Cemeteries ETX To-DO Events History Tours

Twilight Cemetery Stroll in Historic Jefferson

Twilight Cemetery Stroll in Historic Jefferson

A Shipwreck Victim, Murdered Diamond Bessie, Her Accused Murderer, A Freed Slave, and More

Lucy Russell,lost in a tragic steamboat voyage in 1871, offers her spirited story during the Twilight Cemetery Stroll in Jefferson, Texas. The one-hour walking tour features six brave and raucous characters greeting visitors from their century-old resting places in Old Oakwood Cemetery on Saturday, April 20, from 5 pm to 7 pm.

JEFFERSON- Historic spirits come to life, sharing their brave and raucous past during the annual Jefferson Twilight Cemetery Stroll on Saturday, April 20, from 5 pm to 7 pm in Old Oakwood Cemetery. A murdered lady of the night, her accused murderer, a shipwreck victim, a freed slave, and more characters speak near elegant Victorian tombstones and serene monuments during this one-hour guided walking tour. Tour groups meet at the main cemetery gate near 607 N. Alley in Jefferson.

These characters, in Civil War-era costume, entertain and enlighten tour groups from historic Jefferson’s century-old cemetery: 

  • Diamond Bessie, a lady of the night and victim of treachery in 1876
  • Abe Rothschild, accused murderer of Diamond Bessie, shares his side of the story
  • Lucy Russell, matriach of a prominent east Texas family, returns from her watery demise in an 1871 steamship disaster
  • Judy Bedford, an escaped slave, recounts her journey to freedom near the burial site of twenty-four Union soldiers
  • Vernon Dalhart, a 1920’s famous singer/songwriter honored in the Country Music Hall of Fame, offers lyrics from a bygone era and a nod to his violent relatives
  • Gus Schluter, a lumber tycoon who cut a fortune from the piney woods, shares good times and hard luck from his family legacy

“I am so glad to talk about what happened on our way to Memphis,” said Lucy Russell (played by Wendy Looney). Our family went down with the ship on that fateful day, but it’s a story that’s both exciting and tragic. Plus, I get to show off my beautiful traveling dress–something that hasn’t happened in more than one hundred forty years.”            

Proceeds from donations (suggested $10 per person) preserve Jefferson cemeteries. For the latest news on the tour, visit facebook.com/JeffersonCemeteryTour or www.JeffersonCemeteryTour.org. For additional informations, call 903.665.3733. The Riverport Ambassadors, a group dedicated to historic preservation in Jefferson, produce this annual event.

Media Contact:

Rhenda Gray, Sundance Associates – Agency of Record

Office:  903.665.8555   Cell: 817.980.2348

Email: rhenda@sundanceassociates.net

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