Local history came to life this weekend as the Susquehanna County Historical Society hosted a Cemetery Walk at the Montrose Cemetery on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30-31.
The walk featured stops at the gravesites of prominent early settlers. At each stop, tour members listened to stories about early life in Montrose, as told in first person by volunteers portraying those residents.
Joe Borelli, as Capt. Bartlett Hinds, regaled the groups with stories on the establishment of the Hinds Settlement in 1800, which became the borough of Montrose. He spoke of a trip for provisions down the Wyalusing and the return trip where a keg of “liquid treasure” came loose, rolled down the hill and broke. Hinds, along with those accompanying him on the journey, made the most of the predicament, salvaged what they could and made merry that evening.
The tour began at a visit with Emily Blackman, who wrote the History of Susquehanna County in 1873. Stops also included tales from Robert Rose, who once owned all of Silver Lake Township but sold much of his land to settlers to create mills, develop the land and build better roads; businessman Benjamin Sayre, who established a mercantile in 1816; Capt. Hinds’ wife, Agnes Post Hinds, and her sons – Isaac and David Post.
Isaac Post helped build the first log cabin, first frame house and first store and blacksmith shop. He served as the first county treasurer in 1812; a member of the state legislature (1828); and served as the judge in Susquehanna County (1837). David Post was a staunch abolitionist and served as Justice of the Peace for 25 years.
Other stops on the tour included visits with Elder Davis Dimock and his wife, Betsey Jenkins moved to Montrose in 1809, becoming the first pastor in the area. Their daughter, Lydia Dimock Searle and her husband – Leonard Searle, were the proprietors of the Searle Hotel.
Lydia kept diaries and scrapbooks that included newspaper clippings about town events and people.
The Montrose Cemetery is located in what was once the David Post estate. The ground was first used by the Post and other families and enlarged over time.
Betty Smith, director of the Susquehanna County Historical Society, coordinated the event, and provided the narratives for the portrayals.