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Friday, August 19, 2016

Moonlight graveyard tour examines history of area pioneers

PCDHS staff member Nicole Dyrkacz
T. Lucas photos
Toni Lucas - The Pincher Creek and District Historical Society (PCDHS) held a moonlit graveyard tour on Thursday, August 18. Over 35 people went on the journey to the Fishburn United Church Cemetery southeast of town. The procession was led by a flatbed trailer carrying the 1928 Chevrolet truck was converted into a hearse and donated to the museum by local funeral director the late Roy Smyth.

Curator Farley Wuth in Fushburn United Church
At the cemetery Curator Farley Wuth invited everyone into the Fishburn United Church and discussed the history of the area and the church. He explained how the early pioneers interred at the site helped shape the community by being homesteaders, teachers, business people, farmers and ranchers, and soldiers.  The tour gave insight to the pioneers struggles and triumphs and showed how these early people were active in the community and helped to shape the area. Many of the people discussed were parents to families still in the area today, others had family who had moved away. Wuth tried to create a tour that had a wide ranging representation of early life in our then fledgling community. Some of the surnames of the families represented included: Blackburn, Dimsdale, Duffield, Geering, Gustafson, Harvey, Halverson, McClelland, Miller, Moorey, Parker, Poettcker, Pound, Slater, Swinney, and Thomas.


PCDHS staff and volunteers performed 16 readings at the pioneer gravesides in chilly weather with a mix of full bright moonlight and rain. The nighttime setting gave a sobering tone to the venture, adding a quiet majesty to the outing. That was truly brought home by volunteer Doris Blackburn. She spoke for Clara and Forest Blackburn. Everyone who did a reading was representing the deceased, however Doris shared precious memories of her grandparents. She captured and expressed the personality of her beloved grandmother.

Full moon
Many of the readings included information about other people showing how a community is shaped by the people who populate that community.

Fran Cyr, Troy Hasselman, Farley Wuth, Gordon Tolton

The evening ended with Wuth requesting that everyone bow their heads and give a moment of reflective thought and silence for those who were visited and came before us carving a path in the past here, in what was then a new world.


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