12th Annual Vintage Voices: “Faith, Hope and Charity”
Every October for the last twelve years, Alton Little Theater has shared the stories of former Alton residents through Vintage Voices. Guided tours are held each Saturday in October at Alton City Cemetery, where most of these residents are buried. This year’s theme is “Faith, Hope and Charity.”
The 50-minute walking tours start at the cemetery’s main gate every 12 minutes from 1 to 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Alton Area Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau and are sold on the day of each tour at the main gate of the cemetery. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students.
Two additional performances will be offered at the ALT Showplace at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 13. Tickets are $15 and include a dessert buffet. To make reservations for the non-walking tour, call the ALT office at 618-462-3205.
Funds raised by Vintage Voices support community outreach programs and the upkeep of the City and National Cemetery.
Here are brief descriptions of the individuals who will be depicted this year. For more on each person, please join us at the cemetery or ALT Showplace.
Mary Elizabeth Randale Drummond (1839–1911) portrayed by June Elliot
In a testament to the Civil War’s potential to divide families, Drummond’s father was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, and her husband fought for the Confederacy. Later, Drummond was instrumental in getting a monument erected at the Confederate Cemetery in North Alton.
Lyman Trumbull (1813–1896) portrayed by Kerry Miller
On the day of the Lincoln-Douglas debate in Alton, Lyman Trumbull hosted a reception for Lincoln and visiting delegates at the Franklin House on State Street. Trumbull was a United States Senator from 1855 to 1873 and helped author the 13th Amendment. He lived in Alton at 1105 Henry Street from 1849 to 1863. The gable-roofed brick house still stands at the corner of Henry and Union Streets and is a registered National Historic Landmark.
Mrs. Moses Atwood (Mary) (1804–1871) portrayed by Claudia Herndon
Atwood was a local abolitionist who, along with her husband, helped escaped slaves seek refuge via the Underground Railroad.
Surrey Sharpe (1852–1909) portrayed by Jared Hennings
Sharpe’s early life was filled with violence and misdeeds, but he recognized the power of redemption through good works. He was a politician who ultimately used his political power to help desegregate Alton’s schools.
The Brogie Girls: Eleanor, Flora, and Mary (died 1911) portrayed by Anna Sawyer, Natalie Ellebracht, and Anna Brady
The sisters died in a tragic accident, and their deaths brought the community together in aid of their family.
Thaddeus Hurlbut (1800–1885) portrayed by Michael Cox
Hurlbut is often called the “unsung hero” of the Abolitionist movement. He was a preacher, an editor at the Alton Observer, and a partner with Elijah P. Lovejoy in various abolitionist activities, including the Illinois Anti-Slavery Society. He was with Lovejoy when Lovejoy was shot and guarded the body until help arrived.
Martha “Phebe” Holden Davis (1876–1943) portrayed by Lindy Jorges
Davis was a socialite and humanitarian. She was the daughter of Charles Holden, owner of The Telegraph newspaper, and the wife of Dr. Homer Davis. She served as president of the Alton Women’s Council.
Magdeline Wuerker (1829–1909) portrayed by Amy Miller
Wuerker looked for the good in everyone and loved her family and community. Over her lifetime here she truly saw the people of Alton draw together.
All but Trumbull are buried at Alton City Cemetery.
Many of the actors did research at the Genealogy & Local History Library, where we currently have a display advertising the event. We also have several DVDs of Vintage Voices of past years at the Genealogy & Local History Library. They cannot be checked out, but you can watch them on a computer at the library if you bring your own headphones. Just ask for the year that you want (2004, 2005, or 2006), and the staff will set you up on one of the computers. Call number IR DVD 977.386 VIN