2nd Annual Cemetery “Ghost Tour”
LIBERTY, September 10, 2014 - The Liberty County Historical Commission will be holding its 2nd annual ghost tour, “Whispers from the Past…..Tales and Tours in the Liberty Catholic Cemetery” on Saturday and Sunday, October 25th and 26th. There will be two tours at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The tour is an annual fundraising event for projects in historic preservation in the county. Last year, the event was a huge success and tickets sold out with a “wait list.” The commission expects this year’s tour in the Liberty Catholic Cemetery to be just as successful!
The Catholic Cemetery in Liberty was first referred to as “the burial ground” and in 1850 as “The Catholic Graveyard.” It was officially recognized as a cemetery for Liberty County Catholics when purchased in 1853 by Bishop John M. Odin for the sum of $250. The earliest graves in the cemetery are predominantly of related families that came to this region with the wave of Creole immigration from Louisiana in the mid-19th century. The earliest recorded, though unmarked burial is of Joseph Gillard II who died in 1848. According to church records, Margarite Gillard was the first person buried after the cemetery was purchased by the Bishop. Jacques Valcour LaCour’s headstone reads May 31, 1853, making this one of the earliest marked graves in the cemetery.
On October 25th and 26th, residents of this cemetery will return and “whisper tales” from their past, histories of their families and how they came to settle in Liberty County. Re-enactors will again dress in period correct attire and assume rolls of many of the earliest settlers in this area. Included in this year’s cemetery tour will be Dr. E. J. Gillard and his niece, Celima DeBlanc Duncan; Josephine Bristley DeBlanc, pioneer settlers. 1812 War veteran, John Baptiste Gillard; Civil War veteran, Simeon DeBlanc; WWI veteran, William Duncan Welder and WWII veteran and Bataan Death March survivor, Grover Will will tell their stories. Early community business leaders highlighted will be Bridget and Henry Ager; newspaperman, C. A. Chambers and Alma Cress, owner of the Cress-McArthur Hotel. Also featured will be Nadine and Sally Woods and their mother, Gertrude and their fight against muscular dystrophy including the Liberty Bell story.
“Whispers from the Past…..Tales and Tours in the Liberty Catholic Cemetery” ticket information for purchasing will be announced soon. The commission expects record crowds for this popular tour. Purchase your tickets early for this “do not miss” event!