Have you ever walked through the McPherson Cemetery and wondered about the lives of those buried there?
McPherson Museum Director Anna Ruxlow will relate several stories of famous — and infamous — people of McPherson in "Tombstone Talks."
"We used to do this in the cemetery with our fall festival," Ruxlow explained.
The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the McPherson Museum, 1111 E. Kansas Ave.
"It won't be as neat as walking among the tombstones, but it'll be more comfortable," Ruxlow said.
Notable McPherson residents such as teacher Lulu Wickersham will be highlighted, along with other figures from the past that some people may not be familiar with, Ruxlow noted.
"We talk about some of the people that may have died tragically in McPherson," Ruxlow said. "We'll talk about how they came to McPherson, what they did in McPherson and a little bit of their history."
Those narratives will include the death of Charles Bruce, the first and only law enforcement office killed in the line of duty in McPherson. Bruce was shot by thieves trying to steal gasoline.
Other tales of unusual and historically significant deaths will be part of "Tombstone Talks."
"You'll learn about people that were in McPherson long before any of us were. You'll learn bits of history that you may not have ever heard before," Ruxlow said. "We try to add a personal connection with these people. In essence, we bring them back to life for a moment."
Attendees will hear snippets about people such as August San Romani, who was a band director at McPherson High School, succeeding his brother in the position. The bandshell in Lakeside Park is named after him in recognition of his career.
"He was sometimes known as 'Mr. Music,'" Ruxlow said.
Other educators also made major accomplishments during their tenures at McPherson schools.
"We also talk about Dr. Hershey from McPherson College," Ruxlow said. "He is the professor who created the first detectable synthetic diamond."
Another famous McPherson resident was saxophone player Loren McMurray.
"He started in Kansas City and went on to New York," Ruxlow said.
McMurray died at the age of 25 from a sinus infection.
"He had a great career," Ruxlow said.
In continuing the tradition of "Tombstone Talks," she went through the museum's archives in search of fascinating stories, digging through old newspapers and obituaries.
"Once I got started in it, it was a lot of fun to add some new people into it,'" Ruxlow said.
"Tombstone Talks" will be part of the program for the monthly McPherson County Historical Society meeting.
"October is associated with Halloween and all that, so we said 'let's do the tombstone talk for this meeting,'" Ruxlow said.
Former president of the McPherson County Historical Society David Nigh will also be recognized at the event.
"We are also going to have a little reception at the end of the meeting in honor of David's service," Ruxlow said.
For more information about "Tombstone Talks," call the McPherson Museum at 620-241-8464.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.