The Slater Area Historical Association (SAHA) will once again be hosting a cemetery walk. The walk will be held this coming Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Bethlehem Cemetery in Slater. All community members are encouraged to attend this free event.
This year’s cemetery walk will feature four former Slater area residents who fought in the Civil War - Severt Tesdell, Oley Nelson, Thomas Weeks and Oliver Weeks. Each of the four veterans will be portrayed by their descendants, all of whom currently live in the Slater area.
Barb Mallon, a SAHA member, said the portrayers will "bring the veterans to life and let people know what kind of impact they had on the community."
The portrayers will tell when the veterans went to war, what was going on at home while they were away at war, what they did when they returned from war and how they survived.
Mallon said the veterans and their families, as well as others who settled in what would later become the town of Slater, had just immigrated to the area and were in the process of setting up farms and businesses when they were called to serve their country.
"Slater was not even a town when they took off to war," Mallon said. "It would be 25 or 26 years before Slater would become incorporated."
The walk coincides with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, hence the reason for choosing four Civil War veterans. The day the walk will be held is the same day, 150 years ago, that the 19th Iowa division fought the battle of Stirling’s Plantation in Louisiana, said Louise O’Donnell, SAHA member.
All those wishing to attend the cemetery walk should meet at Heritage Hall, 318 First Ave., Slater, at 2 p.m. A short talk will be given about the Civil War before participants will drive to Bethlehem Cemetery, where the veterans are buried. "Taps" will be played at the cemetery and members of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War will be there to "lend an ambiance to what’s going on," Mallon said.
Following the portrayals given at the cemetery, attendees will gather back at Heritage Hall, where they can talk to the portrayers and look at the Civil War exhibit the Slater Area Historical Association has on display. Refreshments will be available at that time. Mallon said the entire event will last approximately two hours.
In the event of poor weather, a rain date has been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 6, at the same time and place.