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Washington County historical society to host second annual historical storytelling event

Washington County historical society to host second annual historical storytelling event

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ABINGDON, Va. —- A few meandering spirits will entertain and educate guests Saturday when the Washington County Historical Society hosts its second annual “An Evening with the Spirits of Sinking Spring Presbyterian Cemetery.”

The fall presentation, beginning at 7 p.m. at the cabin at the Abingdon cemetery, is a seated event featuring some of the spirits from past cemetery tours. Seating will be on the grass in front of the cabin.

“ The event is just another way for us to present our historical stories to more people,” said Martha Keys, immediate past president and a member of the board of directors for the historical society. “We live in a wonderful town and every year people tell us they’ve never visited this cemetery.

“ By bringing these people to life, we are honoring our past and the people who helped to build Abingdon and Washington County.”

The interactive program will be presented in a casual, fun, and informal way so that it’s easy to learn, absorb and remember.

“ Everything the spirits say will be factual,” she said.

The hour-long presentations began last year after people in the community requested night events at the cemetery. Keys, who said the event was successful last year, anticipates good attendance.

“ We’ll probably have at least five or six spirits show up. You never really know. Spirits are contrary that way,” said Keys.

The spirits will mingle and tell their stories in first person and in character from the cabin porch.

Guests should expect to hear stories from the spirit of Minnie Baugh, the daughter of Leonidas Baugh, a deputy clerk of the Washington County Court from 1869-1875.

“ Miss Minnie was a Renaissance woman of the late 1800s and early 1900s. She was an interesting homegrown woman,” said Keys.

The spirit will be played by Donna Akers of Abingdon.

“ Minnie was a woman ahead of her time, printing postcards, publishing booklets, and running a pharmacy. Her shop is still standing with the home on Main Street. She long advocated for a local historical society,” according to a historical society brochure.

The event will include stories about the Lilburn Trigg murder that took place on Main Street east of the Abingdon Courthouse in 1888.

Charlie Barnette of Abingdon will play the spirit of a local tinsmith.

“ We also will have the spirits of two women whose men were at the Battle of King’s Mountain,” she said.

The presentation is appropriate for families. Tickets are $5 per person (cash only) and go on sale at 6:30 p.m. at the cemetery gate the evening of the event. Proceeds will support the historical society’s preservation efforts.

The historical society will provide popcorn. Guests are asked to bring their own blankets, chairs and drinks.

The cemetery is at the intersection of Russell Road and Valley Street, directly behind the Washington County Historical Society building at 341 West Main St.

Free parking will be available either along the street or in the historical society parking lot. | 276-645-2531 | Twitter: @RSorrellBHC |

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