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‘If Tombstones Could Talk’ cemetery tours continue Saturday

Charles Pritchard
Staff writer
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Posted 9/28/22

Think of the stories that headstones could tell if they could talk.

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‘If Tombstones Could Talk’ cemetery tours continue Saturday


MADISON — Think of the stories that headstones could tell if they could talk.

For local residents, they don’t need to imagine with “If Headstones Could Talk” guided cemetery tour on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The Madison County Historian’s Office is working again with local cemeteries, historical institutions, and libraries to offer a unique experience. In this guided tour, attendees will find local actors taking on roles of various cemetery occupants and tell their story and how they died. Tours of Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Canastota were held Sept. 24.

Madison County Historian Matthew Urtz said he didn’t want to reveal too much about the occupant’s history, but was more than happy to tease.

“There are definitely some unique characters,” Urtz said. “They include a woman who was accidentally shot and killed by her lover, the first optician in the area, a Civil War veteran who died shortly after the war, the first female principal, and more.”

On the subject of the accidental killing, Urtz said “...she became a national story because of what she said and her quote ended up in the New York Times and Chicago Sun Tribune. She died on Christmas day and we think it’ll be very intriguing.”

Urtz said each person’s history is around 10 to 15 hours of research and he was fortunate to partner with the Canastota Library’s Writing Club. “They helped us write the scripts,” he said. “And while we make sure they’re historically accurate, we stretch it just a little bit to make it a bit more dramatic and fun.”

The tour Saturday, Oct. 1, will take place at Madison Village Cemetery in the Village of Madison on South Street. Tours will leave at 10, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. and will run approximately 35 minutes. Attendees will hear stories of a Civil War Veteran, a mid-nineteenth century female missionary, an early sheriff and more. There will also be a special cemetery cleaning demonstration by local teacher Megan Barnes.

Admission to the event is $5, and children under 12 attend for free. Admission can be purchased the day of the event. All proceeds will be split between the Town of Madison Historical Society and the Madison Village Cemetery. For more information, call the Madison County Historian’s Office at 315-366-2453.


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