In its sixth year of staging twice-yearly Ghost Walks at the Chestnut Cemetery, last Saturday night’s was one for the record books for the Apalachicola Area Historical Society.
A steady queue of visitors took in the walk and delighted in historical reenactments of 11 characters who are buried in the cemetery. Dolores Roux, founder of the event, once again arranged for the event, which is held in May and October.
Mark Curenton supplied the historical facts behind each character, while the presence of accomplished, costumed actors from the Panhandle Players added to the atmosphere.
All told, the walk brought in close to $1,800 for the historical society’s dedicated fund for restoration of the cemetery, a new record, according to Kim Davis, the group’s treasurer.
The women appearing this year were:
Judy Loftus as Virginia Hancock (1844-1907) and Maria Nichols as her sister Elizabeth Pooser (d. 1860). Hancock was committed to the state hospital at Chattahoochee at the end of her life, while Pooser married George E. Pooser, who was fatally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Pam Vest as Henrietta Sinclair Alexander (1861-1882), who died 16 days after the birth of twins.
The men appearing were
John Grady Hodges as John E. Grady (1853-1905), who operated a general merchandise business and ship’s chandlery, with his brother Henry, and served in the Florida legislature and as customs collector at Apalachicola.
George Coon as Antoine Messina (1832-1906), a sailor from Italy who served in the Confederate Navy
Bob Inguagiato as Thomas Joseph Moore (1868-1957), captain of the Franklin Guards in 1910, who spent his life working in local hardware and grocery stores.
Gene Smith as John G. Ruge (1854-1931), who along with his brother, George, started the first oyster canning business in Apalachicola.
Wesley Chesnut as his great-great-grandfather Francis B. Wakefield (1819-1881), a doctor.
Mark Parsley as Eugene Labatute (1838-1886), a sailor in the Confederate navy, who later became a county commissioner.
Cullen Irish as William Percy Coombs (1869-1878), who was killed, along with three other boys, after going swimming in the Apalachicola River when the boiler at his father’s sawmill exploded.
Jerry Hall as Capt. Charles M. Harris (1821 -1875), who was instrumental in starting the lumber business in Franklin County.
Torben Madson as Charles A. Dobson (1860-1923), a sailor and tugboat captain. Who supposedly built a house on the Hill for his lover, which she operated her brothel from.