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Published: Thursday, 8/25/2005

Bowling Green: Cemetery tales told as living history

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

There are nearly 9,000 stories tucked away inside Bowling Green's Oak Grove Cemetery.

Ten of them will be told on Sunday during the second Oak Grove Living History Day sponsored by the Wood County Genealogical Society.

"The purpose of it is to publicize the history of Bowling Green and publicize Oak Grove Cemetery and to help people appreciate the heritage of our community," said Dorsey Sergent, a member of the committee that first put the event together last summer.

Mr. Sergent will portray William Jordan, one of 10 notable Bowling Green residents who will tell their stories on Sunday. This year's featured guests include Nellie Repass, a former matron at the Wood County Children's Home, and Joseph Lincoln, a physician and pharmacist during the 1800s.

"William Jordan was a retired professor in the college of education who became well known during his retirement as a speaker," explained Mr. Sergent.

Mr. Jordan gave more than 100 lectures on - what else - the joys of retirement.

"He played piano, hooked rugs, took up watercolor painting, traveled. He just really enjoyed life," Mr. Sergent said. "He wrote a song called, "Happy Birthday America" that was sung at the bicentennial celebration in Bowling Green."

Whenever possible, the Oak Grove committee lined up descendants of the deceased to play their relative's part.

"They do it in the first person and we try to limit it to four min-utes," Mr. Sergent said. "We keep the genealogy out of it because if you get into too much of that, pretty soon people's eyes glaze over."

Kelli Kling, special events coordinator for the Wood County Historical Center, said the historical society got involved for the first time this year because organizers would like to eventually expand the program to include "residents" of other Wood County cemeteries. Oak Grove, which is on the BGSU campus, is owned by the city and is the only cemetery within Bowling Green's city limits.

Ms. Kling said the historical society worked with the genealogical society to put together panels depicting the Bowling Green residents featured last year and this year. The exhibit, which was on display during the Wood County fair, is hanging outside the commissioners' offices on the fifth floor of the County Office Building.

Contact Jennifer Feehan

at jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.



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