Hearing him again in this program is a treat.

To close, attendees get to enjoy another reenactor with an experienced theater background as Tammy Souhrada portrays Muriel Murray, a woman married to Mount Vernon confectionary shopkeeper Earnest Schiappacasse around the turn of the 20th century … until her heart fled elsewhere.

Muriel created a big scandal by leaving her husband, divorcing him, and marrying another.

Tammy based her portrayal of Murray on my research into the Schiappacasse families adventures and misadventures in town, and it’s a joy to see this figure brought to life, full of stories of teeming life and love.

The free event starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, in the parking lot of Round Hill Dairy.

People movers will take groups every 15 minutes over the next two hours. The last group to leave the dairy will depart at 3 p.m.

It’s an amazing opportunity, to get so much rich history embodied by talented presenters. Hats off to program organizer Susan Kahrl, who has worked tirelessly to put this event together, gathering reenactors, historians, musicians, and volunteers.

It’s a major effort, one that has regularly returned since Debbie Briscoe first created the program in 1985. For further information, visit

Truly, you don’t want to miss this.

Several of the stories on the tour are based on History Knox columns by Mark Sebastian Jordan (left). Cate Blair-Wilhelm (center) will portray a maid who worked at the Maplehurst Mansion, and Larry Evans (right) will portray statesman Columbus Delano. (Photo by Mark Jordan.)