Spirits Of Historical Figures In Tyler Come To Life - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/29/08- Tyler

Spirits Of Historical Figures In Tyler Come To Life

The spirits of some historical legends of Tyler showed themselves at the city's oldest cemetery, Saturday.  Enthusiasts from all over Texas came to Tyler for this annual event at the Oakwood Cemetery.

The "Spirits Of Oakwood" is a walking history tour.  It recounts the lives and accomplishments of countless prominent figures in Tyler's history.  Tyler's oldest cemetery is the resting place for more than 200 unknown Confederate soldiers.  They died while training from diseases like measles and pneumonia, but at the cemtery they're never forgotten.

"A lot of folks are interested to know the history and the genealogy," said Tyler resident Ed Santos. 

"I want the young people to come and know this is their heritage, and it's a good thing," said volunteer Sheryl Chester.  It's also the resting place for more than 100 unknown black Americans, most of them slaves.

"The slaves did exist and you cannot erase that," said Chester.  "I think we have to bring them back to life because we stand on their shoulders."  This year Chester, a local teacher, is representing their spirits with an uplifting message.

"No race wanted to be a slave. but there was some good out of it too because we helped build America," said Chester.  "We made America, so I want people to say there're some things we can't change, but we can have a good attitude about this."

"I'm very pleased the city takes care of the final resting place of these spirits," said Santos.

"You can walk through the cemetery and see names of all the schools," said Chairperson of The Oakwood Cemetery Restoration Committee, Maxine Herbst.  "Hubbard, Bonner, Bell, Ramey, and a lot of the streets here in Tyler are named after people buried here too."  Once again, Texans came to say thanks and honor those who made Tyler what it is today.

Money raised from Saturday's event will help repair broken monuments in the cemetery.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com  

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