Seventh event to support historic preservation

WAUPUN – The seventh annual Waupun Historical Society Cemetery Walk will gently glide through the history of Waupun from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on October 29. Self-guided tours will be held at Forest Mound Cemetery near North Madison Street.

The late Rohn T. Bishop started the event in 2015. Waupun Historical Society President Zac Dickhut helps coordinate the event along with Kyle Clark and Tracie Nichols. All invite the public to discover some of the city’s most illustrious citizens.

Highlights from past tours read like a who’s who of Waupun, the state and the nation. Past characters include Clarence Shaler, who was an inventor, sculptor, and close friend of Henry Ford; Ms. Crawford, who was the grandmother of US President Warren G. Harding; Mrs. John Ackerman, who was the wife of the first mayor of Waupun and one of the founding persons of the town; WW Harris, builder/operator of Harris Mill; Seymour and Lucy Wilcox, founders of the city; and even Ed Gein, serial killer who was held for a time in Waupun State Prison. (He is the only exception to be buried there and is buried in a cemetery in Plainfield).

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This year’s list includes personalities who served in the Civil War, a historical figure who has a connection to Holocaust victim Anne Frank, a woman who served as inspiration for the women’s baseball movie “A League of Their Own” and some returning favorites.

“There might even be a musical component to this year’s march,” Dickhut hinted.

Seven or eight volunteer actors choose their characters and research the actions and/or achievements of these people. Each actor receives a license to recreate the character and provide information about the burial site. Presentations last less than 10 minutes each. The complete visit should take 40-45 minutes.

“We provide a great time with interesting information, which is our mission at the museum,” Dickhut said. “We usually have between 80 and 100 people in attendance, and we always hope to exceed the number from the previous year. Come and discover some things about Waupun and its most fascinating inhabitants. You will be surprised at how much there is to learn.

Forest Mound Cemetery was organized in 1862 and the first burial took place there in 1863. Although it is an eternal resting place, many of the deceased were moved post-mortem. Some of the remains were moved there from two earlier cemeteries. One burial site was too muddy for regular use and the other was moved by the railroad. These earlier locations are now West End and Wilcox Parks.

A voluntary donation is requested, with funds to help preserve local history at the Waupun Heritage Museum, 22 S. Madison St. According to board member and volunteer Rick Vant Hoff, this is the main collection historical society funds for the year.

“We appreciate whatever people are willing to give,” Vant Hoff said. “We guarantee it will be put to good use to help support our mission.”