A walk among the tombstones: Grand Forks tour guide teaches history, one grave a…


There was the slave who moved to Grand Forks and died free within the late 1800s; the namesake of Walsh County; and the Civil Struggle veteran, born in 1843, who got here to Grand Forks in 1878, operated a billiards saloon, and have become the daddy of eleven youngsters.

Altepeter calls herself the cemetery’s “unofficial historian,” chasing a love for graveyard historical past she found when, in recent times, she explored her circle of relatives’s historical past in graveyards round Minnesota. Saturday’s tour, attended by a small handful of individuals, was the primary such tour she provided to the general public, cheerfully shifting from tombstone to tombstone and carrying notes on a clipboard adorned with a moonlit graveyard.

Her very first cease was on the foot of Steven Parkhurst’s grave. Parkhurst, who lived with a lady he hadn’t married, was charged with “cohabitation” within the Eighteen Eighties, Altepeter stated, and needed to submit a $1,000 bond earlier than a trial that noticed his personal son testify towards him. He died in 1897, and the lady he lived with—buried by his aspect and ultimately his second spouse—was buried with no marker.

Altepeter stated she provided the tour in hope that friends will donate to assist hold the cemetery nicely-maintained. Although she says cemetery administration does what it may possibly, it has to maintain tempo with a broad space in addition to are likely to—she pauses as she searches for the phrase—”present burials.”

“The cemetery does not personal the granite. Individuals personal these plots. Individuals are presupposed to care for issues, however then they die away and there is no individuals,” she stated. “(Administration) spend a variety of time mowing, and there is solely a lot time to do additional tasks.”

The tour, which lasted about an hour, introduced Grand Forks resident Tom Barta out to tag alongside. He is no historical past buff, he says, however he adopted the tour with a pen and a pad, enthusiastically taking notes.

“These are those that acquired us right here and the way issues all began,” he stated.



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