Below are 3 student articles about their visit to Evergreen Cemetery:
OHS English Students Take a Walk through the Past
By Taylor Rich, OHS Torch Reporter
It was a chilly, foggy October morning for 46 Olympia High School English students to take a step back in time to meet “not so famous” former Bloomington area residents.
On October 5, students in English 101, German 3, and Journalism went to the 21st annual Evergreen Cemetery Walk. The event is sponsored every year by the McLean County Museum of History and the Illinois Voices Theatre.
Even though many characters were portrayed, Dr. Eli Crothers and Dr. Marie Louise Crothers seemed to spark the most crowd interest.
Dr. Eli Crothers explained his involvement with the first malpractice suit in the state of Illinois. Crothers was exonerated with some help from Abraham Lincoln. Marie Louise Crothers began assisting her husband as the earliest resident female physician before pursuing the study of medicine on her own.
Senior Hope Shay said the Crothers couple was one of her favorite performances of the cemetery because of the way they portrayed the scene. “Their acting was awesome. I felt in the moment,” said Shay.
Another crowd favorite was Matilda Calcote, who had worked for several years as a live in maid to the mother of Adlai Stevenson II. She soon left and worked as a ship welder for the U.S. military, a spot painter, and a tank cleaner until she moved back to Bloomington because of the gruesome scenes of her job.
“I liked Matilda because she had an interesting way of telling her story and had a fun personality,” said Taylor Stirsman, OHS senior.
The Evergreen Cemetery Walk is a great opportunity to learn about former, local residents who were influential to the area. Shay said she does recommend the walk to anyone.
Zombies Want to Inform Brains, Not Eat Them
By Katie Bergeron, OHS Torch reporter
On October 5th, in the Evergreen Cemetery the dead came alive because of the McLean County Museum of History and Illinois Voices Theatre; their goal was to entertain and inform viewers about past community members.
The performances were of select people buried in the cemetery. The people chosen to be portrayed were members of the community who made a contribution to McLean County history, but they weren’t always famous..
Senior Carson Goff said, “My favorite person was William O. Davis. It was really cool to hear about the pantagraph when it was struggling to survive it’s competition and now it is the prominent newspaper for Bloomington.”
William O. Davis was an adventurer who eventually married Elizabeth Fell. Davis became the proprietor and publisher of the Pantagraph in its early years, The Pantagraph flourished under Davis’s watch and he is one of the main reasons it is still around today.
William O. Davis was portrayed by actor John D. Poling. This was Poling’s first appearance in the Cemetery walk, but it was not apparent, he stayed in character throughout the whole skit; and even remembered to not use his right arm and leg.
Bailey Hoerbert, senior, said, “The performance that stood out to me the most was Matilda. The actress seemed to actually be Matilda. She was also really funny.”
Matilda Calcote was a live-in maid for Helen Stevenson's daughter, Adlai Stevenson, for many years. Once the war started, Calcote became a ship welder in 1944. She was married several times and had one daughter. Later in her life, Calcote became an active member of the African American community.
Goff said, “It was a great experience. I love learning about history, especially since it was so close to home. Everyone should get the experience to go on this field trip.”
OHS Students Visit the Past at Evergreen Cemetery
By: Cameron Litwiller, OHS Torch Reporter
It was a cloudy, and quite chilly, morning for Olympia students to take a visit to the past and re-live the lives of former Bloomington residents who contributed to McLean County society.
On October 5th, the elective English classes went to the 21st annual Evergreen Cemetery Discovery Walk. As always, the event was sponsored by the Illinois Voices Theatre and the McLean County Museum of History.
There were a number of people that were portrayed but one favorite seemed to be the story of the doctor, Dr. Thomas Rogers (1812-1899). Dr. Thomas Rogers, a physician, was a close acquaintance to both Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.
On the cemetery walk, Dr. Thomas Rogers talked about all of the adventures he had been on in order to treat a patient. Like many doctors at the time, Rogers made frequent house calls, traveling by horseback in inclement weather. Deep snow and a pack of wolves would force him to ride with his feet held high for miles.
Senior Thomas Hallstein said that Rogers was his favorite character portrayed at the cemetery walk because of his wild adventures. “It was pretty impressive the kinds of stuff that he did,” said Thomas.
After practicing medicine four years in Decatur, Illinois and seven years in Washington, Illinois, Rogers took the advice of Senator Stephen A. Douglas and moved to Bloomington in 1849. Rogers would make Bloomington his home for the last fifty years of his life, developing a large and successful practice.
“I liked the fact that his story was connected to Abraham Lincoln,” said Junior Jessie Wyse on the story of Dr. Thomas Rogers.
In 1855, Bloomington suffered a great fire which resulted in Samuel Fleming, a carpenter, suffering two broken legs when a chimney collapsed. Fleming later decided to sue Dr. Crothers and Dr. Rogers for malpractice because of his crooked leg resulting from the attempted surgery, claiming lack of "due and proper care, skill or diligence." Abraham Lincoln, successfully defended Dr. Rogers and Dr. Crothers, demonstrating with chicken bones how age affects a person’s ability to heal.
The Evergreen Cemetery Walk is a good experience to learn about former residents of McLean County who made lasting impacts on the community. The 21st annual Cemetery tours run from October 3-4 and 10-11.