Travel back in Sherman’s history from the 1950s to 1970 by simply taking a stroll through West Hill Cemetery on Oct. 19 during the History Comes Alive event.

Travel back in Sherman’s history from the 1950s to 1970 by simply taking a stroll through West Hill Cemetery on Oct. 19 during the History Comes Alive event.


The unique, first-time fundraiser for the Sherman Museum will feature actors, story-tellers and historians bringing to life some of Sherman’s colorful, rich history. Stories of families and businesses, murder mysteries, tragedies and more await attendees as they take a guided walking tour to eight gravesites and the cemetery’s mausoleum. Though the cemetery covers 135 acres, the tour is designed as a walk of less than a mile.


Tour guests will hear the story of Nobel Allen Birge Jr. and the Birge family as told by Anne Webb who will be portraying Birge’s niece. The life of Civil War survivor Jesse Loving will be told by members of the Dixie Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the story of Captain John LeTellier who was wounded seven times in the Civil War will be retold by Sherman Community Players actor Gil Nelson. Mark Bruce will tell the story of his close friend, Johnny Taylor, a member of the Wichita State football team who lost his life when the team’s plane crashed in 1970. The Rev. John Moore will be portrayed by Wally Black, and Dick Malnory will bring Tom Randolph’s story to life. Frances Nelson and Duane Heatley will tell the tales of Olive Oatman Fairchild who was captured and tattooed by Native Americans and of Seaborn Carpenter whose headstone reads "Murdered 1987."


Also on the tour will be a visit to the mausoleum which houses 398 interment spaces and both stained glass and Tiffany glass windows. The windows were restored in 1998 by local glass artist Jenny Pack Omundson who will serve as historian for this segment of the tours. The stained glass panels are located in the north and south wings of the structure and in the entrance hall, with the Tiffany glass panels inset opposite the entrance doors.


"The central panel is named Angel of Truth," Omundson explains. "It was made in 1912 by Louis Comfort Tiffany and signed and numbered by him."


The Tiffany glass was originally installed in the mausoleum at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago and was still in that cemetery in 1915. Per Omundson, there is no real record of why it was removed from Chicago or how it got to Sherman.


History Comes Alive has been made possible through the efforts of the Sherman Museum board members, volunteers and the City of Sherman.


"We want those attending to have a positive experience," says Dorothy McKee, a Sherman Museum board member and one of the event organizers. "We also have worked with the city to be sure we meet their regulations."


Tour groups will begin at 11 a.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m. A special handicap-friendly tour is set for 2 p.m. Designated parking will be at the cemetery through the Woods Street entrance south of Lamar Street. Tickets must be purchased in advanced and are priced at $20 for adults, $15 for museum members, $10 for students with identification, and free for children age 12 and under. Tickets are available at the Sherman Museum, 301 South Walnut, 903-893-7623 or the Touch of Class Antique Mall, 118 West Lamar.