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From left are early Clarkston residents Milton H. Clark, Milton Ona Clark, Hannah Lapham Clark and Inez Josephine Clark. Milton and Hannah will be portrayed at this year's Cemetery Walk. Photo provided (click for larger version)
May 18, 2011 - Meet some of Clarkston's earliest residents at Clarkston Community Historical Society's fifth annual Cemetery Walk this Saturday, May 21, at Lakeview Cemetery.

"Even if you're not a long-time Clarkston resident, it's great to hear the stories of the people that helped shape Clarkston," said Toni Smith, director of the historical society. "It gives people a chance to meet Clarkston's early settlers face to face."

Visitors will be guided on a tour of the cemetery and will stop at the gravesites with costumed re-enactors depicting the early Clarkston residents.

"Last year's enthusiastic turnout convinced us to bring back the walk and tour again this year," said James Schultz, a CCHS board member and event coordinator. "The cemetery walk is a wonderful way to learn about Clarkston history in a beautiful and peaceful setting."

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One of the early residents to be portrayed is Eva Esther Walter, a bright child born to a family of early Clarkston socialites. She will be played by local resident Julie Meredith. Although Meredith is not a descendent of Eva Walter, she is excited to take on the role.

"I was born and raised in Clarkston, so when they asked me to play a part, I was more than willing to do so. It's a really wonderful thing they're doing," Meredith said.

Sarah Foster, a woman who came from New York to visit her sister and stayed the rest of her life, will be portrayed by Kay Robertson. Jesse Skarritt, a man who operated an early horse-drawn bus line from the train depot, will be played by Fred Irish.

"It's kind of like going to see several little movies," said president of the CCHS, Jennifer Arkwright. "You get an idea of what it was like to be that person. They could have been your neighbor and it lets you know what their life was like."

Diane Clark will portay the Lady in Mourning, greeting visitors and explaining Victorian mourning customs such as the practice of weaving small amounts of a deceased person's hair into jewelry or placing it in lockets or watch fobs.

Other Clarkston pioneers at the Cemetery Walk are Peter Addis, resident and builder, portrayed by Spencer Bunting; Peter Green, livery owner who rented horse-drawn hearses, played by Rhett Grant; and Samuel Miller, successful farmer who lived the high life, played by Clark Headrick.

Joe and Melissa Luginski portray Milton and Hannah Clark, owner of M.H. Clark Dry Goods. Cathy Phillips Forst plays Elizabeth Miller, determined farmer who lived to 101.

Forst and Melissa are descendents of the early residents they will be portraying.

Tickets will be sold at the Clarkston Country Store, 21 N. Main, and the Independence Township Library. They will also be sold at the event. Prices will be $10 for adults and $5 for students and will include refreshments and live music. Guests may park at Deer Lake Beach or Depot Park and ride a free shuttle to the cemetery.

The cemetery walk and tour begins at 6:30 p.m. at the cemetery, 6150 White Lake Road near Dixie Highway. The last tour leaves at 8 p.m. In case of rain, the event will take place May 22.

For more information, call 248-922-0270.

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