Community plans Halloween night events for adults

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Halloween in Chilton County has long focused on free candy and activities for children, but this year two community groups have planned free events geared for adults.

The Chilton County Chamber of Commerce will host “A Stroll Through History,” a heritage tour of the historic cemetery off of Lay Dam Road.

Tours will be led in small groups to the final resting place of important and interesting people connected to Chilton County. Tours will be available from 5-7 p.m., starting on the side of the cemetery near the S.P.A.N. program building.

Chamber director Francine Wasden said the tours will be given in groups of six or seven and have staggered start times.

“We thought it would be a great time that people were already going to be downtown (for Trick or Treat the Streets) to add something to this event that the parents could do,” Wasden said.

At each site, a brief presentation by a member of the Chilton County High School Drama Club will tell about the person’s life.

“We are not trying to be eerie or spooky with this tour,” organizer and Chamber board member Billy Singleton said. “It is strictly a history, heritage tour, and we are going to do that in a very respectful manner.”

The cemetery was established in 1870 or 1871 from land donated by Alfred Baker.

“There are a lot of former city leaders and notable individuals buried there that have had a lot of influence,” Singleton said. “We have also included just some unique stuff.”

Some of the individuals to be highlighted include county founder Alfred Baker Sr., one of the first Chilton County Commissioners Reubin Popwell, professional baseball player and Chilton County High School graduate Minter Carney Hayes and First Lady of Alabama Mary Joe Patterson.

“Jack Hayes is one of my absolute favorites, because he was a professional baseball player with the Chicago White Sox,” Singleton said. “He played against Lou Gehrig.”

He served as tax collector for Chilton county for a decade.

Later in life, Hayes lost his sight and used a guide dog. This dog, Abano, is buried at the foot of Hayes’ grave.

Singleton advised that the walk will be a quarter to half a mile, and attendees should dress comfortably and wear comfortable shoes.

Since there are several notable and interesting stories that will not be told at “A Stroll Through History,” the Chamber is considering offering the event again, highlighting different people, if this one is well attended.

“I was just amazed at the people that are buried there and the stories behind them, and I think that is what is going to interest so many people … It’s going to spark some interest in wanting to learn more,” Wasden said.

Singleton said because of the age of the cemetery some of the graves do not have markers. At least 30 of the graves are soldiers during the Civil War, but are not marked.

The Chamber is still accepting vendors for Trick or Treat the Streets. For more information, call (205) 755-2400.

The Chilton/ Clanton Public Library will host “Ghosts and Treasures of Antebellum Alabama” with historian Jim Phillips from 7-8 p.m. The talk will highlight the “spookier side of Alabama history” and is designed for adults, according to the library’s website.