Spirits of Tyler's past to host weekend cemetery tour - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Spirits of Tyler's past to host weekend cemetery tour

If you're a history buff, or if you just like to take trips down memory lane, you'll want to be at one Tyler cemetery this Saturday.

The Oakwood Cemetery Restoration Committee is hosting the "Spirits of Oakwood" this Saturday in conjunction with Tyler's Azalea and Spring Flower Trail.

Organizers say this event is so special because they're able to teach visitors about the people who made Tyler the city it is today.

"Oakwood is where the history of Tyler and Smith County is. There are so many people buried here who the streets are named after, schools are named after. So this is Tyler's history," said Maxine Herbst, chairman of the Oakwood Cemetery Restoration Committee.

Every year, the Oakwood Cemetery Restoration Committee chooses 8 people who are important to Tyler's history to be remembered on the walking history tour.

"And then we choose people to portray those people. And on that day, they dress as the people would have dressed. They actually become those people and speak as if they were those people and tell their stories," Herbst said.

One of those people is Beverly Saleh Mamey, who is portraying Kate Stone, a woman who kept a journal about fleeing her Louisiana plantation for Tyler during the Civil War.

"The neighbors we had back on our plantation were the Carsons, and the Carsons fled also. They had several plantations. And they were able to move several of their servants and their possessions. Once they moved, then the buggies and wagons followed," Mamey, as Stone, said.

Visitors will also learn about the Confederate soldiers who are buried in the cemetery -- many under a large monument erected in 1907 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

"For some of us who revere our history, our Southern history, yes, this cemetery is very special. And the fact that there's over 300 Confederate veterans buried in this cemetery makes it even more special," said Cliff Johnson, the Immediate Past Commander of the James P. Douglas Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Tyler.

Organizers promise it will be an afternoon full of spirits and history to remember.

"Most people I have learned enjoy going through cemeteries because you can learn so much. And especially with this historical walking tour, you learn a lot of history about Tyler and the people that started Tyler," Herbst said.

You can visit the 8 spirits of Oakwood and learn all about its history tomorrow afternoon from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Oakwood Cemetery is at the corner of North Palace and Oakwood St. in Tyler.

Admission is $6 for adults. Children under the age of 10 are free.

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