In our cemetery, there is a lady with the unusual name of Mourning Emma Lear. We know very little about Mrs. Lear, but we have borrowed her name to present “Mourning Emma,” who will tell us about mourning practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
In our cemetery, there is a lady with the unusual name of Mourning Emma Lear. We know very little about Mrs. Lear, but we have borrowed her name to present “Mourning Emma,” who will tell us about mourning practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Courtesy of John Glaze
Highland County Historical Society


The Highland County Historical Society is presenting the 2021 Ghost Walk on Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. This annual event presents the “Ghosts” of local notables who are buried in Hillsboro Cemetery. This year, we will be having visits from six individuals.

In our cemetery, there is a lady with the unusual name of Mourning Emma Lear. We know very little about Mrs. Lear, but we have borrowed her name to present “Mourning Emma,” who will tell us about mourning practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Granville Barrere was one of those men who changed horses in the middle of the stream. Most folks around here knew him as publisher and editor of the News-Herald. Small in stature, this local boy never shied away from his sharing of editorials which speared directly at local issues.

Already having lived his early years in his home country of France, the Rev. Emile Grand-Girard immigrated here with his family. He proved to be a force in our community as a Presbyterian pastor to the large French population around Mowrystown. But there was more to his life than preaching. You’ll have to come to the event to learn about that! George Beecher was of the well-known Beechers about whom books have been written. His Aunt Harriett wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. George and his wife, “Nannie,” built “Greystone” mansion and were well-known both in local society as well as St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Anna Catherine Newby, or “Kitty” as she was called, was the wife of Judge Cyrus Newby who was a prominent common pleas judge here. When he retired, he was thought to be the oldest judge in the state. At that time, he had served 27 years and returned to his law practice. Sarah Ella Ayres, more well known as “Byrde,” was a bookkeeper for a number of Hillsboro companies prior to going to Washington DC during World War 1 where she put her talents as a photographer to use for the government. This put her on the path of becoming a professional photographer.

Again this year we will let the Ghosts do the walking (after all, they have not had much exercise since they made their homes in Hillsboro Cemetery). Attendees should bring a lawn chair, wear a mask and socially distance themselves around the stage beside the Chapel in the cemetery. The presentation begins at 6 p.m. and will last about an hour.

There is no charge for the event, but donations to the historical society will gratefully be accepted. We ask those for whom walking is not a problem to park a little farther from the chapel to save room for those who may need closer parking due to mobility issues.