The Mayor's Blue Ribbon Cemetery Committee of Portsmouth, New Hampshire















 


Public response enables growth of ‘Spirits 2005’

March 21, 2005 PORTSMOUTH - A huge response from area residents will allow the city’s Cemetery Committee to more than double the number of history programs it will put on this year.

"I’m overwhelmed by the response I’ve gotten from a request in the press for costumed role players and lecturers for our ‘Spirits 2005, Bringing the Dead to Life,’" said Audrey Bierhans, chairwoman of the mayor’s Blue Ribbon Cemetery Committee. "Last year, we scheduled 14 programs in the city’s four ancient burial grounds - North, Union, Point of Graves and Pleasant Street. To date, we’ve got close to 35 programs scheduled."

Programs, which are free to the public, will start as early as June 8 when attorney Charles B. Doleac will speak at the Point of Graves Cemetery on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty signed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The programs will continue into mid-September or later.

Returning as program presenters from last year will be Thomas Kehr as Gov. John Langdon, Lee and Dot Fisher as Dr. and Mrs. Hall Jackson, and Steve Wood as Abraham Lincoln. Speakers Glenn Knoblock, Valerie Cunningham and Roberta Ransley-Matteau, and folk singer Jeff Warner will also return.

"The willing talent in the area has literally blown my mind," Bierhans said.

In addition, speakers and yet-to-be-determined role-players will be included in a telling of the tale of the Smuttynose murders and an appearance of Louis Wagner, hanged for the murders, and Andy Melville, from the Moffett-Ladd House.

"We are seeking funding for the installation of two or three benches in the rear of North Burial Ground, where many of our programs will take place," committee Treasurer Irwin Bierhans said.

Donations may be sent to The Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Cemetery Committee, P.O. Box 606, Portsmouth, NH 03802. For information, call 436-5096 or e-mail akmann@comcast.net.

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