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-Messenger archive photo by Hans Madsen

With a nice umbrella to help keep her cool, Ruth Bennett portrays Cornelia Bagg, 1821-1896, in the 14th annual Oakland Cemetery Walk. Bagg’s husband designed the cemetery but is, ironically, buried at sea. Proceeds from the event are used for the preservation of the cemetery.

The untimely demise of Margaret A. Thompson Rush is the reason there are lights on so many street corners in Fort Dodge.

What happened to him will be explained at the 19th annual Oakland Cemetery Walk. The annual fundraiser features actors representing those buried in the historic North 15th Street Cemetery.

“We try to tell a bit of history about our ancestors and how they contributed to the beginning and history of Fort Dodge and the surrounding area”, said Rick Carle, an event organizer.

This year’s event will tell the stories of some of the unusual occurrences that brought some of the occupants of the cemetery together.

Despite the name of the event, no one will have to cross the cemetery to hear these stories. People will only have to sit in an air-conditioned auditorium to watch and listen to the actors and actresses telling their stories.

-Messenger archive photo by Hans Madsen

Jeff Bluml, left, playing C. Frederick Becker, pretends to re-enact a family tale on a pebble in his nose as Lori Cassady, playing Wilhelmina Becker, looks rather a little taken aback during the 14th annual Oakland Cemetery Walk . Frederick Becker was the founder of Becker Florists, which is still open in Fort Dodge. Wilhelmina led the company for a long time. Bluml even spoke with a German accent when portraying Becker.

The Oakland Cemetery Walk will begin at 2 p.m. on June 12 from the BioScience and Health Scienes building at Iowa Central Community College. Admission is $7.

The life and especially the death of these former residents of Fort Dodge will be explored:

• Angus B. McBane, played by Tim Morris. His death caused the death of his daughter.

• Margaret A. Thompson Rush played by Stephanie Coble-Day. His death is the reason there are lights on the street corners of Fort Dodge.

• George A. Rogers played by Sean O’Connor. He was assassinated in New York.

-Messenger archive photo by Hans Madsen

John Bonner of Vincent tells visitors to the 14th Annual Oakland Cemetery Walk about his character, Dr. Stephen Olney, 1821-1891, Civil War surgeon and Fort Dodge’s first physician. Bonner crafted the wooden medical chest on the table and stocked it with some look-alike medicine from the era and a fun bottle or two with Eye of Newt and Spider Legs.

• Julia Flower Sherman interpreted by Ruth Bennett. She drowned in the Boone River with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

• Louis W. Neudeck played by Randy Hoover. He was struck by lightning.

• Mary Ann Prusia represented by Teresa Naughton. She died mysteriously after nursing her youngest child.

• Alexander McLean played by Garrett Savery. His work as a painter caused his death.

• Dr. Adelaide Ainsworth played by Alexandria Morris. She died after working during a typhoid epidemic in Waterloo.

-Messenger archive photo by Hans Madsen

Framed by their marker, Jeff Jasper, left, portraying John D. Strow, 1831-1907, and Randy Hoover, portraying James R. Strow, 1823-1889, tell visitors to the 14th Annual Oakland Cemetery Walk how they practiced law in New York City then moved to Fort Dodge in the mid-1800s.

All proceeds from the event will go towards the preservation and upkeep of the cemetery.

The Oakland Cemetery Walk was started 20 years ago by Jerry and Marva Rowe of Fort Dodge. The Rowes were historians who documented over 7,000 burials in the cemetery.

About Oakland Cemetery

Oakland Cemetery was laid out in 1859, about six years after Fort Dodge became a city. Landscape architect Egbert Bagg was paid $250 to survey and map the site.

The cemetery covers 40 acres on the west side of 15th Street, north of Soldier Creek.

A monument to the Unknown Civil War Union Soldiers stands near the highest point of the cemetery.

Among those buried in the cemetery are William Williams, the founder of Fort Dodge; US Senator Jonathan Dolliver; William S. Kenyon, US Senator and Federal Judge; actress Lily Damatia; and Governor Cyrus Carpenter.

Walk through the cemetery

When no one will walk

through Oakland Cemetery during

the actual cemetery walk there will be a chance to see the site.

On June 10, guided tours will be

offered from 7 p.m.

To take a ride, park at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1436 21st Ave. NOT.,

and take a bus to the cemetery.

Gifts of free will will be accepted.

If you are going to

What: 19th Annual Oakland Cemetery Walk • When: 2 p.m. June 12

Where: BioScience and Health Sciences Building, Iowa Central Community College

Admission: $7

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