After a year-long hiatus the Northfield Historical Society is excited to announce that Cemetery Stories will return to Oaklawn Cemetery October 10. The event will feature seven Northfielders from the past: Anna Mohn, Nellie “MOM” Phillips, Grace Whitter, Ira Sumner, Fredrick Heiberg, Margaret Evans Huntington, and George Huntington. Volunteers will adopt the personas of the seven while telling their stories at respective gravesites.
Tours will run October 10, 4:20–8 p.m. You can reserve your spot by calling the society at 507-645-9268, buying online at northfieldhistory.org, or by stopping by the Scriver Building at 408 Division Street.
“We’re excited to bring back this popular event after taking time to determine how best to infuse it with fresh ideas,” says NHS Executive Director Hayes Scriven.
Here is a taste of what you’ll learn at this year’s Cemetery Stories event:
- Anna Mohn was born in Decorah, Iowa, in 1852. She married Thorbjorn Mohn, who went on to become the first president of St. Olaf College. During the event Anna talk about how the college grew, her memories of the failed 1876 raid by the James-Younger Gang, and about how her family started the Mohn Printing Company.
- Nellie “MOM” Phillips was born October 18, 1887. She grew up in Northfield and graduated from Carleton. She is most well known for her Northfield News column “To our boys in the Service.” She always claimed she had more than 300 children — the men and women she wrote to during the war. Many would write her and she would answer and sign the letter “MOM.”
- Ira Sumner was born June 24, 1845. One of Northfield’s earliest photographers, he was best known for taking pictures of the dead robbers after the failed 1876 bank raid. In 1866 he moved to Northfield from Red Wing and worked with Z. Roberts, Northfield’s first photographer. Roberts taught Sumner about large-format cameras and lighting. Sumner acquired Roberts’ business in 1872.