University of Arkansas - Fort Smith student Grace Devero slipped into character as she practiced her lines for her portrayal of Pauline Sadler Faber for the eighth annual Tales of the Crypt tonight and Sunday at Fairview Cemetery in Van Buren.
"I was the first of eight children," Devero said of her Faber portrayal. "And, with that honor I often helped by mother in caring for my other siblings. I spent hours entertaining them on the front porch."
Faber, 1887-1971, was 16 when she graduated high school, Devero noted. "Well, I was pretty young at the time but I yearned for a place to teach."
Faber’s first teaching job was at Wheelock Academy in the Choctaw Nation, a position she accepted Sept. 1, 1906. She later was a second grade teacher at Sophia Meyer Elementary in Van Buren.
For the third year, the event will include a twilight version under the glow of Victorian street lights from 6:30 to 8:30 tonight. Tales will be repeated Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
Students from Tom Wing’s historical interpretation program at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith will portray six historical figures buried at Fairview Cemetery, which was established in 1837 when John Drennen donated 10 acres to establish the cemetery.
In addition to Devero, the actors are:
• Lauren Boswell, who will portray Anna Wallace, 1909-89, educator and principal of King Elementary School in Van Buren.
• Felicia Wright, who will bring to life Emilie Sargent Pernot, 1829-1904, wife of Dr. Henri Pernot and descendant of Josiah Bartlett, signer of the declaration.
• Dillon Wilbourn, who will portray Dunham Scott, 1885-1941, World War I veteran and son of Phillip D. Scott and Fannie Dunham Scott.
• Jerry Wing, who will play Judge Jonathan B. Ogden, 1812-89, federal judge for the Western District of Arkansas and the Indian Territory.
• Stephen Christian, who will portray Sheriff Joseph Houck, 1829-84, sheriff of Crawford County and veteran of the War Between the States and the Mexican American War. He was slain in the line of duty.
All the portrayals are buried at Fairview Cemetery, which has been used as a burial ground dating back to 1816. Some of the monuments are more than 160 years old.
Proceeds from Tales of the Crypt are used for preservation of historic monuments in the cemetery.
Tales of the Crypt organizer Randy Smith said 2,060 of the 2,900 burials at Fairview Cemetery are historical. He also pointed out there are 1,300 sites available at the cemetery, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places June 1, 2005.
Tales of the Crypt is sponsored in part by the City of Van Buren, the Van Buren Historic District Commission and the Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission.
Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children. Entry to the cemetery will be on the McKibben Street gate with only handicapped parking permitted inside the cemetery. All other parking will be on the McKibben Street side. A shuttle will run from Butterfield Trail Middle School on North 11th Street.