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Good Afternoon friend!
Mitchell Cemetery tour tickets now available
September 04, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Courtesy Photo Leann Sato gets into character beside the grave of G.H. Ishida. Sato is one of six actors who will portray individuals of historic interest during the Sept. 14 Legends Weekend cemetery tour, sponsored by the Legacy of the Plains.

Settlers from an earlier time will tell their stories on Sept. 14 as Legacy of the Plains Museums presents its second annual cemetery tour – this time in Mitchell.

Actors are busy preparing their lines and period clothing to take on the roles of some of the area’s founders. The actors will stand among the graves of colorful individuals from Mitchell’s past and tell stories about the early days of the community’s development from a first-person perspective.

Leann Sato will portray Konami Kinoto Kubo, a nurse who met and married her husband in Japan before they immigrated to the United States around 1917. They farmed in eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle area, raising six children.

“I know a little about the family, so I thought it would be interesting to portray a piece of living history,” Sato said. “A lot of them gave up their careers in Japan when they came here.”

She added she was impressed with how many of them stayed in the area, despite not being able to become citizens until the 1950s.

Chuck Karpf will portray George Mark, a schoolteacher who later published the Nebraska Homestead newspaper in Gering. Mark had a keen interest in pre-settlement history of the area, and wrote about it extensively in his newspaper. In 1901, he moved the paper to Mitchell and changed the name to the Mitchell Index. Karpf is the newspaper’s current owner.

Dave Cisler will tell stories from the point of view of Dr. C.R. Watson, who studied at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and later became a rancher in the area.

Jim Collister will play area rancher Joe Sandford. Sanford Hall (minus the ‘D’) was named in his honor at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds.

Susan Wiedeman will take on the persona of chorus director Dorothy Bronson, who taught so many children the love of music.

Maryruth Reed will tell the story of the Mitchell Cemetery and will also play the role of Isabel Lane, early library director.

The tour will conclude with a treat of iced tea and cookies prepared by Scottsbluff High School culinary students.

“This is a neat opportunity to tell the story the Japanese folks in the Mitchell community,” said Legacy of the Plains director Katie Bradshaw. “A number of them are buried in the Mitchell Cemetery.”

The inaugural cemetery tour was in Gering to help celebrate the town’s 125th anniversary. And tickets for the tour sold out prior to the event.

“This is a way for us bring local history to life,” Bradshaw said. “Most people will only visit a cemetery for family members or for genealogical research. So many of our local cemeteries have so many interesting stories connected with them.”

Tickets are available for both the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. showings of the hour-long cemetery tour. Space is limited, so purchasing advance tickets at the Legacy of the Plains in Gering and the Mitchell locations of the library and Pinnacle Bank is recommended. Tickets cost $5 per person. Children under 12 will be admitted free of charge but still need tickets.

Guests are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. For more information call (308) 436-1989.
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