Courtesy of John Glaze
Highland County Historical Society

The Highland County Historical Society is presenting the 2021 Ghost Walk on Tuesday, September 28 at 6 p.m. This annual event features the “ghosts” of local notables who are buried at Hillsboro Cemetery. This year, we will receive a visit from six people.

In our cemetery, there is a lady with the unusual name of Mourning Emma Lear. We know very little about Ms. Lear, but we borrowed her name to present “Mourning Emma,” which will tell us about mourning practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Granville Barrère was one of those men who changed horses in the middle of the stream. Most people here knew him as the editor and editor of the News-Herald. Small in stature, this local boy never hesitated to share editorials that directly addressed local issues.

Having already lived his first years in his country of origin, France, the Reverend Emile Grand-Girard immigrated here with his family. He has proven to be a force in our community as a Presbyterian pastor to the large French population around Mowrystown. But there was more to his life than preaching. You will need to come to the event to find out more! George Beecher was one of the well-known Beechers that books have been written about. Her aunt Harriett wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. George and his wife, “Nannie”, built the “Greystone” mansion and were well known both in local society as well as in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Anna Catherine Newby, or “Kitty” as she was called, was the wife of Judge Cyrus Newby who was a distinguished pleader here. When he retired he was thought to be the oldest judge in the state. By that time, he had served 27 years and returned to his law practice. Sarah Ella Ayres, better known as “Byrde,” was an accountant for a number of Hillsboro companies before traveling to Washington DC during World War I, where she put her photography skills to work for the government. This set her on the path to becoming a professional photographer.

This year again, we’ll let the Ghosts walk (after all, they haven’t exercised much since taking up residence in Hillsboro Cemetery). Participants should bring a lawn chair, wear a mask and socially distance themselves around the stage next to the cemetery chapel. The presentation starts at 6 p.m. and will last approximately one hour.

The event is free, but donations to the historical society will be gratefully accepted. We ask those for whom walking is not a problem to park a little further from the chapel to save space for those who might need to park closer due to mobility issues.

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