Cobblestone Museum puts out casting call for upcoming Ghost Walk

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 August 2017 at 8:03 am

Horace Greeley, an 1872 U.S. presidential candidate, once owned the Ward House that is now part of the Cobblestone Museum.

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum needs community volunteers for a Ghost Walk on Oct. 8 from 1 to5 p.m. at the museum grounds near the intersection of routes 98 and 104.

The museum needs children and adults for the event, which will highlight suffragists from more than a century ago and also some prominent residents with ties to the museum, including Rufus Brown Bullock. He is the former governor of Georgia who grew up in Albion and returned to the village in his later years. Bullock is buried at Mount Albion. The museum has his outhouse.

The Ghost Walk also includes Horace Greeley, who briefly owned the Ward House, which was built in 1840 under the direction of John Proctor, a prominent early Gaines resident. (Proctor also will be a Ghost Walk character.)

Following Proctor’s ownership, the house was sold to Benjamin and Mary Ann Woodburn Dwinnell. Mary Anne was the aunt of Greeley, the famed New York Tribune editor who held the mortgage until 1863. When Greeley’s uncle became ill and could no longer make payments on the mortgage, Horace took control of the property. The home functioned as a private residence until 1975, when the property was purchased by the museum from Mrs. Inez Martyn Ward.

The Albion school district has been doing a Ghost Walk each fall for several years, but is taking a break this year. Some students are expected to be part of the Ghost Walk at the Cobblestone Museum.

One student, for example, will portray Grace Bedell, the Albion native who wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln when she was 11. She encouraged him to grow a beard, believing it would increase his chances of winning the presidency. Lincoln took her advice.

Some other characters for the museum’s Ghost Walk include

• (Schoolhouse) William Babbitt (founder of school), John Cuneen (former state attorney general from Albion) and students

• (Ward House) Horace Greeley at the wake of his uncle Benjamin Dwinnel.  Mary Ann Dwinnell will also be there.

• (Voting Booth) Women Suffragettes

• (Cobblestone Church) John Proctor, Grace Befell and George Pullman

• (Blacksmith) Joe and Nellie Vagg

• (Printer) H. Hill and a customer – woman suffragette

• (Harness) JG Peters and Starr Chester

• (Farmer’s Hall) a Gaines farmer

• (5 seater outhouse) Rufus Brown Bullock

• (Cemetery) two women discussing the murder of Emma Hunt by William Lake at Farmer VanCamp’s home.

Actors need to be available for rehearsals, to memorize their role, and secure their own costume. Most of the parts are for working people so their attire would not have been too formal – pants, shirt, vest for men, and skirt and blouse for most of the women.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Ghost Walk should call the museum at (585) 589-9013 and leave your contact information.

Photos by Tom Rivers: The former Voting House in Hamlin was moved to the Cobblestone Museum in Gaines in 1999. The Voting House was built in 1909 by the Monroe County Board of Elections. Monroe County made many of the voting houses that were placed in voting districts in Monroe.

Photo by Tom Rivers: The former Voting House in Hamlin was moved to the Cobblestone Museum in Gaines in 1999. Suffragettes will be at this spot for a Ghost Walk on Oct. 8.

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