3 new characters in Historical Society’s Cemetery Crawl Aug. 29

       The Cemetery Crawl will feature three new characters Sunday, Aug. 29. In addition, the 13th annual event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fairview Cemetery will see two Crawl veterans reprising roles they've had in the past.
       Organized by the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), the Crawl features volunteers in period costume standing by the tombstones of people buried at Fairview and telling their stories in first person. A fundraiser for the society, the cost is $7 in advance and $9 at the gate.
       New characters will be Sheriff Alex Taws, who was Colorado City police chief from 1910 to 1913; Catherine Amsler, widow of a fireman who died in the 1918- 1919 flu pandemic; and Solomon High, who served in the Civil War with the Colorado Volunteer Cavalry and fought in the 1864 Battle of Sand Creek, which is still debated by historians.
       The players returning to past roles will be Dave Hughes - Colorado City co-founder Anthony Bott; and Jennifer Tilton (Hughes' granddaughter) - famous madam Laura Belle McDaniel.
       Portraying Taws will be OCCHS President Phil McDonald. “Taws was a Civil War veteran who was appointed to the job when Colorado City officials decided to clean house and find someone who would more vigorously enforce local gambling ordinances,” McDonald said. “This character will give me the opportunity to explore the more tawdry elements of the city. It should be fun.”
       McDonald had played Dr. Isaac Winternitz for the past four years and was “ready for a new challenge,” he said.
       From a historical standpoint, Missie Trenary, a Cripple Creek-area writer and Colorado historian, feels she's the right person to portray Mrs. Amsler. “For some twisted reason, I have been drawn to stories concerning the Spanish Influenza epidemic,” Trenary said. “When Jo Cervone [the OCCHS event organizer] presented me with the opportunity to play the part of a grieving widow who had lost her husband to the flu, it just sort of fell right up my alley, so to speak.”
       Another apparently good fit is Fred Frey, a US Army veteran who is the great-great grandson of Solomon High, the man he will be representing at the Crawl. “I consider it a pleasure to represent [him],” Frey said, “to honor his Civil War era service to our country and his long-term residency in Old Colorado City.”
       For the past two years Dave Hughes has portrayed Jacob Schmidt, a turn-of-the-19th-century Colorado City tavern owner. He will be switching back to Bott to give a break to Paul Shepard, who took over the founder's role when Hughes developed the Schmidt character but has had recent health issues, Hughes said.
       Jennifer Tilton had played Laura Belle for several years, but bowed out last year after having a baby. Rebecca Clark, her mother, who had also played the part before, filled in for her in '09.
       Other continuing Cemetery Crawl characters this year (portrayers in parentheses) will be Mrs. Lou Ross (Jeep White), whose son died in a 1904 drowning accident; Katherine Lamont (Kathy McBride), wife of fiery Baptist minister Duncan Lamont; and Oliver Ingraham (Steve Lebel), a Colorado City attorney and mayor.
       White, a Cripple Creek-area reenactor, takes the place of Suzanne Schorsch, who performed Ross last year but is helping administer the event this year instead.
       For more information, call the OCCHS at 635-1225. The center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Westside Pioneer/press release