Kirksville History . . . right in your own backyard!
By, Amanda Moser
This Saturday, Curtain Call Theatre Company will present can’t-b
e-missed entertainment for any Kirksville resident. Have you ever wondered what life was like in Kirksville over 100 years ago? Then see history come to life during Cemetery Theatre. Actors perform vignettes in the historic Forest Llewellyn Cemetery in Downtown Kirksville- each portraying a real historic character that lived in Kirksville’s not-so-distance past. This year actors will revive the stories of Tabitha Fleming, George Wall Smith, Sam and Ida Pickler, Marie Turner Harvey, David and Minerva Sloan, Orie J. Smith, and two Civil War Soldiers.
Tabitha Bradford Fleming was a daughter of the American Revolution- literally! Her father fought as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. She lived in Lexington, Missouri, where her husband was sheriff, but later moved to Kirksville to be closer to her daughter’s family.
George Wall Smith tells the story of his time as a young soldier in the Civil War. George enlisted in the Union army at just 16. He lived to be over 90 years old and shared many stories of his injuries and experiences in the Union army.
Samuel and Ida Pickler lived in the 1920sin Kirksville. Samuel graduated from the Kirksville Normal School (now Truman State University) and became a member of the faculty in 1870. Many readers will recognize the name because of his contributions to the library, now named Pickler Library.
Marie Turner Harvey was a teacher at a country school called Porter School in the early 1900s. She was a strong woman who was hired on many of her own conditions- that the school have sufficient supplies, that the building be repaired, that she live in her own home. She strove to make positive changes to the school system, but most importantly, in the lives of her students.
David Sloan and his daughter Minerva lived in Kirksville in the early 1800s. The moved west from Kentucky as Missouri Pioneers. David Sloan was the first pioneer buried in Adair County and was a peer of Jesse Kirk, after whom the town is named.
Orie J. Smith is a new character to the lineup but is certainly no newcomer to Kirksville history. As the historic round barn celebrates its 100th birthday this year, we remember the original builder of the barn, Orie J. Smith. The barn was built in 1913 to house Orie’s cattle and represented cutting edge agricultural technology.
The two Civil War Soldiers represent the untold story of the war. Two young men, one Union and one Confederate, share their stories of entering the forces and eventually, leaving them through one way or another.
Cemetery Theatre will be hosted at Forest Llewellyn Cemetery on Saturday, July 6th from 5:30-7:30 pm. Admission proceeds will support Curtain Call Theatre Company and can be bought at the door. We look forward to seeing you there!