There's a story connected to every tombstone in the Taylor Memorial Cemetery, and this weekend members of the Triboro Historical Society are going to share as many of them as possible.
The society is presenting the first Taylor Memorial Cemetery Historical Tour at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7.
Located on the 200 block of Main Street, it's fairly easy for those driving by to miss the cemetery, which serves as the resting place for some of Taylor's most accomplished residents, like Eliza Pulver who once taught President Grover Cleveland when he was young; members of the Atherton family, the first family of Taylor; and Parley Hughes, a soldier of the American Revolution.
"Some people say he was the bodyguard, one of the bodyguards, to General (George) Washington," said Margo Azzarelli, a member of the Triboro Historical Society and co-director of the cemetery tour.
"In that time period they were called life guards," added Christine Schaefer, president of the Triboro Historical Society and co-director of the cemetery tour. "There was no way to prove it or disprove it, and the legend kind of got out of control."
Whether or not Hughes served as one of a Washington's life guards we may never know, but both Azzarelli and Schaefer feel it's sad that the debate over whether or not he did takes focus away from his accomplishments that are known to be true.
"The man fought for four years in the Revolutionary War," said Schaefer. "That's what we stress. A lot didn't, they went the first year of the Revolutionary War and they went home. The country wasn't that well organized, and there was a lack of funds, so they went home and took care of their farms and their families, and he didn't."
The Triboro Historical Society honors Hughes, as well as the soldiers buried in the cemetery who fought in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II, every July during its Patriots Month program that is held in the 1848 Presbyterian Church, located on the same piece of property as the cemetery.
Every year, after the Patriots Month program, members of the historical society are on hand to answer any questions that those in attendance may have. The interest from the public eventually led to this weekend's cemetery tour.
"People kept asking us, so we said, ‘OK we'll put a cemetery tour together,'" said Schaefer.
With the knowledge between Schaefer and Azzarelli, who authored Arcadia Publishing's "Taylor," the two had very little trouble coordinating the tour, which will begin at the church with an actor portraying a circuit riding minister, someone in the 19th century who journeyed from town to town to spread the gospel in any available setting.
From there, those in attendance will walk through the cemetery where members of the historical society, dressed in period clothing, will be delivering the testimonial, or the story, of various individuals who are buried there. The tour will close with the Ring of Fire.
"No, we're not singing Johnny Cash's song," laughed Schaefer.
"The Ring of Fire was done in the Civil War camps. You've got to remember in the Civil War nobody had dog tags, so if you were alongside me and I knew you got shot and killed, at night they would make a fire pit and they would honor their fallen comrades, and that was the way they'd get honored."
Because of the close proximity to the church, the society will be using candles rather building a fire pit, to avoid any accidents.
The two expect the program to last around 45 minutes, with the goal of the afternoon to entertain and also educate those in attendance, who will hopefully go on and share what they've learned with those who couldn't make it.
"Our motto at the historical society is, ‘You don't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been.' And if you don't know the history of your hometown, you don't have a feel for your area. Everything just can't be modern, you have to know about the history, especially the young people," said Schaefer.
"If the young people don't learn it it's gone. Taylor, people kind of dismiss Taylor, but Taylor has a lot of history," said Azzarelli.
Members of the society will be on hand to answer any questions following the tour. And, those interested can obtain more of the area's history by becoming a member of the Triboro Historical Society.
The group meets the third Tuesday of the month at the Taylor Community Library and there is no membership fee to join.
For those unable to attend on Sunday, the cemetery is open to the public, and placards, courtesy of Chris and Shawn Murphy, have been placed at several gravesites offering a brief history of the person buried there.
What: Taylor Memorial Cemetery Historical Tour
When: Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m.
Where: Taylor Memorial Cemetery, 208 S. Main St., Taylor.
Info: 562.1225 or 346.6179