A step back in time

Oak Grove Cemetery walking tour highlights important area figures

Attendees of the Oak Grove Cemetery tour listen to guide Susan Lund-Coyle, who is standing next to the Filer monument. Carrie Paine, who was married to Delos W. Filer, is buried there as well, however the statue is not of her but the Symbol of Hope. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

Attendees of the Oak Grove Cemetery tour listen to guide Susan Lund-Coyle, who is standing next to the Filer monument. Carrie Paine, who was married to Delos W. Filer, is buried there as well, however the statue is not of her but the Symbol of Hope. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Even in death, the stories involving important figures to the city and county of Manistee live on.

Susan Lund-Coyle narrated a cemetery walk on Saturday at Oak Grove Cemetery for about 11 people, stopping at various graves and family plots to talk about their history.

“What we do is go around and introduce our attendees to some of the people who were the movers and shakers in Manistee in times past,” Lund-Coyle said. “We try and find some stories to tell.”

The tour features between eight and 10 stops, including at the Smith Fowler, Edward Buckley and Jane Kanouse mausoleums.

“We talk about Delos Filer and Carrie Paine; so there are some monuments … we talk about them because they’re noticeable,” she said. “We have a woman’s temperance union leader, an international opera star, a couple of ghosts, a very outrageous Civil War veteran, and TJ Ramsdell, who built the Ramsdell Theatre. So we have a variety of people.”

Delos Filer, born in 1843 in New York, joined his father, Delos L. Filer, and brother, E. Golden Filer, to work in the mill and store of the E. and J. Canfield Lumber Company.

He later married Carrie Paine in 1867 and died at his home on Oct. 3, 1899.

Tour guide Susan Lund-Coyle talked about the child's monument for Norma Wyman, who lived from 1898 to 1899. The monument depicts a pair of child's shoes and socks set on a chair, which was done so after a poem entitled "The Empty Chair," which is about the death of a child. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

Tour guide Susan Lund-Coyle talked about the child’s monument for Norma Wyman, who lived from 1898 to 1899. The monument depicts a pair of child’s shoes and socks set on a chair, which was done so after a poem entitled “The Empty Chair,” which is about the death of a child. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

Paine, who died in 1909, was also buried at the cemetery but a statue at her gravesite is not of her but a Symbol of Hope.

Another stop on the tour was of Norman Wyman, who lived from 1898 to 1899; a child’s monument depicts a pair of children’s shoes and socks set on a chair, done so after a poem entitled “The Empty Chair.”

“I think people are interested in history. People want to know who formed Manistee and helped develop Manistee into the community that it became,” Lund-Coyle said.

Bob Daniels, of Manistee, attended the tour because he said he is a self-admitted history buff with “very deep roots” in the city.

“I learned something at every grave we stopped at,” Daniels said. “I didn’t know several of them at all but I certainly learned things about some of the lumber barons and certainly the stories about (Edward) Buckley, I knew nothing about.”

Gretchen Stuckum, of Manistee, attended the walk after attending the River Street building tour in the summer with Mark Fedder, director of the Manistee County Historical Museum.

“This is a continuation of learning more about Manistee,” Stuckum said.

Before the walk, she knew mostly just the names of people on the tour.

“(I learned) the times don’t really change; people did back then what happens today,” Stuckum said.

She said younger generations should be taking the tour.

“There’re people here; they might be dead but they’re still people,” she said. “They have history and families.”

Additional walks take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the cemetery, located off of Veterans Oak Grove Drive in Manistee. Attendees can show up to the walk; no RSVP is necessary.

There is a donation to attend the walk; money collected is split equally between the Manistee County Historical Museum and the Oak Grove Cemetery flower fund.

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Posted by Sean Bradley

Sean is the city and cops and courts reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the entertainment and Reasons to Celebrate pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3109 or sbradley@pioneergroup.com.

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