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Talking Tombstones
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The Talking Tombstones program previously scheduled in July but postponed due to the extreme heat at that time has been rescheduled for Sept. 23. The event, sponsored by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association in conjunction with the Larned Convention and Tourism Committee, will be presented at the Larned Cemetery beginning at 7 p.m.

The program will feature four Larned citizens who were on hand for the organization of Pawnee County in November 1872 and the City of Larned in the following year. Those prominent people, all buried in the Larned Cemetery, are D.A. Bright, Timothy McCarthy, Henry Booth and Lucia Booth. Bright, to be interpreted by Tom Seltmann, was elected to three separate offices at the time of Pawnee County’s organization, including that of county attorney. In 1873, he traveled to the U.S. Land Office in Wichita where he negotiated for the 160-acre townsite of Larned.

Timothy McCarthy, to be represented by Jerry Buxton, was an Irish immigrant and a veteran of a distinguished military career. He was appointed brigadier general of the Kansas National Guard, two companies of which were established at Larned in 1885.

Henry Booth, the principal founder of both Pawnee County and the City of Larned, to be portrayed by David Clapsaddle, served four separate terms in the Kansas Legislature. During the last term, he was unanimously elected Speaker of the House.

Lucia Booth, to be depicted by Alice Clapsaddle, lived in the shadow of a famous husband and a noted father, the Rev. N.O. Preston. Yet she was a remarkable person in her own right, being the first president of the Pawnee County Suffrage Association.

Attendees will be escorted in small groups from tombstone to tombstone to hear the presentations of the above-named re-enactors. The groups will be scheduled at 16-minute intervals. Following each tour, refreshments will be served. Each tour will last 45 minutes. As the grave sites are in close proximity, only about 10 minutes of walking time will be required.

Attendees should park near the cemetery’s east entrance. Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office personnel will assist with the parking.

Pre-registration is required and attendance will be limited. Please call the Larned Chamber of Commerce (620-285-6916) to reserve a space. Reservations will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. If there’s no answer, please leave a message.

The Larned Convention and Tourism Committee will sponsor a coffee hour at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Jordaan Room. Present will be the above-listed re-enactors. Each will give a brief preview of his/her presentation.