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ESK rouses Tennesseans from graves

The founder of a Girl Scout camp that became the beloved mountain refuge Tremont, a renowned, turn of the century female artist, and a railroad entrepreneur and landowner are historic Tennesseans who will tell about themselves in a performance at Old Gray Cemetery April 26.

Twenty-six eighth graders from The Episcopal School of Knoxville will bring historic Tennesseans from the grave for an afternoon, including camp namesake Margaret Townsend, artist Anna Catherine Wylie, and the wealthy Joseph Alexander Mabry.

The students will present the schoolís annual Hunt for History dramatization in Old Gray Cemetery Sunday, April 26.

The event will be a fun and family-friendly occasion that is open to the public. Visitors may stroll through the Victorian era cemetery and listen to each studentís re-enactment, and then ask each performer questions and sip lemonade compliments of ESK.

The event will be 2-4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is free and participants of all ages are welcome.

The students have been preparing for their roles under the guidance of ESK dean of students Laurie Coburn and Alix Dempster, executive secretary of Old Gray.

Each student chose an historic figure to portray, researched the characterís life through primary and secondary sources at the McClung Historical Collection, and wrote a biography of the person.

Among flowering trees and gravestones, the students will wear period costumes and tell the stories of historic characters buried there. Many adopt the accents and known characteristics of the person they depict.

Others portrayed will include Thomas William Humes, Episcopalian minister,†president of East Tennessee University, and first librarian at Lawson McGhee Library; Charles McClung, surveyor who laid out the City of Knoxville; Mary Boyce Temple, author, preservationist, and first president of Ossoli Circle and†William Churchwell, a Confederate Army colonel and U.S. Representative from Tennessee from 1851 to 1855.

Old Gray Cemetery is the final resting place of many historical figures including numerous statesmen, 27 past mayors and veterans of the Union and Confederate armies.

For more information, call 865-522-1424 or visit


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