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Community Events

Echoes From Our Past - Historic Cemetery Walk

Type of Event: EDUCATION

Date: September 22, 2013
Location: North Side Cemetery - 1002 N. Main Street, Butler, PA
Time: 11:00AM-1:00PM

Echoes From Our Past Historic Cemetery Walk brings history to life through costumed actors assuming the intriguing characters of Butler County’s ancestors in the midst of the beautiful grounds of the North Side Cemetery. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy these beautiful grounds and learn about the people who contributed to the area’s rich and unique history. Be sure to wear your walking shoes and bring your family to participate in this new, fascinating outdoor theater program.

A collaboration between the Butler County Historical Society, Butler Little Theater, and North Side Cemetery Association.


Emily M. Brittain (1858-1945) Portrayed by Katie Wayne

She was born in Butler, attended the First United Presbyterian Church and was educated in Butler’s old stone Academy. In 1876 she became a teacher at the Jefferson Street School and continued in that position to 1888. She then became principal of the Jefferson Street School through the spring of 1922. A tablet was erected in the Jefferson Street School in 1935 in honor of Miss Brittain, stating “Erected in loving recognition by the Teachers she inspired, the Pupils she guided, and the Community she served.

Adjt. Alfred G. Reed (1839-1862) Played by Terry Thompson, Jr.

Alfred attended the Witherspoon Institute, read law under John Purviance and was about to be admitted to the Bar when the Civil War broke out. His father, Major Reed also served in the Civil War. He served in Co H, 13th PA, then the 78th – a 3 year regiment, then the 134th PA – a 9 month enlistment. Mortally wounded at Marye’s Heights, his body was brought back to Butler for burial. The largest and most prominent GAR post in Butler County was named after him.

Mrs. John (Mary) McPherrin (1765-1823) Played by Maggie Cahill

The daughter of John Stevenson of Washington County, Mary met and married Reverend John McPherrin. She and John were the parents of nine children. Their daughter Amelia married Walter Lowrie of Butler. John was one of the founders of Presbyterianism in Western Pennsylvania and the pioneer minister of the denomination in Butler.

Mrs. Walter (Amelia McPherrin) Lowrie (1788-1832) Played by Bonnie Cahill

Amelia married Walter Lowrie in 1808. Walter became Butler County’s only United States Senator and served from 1818 to 1824. In 1825 the Senate created the position of secretary and elected him to that office which he held for 12 years. Walter, Amelia and their 8 children lived in Washington DC in the winter and at 123 West Diamond Street in the summer. Amelia fell ill and died in 1832, at the age of 44. She was buried in Butler Borough’s first cemetery.

Dr. Carl A. Limberg (1824-1900) Portrayed by Ron Lockwood

Immigrated to the United States at the age of 34 with his 6 and 7 yr. old sons. He settled in Clearfield County for several years where he married Susannah. They came to Butler County in 1864 and shortly thereafter he became the first superintendent of St. Paul’s Reformed Church Orphans’ Home. Thirty acres were purchased from Christian Seibert and in November, 1867, three soldiers’ orphans were admitted. Within two years there were thirty-seven children admitted to the orphanage.

Mrs. Susannah Limberg (1837-1922) Played by Margie Bankert

Susannah was born and raised in Clearfield County. She was the mother of two step sons and 8 children of her own. She and her husband served the first two years at St. Paul’s Orphanage as superintendent and matron without salary to help establish the home. The third year Mr. Limberg was paid $275.00 salary. By the end of 1871 the Limbergs were no longer in charge of the Orphanage. The Limbergs did not live in the Orphange and raised their family in a house on E. Brady Street.

George A. Spang (1868-1935) Portrayed by Dr. Dan McCarty, D.C.

The death of his father in 1885 caused him to be burdened with his own support at an early age. He worked hard at various jobs and by 1894, without a dollar to his name, he opened his own business by depending on his own skill. An inventor and industrialist, by 1901 he had formed the Spang Company manufacturing oil well supplies and specialty oil well packing. He overcame many handicaps in his early manhood to become one of Butler’s most respected citizens.

Jacob Clinton Atwell, MD (1874-1936) Played by Stefan Lingenfelter

Born in Marion Township, the son of David and Nancy Daubenspeck Atwell, Dr. Atwell attended one room schools in Marion Township. He then attended the West Sunbury Academy, the Slippery Rock State Normal Schooll, graduating in 1898 from the Medico-Chirurgical College. He then returned to Butler and entered into a general practice. He also had interests in oil production. Married to Miss Mollie Jennings, the couple had two children, Bess and Marion. A member of the United Presbyterian Church, the Odd Fellows, the Elks, and the Butler Country Club.

Mr. Joseph Colestock (1856-1929) Portrayed by Bob Meals

Joseph was born and spent his early life in Fayette County. He came to Petrolia in 1866, then went to McKean County to take part in wildcatting for oil. By 1888 he was working in Butler’s oil fields. He was a member of the J J. Sheridan and Co. firm in Mars. He also held an interest in the Mars National Bank. Joseph was a member of the Second United Presbyterian Church in Butler and built a house on North Main Street that was recently moved to N. McKean Street.

History of the North Side Cemetery (1825 to the present) Presented by John Walchesky

The Graham family sold land to the Butler Cemetery Association in 1850 for the new community cemetery, but the deed was not made until 1856. By 1887 the name was changed to the North Side Cemetery and the organization was chartered that year with Squire Robert Carnahan as the first Superintendent. Boyd Hill was the first interment but the location of his grave is unknown.

2013 Performance Dates:

Saturday,September 28, 2013.

Tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours

Tour Times:

11:00 a.m. on Saturday

2:00 p.m. on Saturday


Arrive at the Butler Little Theater, Howard Street, one half hour before tour time. Shuttle buses will take participants to the cemetery. No other vehicles will be permitted on the grounds for participants of this event.

Tour will take place at North Side Cemetery, 1002 N Main Street Butler, PA 16001


A limited number of tickets are available and sales end on Wednesday, September 25, 2013. No tickets will be available the day of the event.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the Butler County Historical Society Office in the Senator Walter Lowrie House, 123 W. Diamond Street, Butler.

$15.00 general public
$12.00 society members
$12.00 BLT season ticket holders

Website: www.butlerhistory.com

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