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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,

Alissa Scott/Recorder staff Marion Smeallie Wheeler, played by Michele Van Wormer, left, tells a story Friday about how she lost her father and son within just a few months during a "Ghosts of the Past" tour of historic Green Hill Cemetery in Amsterdam.

Alissa Scott/Recorder staff John Kellogg, played by Jerry Snyder, Historic Amsterdam League president, told the group about how his family owned a linseed mill just across the road.

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Tours provide insight into Amsterdam's history

Saturday, October 19, 2013 - Updated: 4:08 AM

By ALISSA SCOTT

alissa.scott@recordernews.com

Groups of two dozen braved the Green Hill Cemetery in Amsterdam Friday night as they watched the sun set and the graveyard's permanent residents come out to tell their stories.

An acting reporter of the Historic Amsterdam League, which organized the tours, led the group through the premises where they met eight prominent people of the 19th century.

The group rustled through falling leaves to find several pale-faced ghosts, of them was a woman in a flapper dress, flicking a cigarette.

Daisy Crouse Smith Rhinehart, who died in 1961, was the daughter of carpet mill owner David Crouse. In 1903, Daisy's parents wanted her to marry a German count, but instead she chose to elope with a trading stamp salesmen.

"I was not about to marry that man," Daisy, performed by Denise Krohn, said. "So I married Arthur, or no Roy. Oh. So many men, I can never keep them straight," as her slew of last names suggests.

She's interrupted by Betsey Reynolds Voorhees, an artist and women's suffragist who told the group about her efforts to wrangle in her husband and women's right to vote.

"Sir, are you writing this down?" Voorhees, played by Kathi Allen, pestered the HAL reporter. The audience laughed.

Pat Posluszny, a member of the first tour, said she enjoyed herself.

"This was so cute," she said as the bus pulled up to pick up the group and bring them back to City Hall. "They did a great job. It was informative, but also really fun."

Last year was the first attempt at an evening tour through the cemetery, something people had always talked about, HAL member Alessa Wylie said.

"This is just a perfect way to get people involved," Wylie said during a rehearsal. "We make it somewhat unique in that it's not scary per se. You learn about Amsterdam history, and that's what we wanted to do."

The group also met W. Max Reid, played by community and economic development director Robert von Hasseln; John Kellogg, played by HAL president Jerry Snyder; Webster Nellis, played by Ryan Weitz; Marion Smeallie Wheeler, played by Michele Van Wormer; William J. Kline, played by Steve Wylie; and Worley Moat, played by Tom Pikul.

Tours continue tonight beginning at 6 p.m., with a new group departing about every 20 minutes until 8 p.m. Each tour is limited to 24 guests, because of busing.

In response to a complaint lodged last year, organizers have arranged a charter bus to transport visitors from City Hall to the cemetery and back so guests won't have to walk far.

While waiting at City Hall, before or after, there will be an additional opportunity to listen to ghost stories with free refreshments, as well as a palm reader and psychics on site.

Those interested can purchase tickets at Old Peddler's Wagon, 175 Church St.; or June's Cards and Gifts in the Sanford Farms Plaza for $10 per adult and $5 per child 10 and under. Proceeds will benefit HAL and Green Hill Cemetery Association. Tickets purchased in advance guarantee accommodation.

Sturdy walking shoes are recommended as the tour will be over uneven ground throughout the cemetery. The event will take place regardless of weather.

For more information, visit historicamsterdam.org.

"All we ask," Weitz said as the group trotted through the graveyard, "is that you remember us."

     

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