BELLVILLE — The Bellville Jefferson Township Historical Society and the Bellville branch of the Mansfield Public Library are sponsoring a cemetery walk from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. The last group to start the tour will begin by 12:30 p.m.
While the walk is in October and close to Halloween, it isn’t meant to be scary or spooky. No one is going to jump out at an try to frighten participants. The purpose of the seven characters of Bellville history being portrayed is to give people a glimpse into the rich history of Bellville.
These characters, in order of their death years, are William Oldfield 1837, James Lafferty 1894, Mamie Hess 1931, Susan Paste 1961, Ora Snyder Sr. 1973, May Stone 1982, and Olive Forbes 1999.
If enough interest is generated, consideration will be given to continuing this event using different historical figures in future years.
There will be no charge for participating in this event. However, a donation box will be at the table by the maintenance garage where groups will be formed. Participants will be asked to sign a waiver absolving the cemetery board and the village from responsibility in case of accident. It is extremely important for children to stay with their groups and not play around the cemetery stones. Some of these stones are in fragile condition, and William Oldfield is buried in the very oldest part of the cemetery.
As much as possible, park in the oval on the east side of the cemetery, entering from Ogle Street. Groups of ten to twelve will form in front of the maintenance garage with a guide available for each group. In order to allow for greatest efficiency, a group may not necessarily visit the graves in chronological order. A program guide will help people keep the character in historical perspective.
Rusty Farst, a former Bellville resident, plans to be on hand to videotape some of the cemetery walk. He intends to use it for a documentary about Bellville which will include other aspects of the village.
Bellville’s history is peppered with all sorts of interesting people and events. We have every reason to be proud of our heritage here. Whether you are a fifth-generation Bellville native or a newbie who just came recently, Bellville is and always has been home to some very special people.