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Voices From The Past


The Mecklenburg Historical Association Docents Present a New Event, Saturday April 1st, from 1 to 5 pm


The event will be held in Settlers’ and Elmwood/Pinewood Cemeteries where many of the “residents” will come to life for the afternoon and visit with you. Our portrayers will impersonate familiar characters from our local history, and a few you may never have heard of.


When Col. Thomas Polk isn’t busy reading the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence at the square on May 20th, you’ll find him at Settlers’ telling of founding our fair city and his Revolutionary War exploits. You will meet Mary, the wife of Joel Baldwin the hatter; his is the oldest grave in the cemetery.  At Elmwood you’ll see Dr. Annie Alexander, the South’s first licensed female physician; a former mayor named for the Swamp Fox and a circus trainer mauled to death by his elephant.  You’ve probably passed by St. Mary’s Chapel many times, and may know it was once part of Thompson’s Orphanage.  Now you can learn of the marvelous adventure Thompson’s founder had early in his life.  If you’re familiar with the bold and colorful collages of Romare Bearden, you’ll want to meet his great-grandmother who inspired him.  Some portrayers will appear as their own ancestors telling stories they learned firsthand.


The event is free, and free parking is available. There are parking meters on several streets surrounding Settlers’; metered spaces are free all day on Saturdays, and look for a free parking sign on one of the lots.  At Elmwood/Pinewood there is lots of free parking.  Enter Elmwood from Cedar Street:  The main entrance on 6th Street will be open for foot traffic only. It is a ten-minute walk from Settlers to Elmwood.


So come join us and pass the words to your acquaintances about the event. Perhaps you’ll meet the Victorian funeral director.  He and his wife can help you plan your own funeral in the romanticized way of that time.  And surely you’ll want to visit with Dr. Ephraim Brevard, the talented physician and author of the Meck Dec, and learn how his life ended sadly and much too soon.  Don’t miss the northeast corner of Settlers’ that was reserved for “our servants”, a euphemism for slaves.  None of those graves are marked, and most never were.  There you’ll encounter Aggie and Cherry who were enslaved at Rosedale.  They’ll talk about their lives, and they might well spread a bit of gossip about the white people.  Do enjoy the day.