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We bring the past alive’

Oakland Cemetery Walk is this weekend

-Messenger file photo
Ruth Bennett, at left, who portrayed Elizabeth Peters, keeps an eye on Garrett Savery, who portrayed Francis Hoyt Crosby as he makes a ghostly shoe repair in Oakland Cemetery in 2018. Bennet will portray Dr. Mary Eleanor Kenyon McCall and Savery will portray Dr. Thomas F. Grayson in the Cemetery Walk this weekend.

An early obstetrician with a record of never losing a mother during birth and an American Civil War surgeon are two unique people from Fort Dodge’s past who can be learned about during the 18th Oakland Cemetery Walk presentation.

The presentation will be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Decker Auditorium on the main campus of Iowa Central Community College. Admission is $7. Children 10 and under are admitted for free. Seating will be socially distanced. Masks are optional.

The following people who are buried at Oakland Cemetery will be portrayed:

• Dr. Sara Pangburn Kime — Kime helped her husband in treatment of tuberculosis.

• Dr. Allie Hoyt Wakeman — Wakeman, an early obstetrician. had a unique record of never losing a mother during birth.

-Messenger file photo
Ruth Bennett, at left, who portrayed Elizabeth Peters, takes a walk around Oakland Cemetery with Garrett Savery, who portrayed Francis Hoyt Crosby during the 2018 Oakland Cemetery Walk. Bennet will portray Dr. Mary Eleanor Kenyon McCall and Savery will portray Dr. Thomas F. Grayson in the Cemetery Walk this weekend.

• Dr. John McNulty — McNulty was one of two people buried north to south at Oakland Cemetery. Most are buried east to west. McNulty was a Union surgeon during the Civil War.

• Dr. Mary Eleanor Kenyon McCall — McCall was trained by her father to cure cancer with a secret treatment.

• Dr. Harley Greenwood Ristine — Ristine was once asked to testify for a murder trial that today is listed as one of Iowa’s mystery murders.

• Dr. Richard Clyde Sebern — Sebern’s life was recorded in 1914 as part of William Hart’s History of Sac County book.

• Dr. Thomas F. Grayson — Grayson was a Confederate soldier who once was listed on the killed, wounded, or missing list after the Civil War Battle of Bull Run.

• Amanda Cook Pettingell Hastings — Hastings was a Civil War nurse during the Battle of Shiloh and Battle of Stones River under Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

On Friday night, there will be a short stroll through Oakland Cemetery for a freewill donation.

The stroll will begin at 7 p.m. Attendees are asked to park at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1436 21st Ave. N. A DART bus will take attendees to the cemetery.

The bus will leave at 6:45 p.m.

Guides will be at the cemetery to provide a tour, which will last between 30 minutes and an hour.

Ruth Bennett is one of the organizers of the Oakland Cemetery Walk. She writes the scripts for the actors portraying the historical figures.

She enjoys learning the history of people important to Fort Dodge’s past.

“I do the investigation into these stories to give them to the portrayers,” Bennett said. “I’ve always liked history, so I enjoy finding out about these characters and their quirks and their importance to Fort Dodge history.

“Sara for instance — there was a tuberculosis camp in Fort Dodge. It was very important to the state of Iowa. It was one of the leading places for people to be sent for recovery of tuburculosis. Sara Kime’s husband — he was the one who got us to start drilling wells instead of getting water from Des Moines River.”

The life and death of historical figures can be quite interesting, she said.

“You find out a lot of history,” she said. “It’s interesting to find out some things about these people and how they lived. And some how they died. One of the richest men in Fort Dodge at one time, he died penniless.”

After being postponed in 2020, Bennett is looking forward to once again being able to tell the stories of those buried at Oakland Cemetery.

“We bring the past alive,” Bennett said.

Oakland Cemetery Walk

Cemetery walk-through

When: Friday

Where: Oakland Cemetery (park at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1436 21st Ave. N.)

Time: Be ready by 6:45 p.m.

Cost: Freewill donation

Presentation at Iowa Central Community College

When: Sunday

Where: Decker Auditorium

Time: 2 p.m.

Cost: $7

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