By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
One of the ways to learn the history of an area is to tour the cemetery, and Chisholm Trail Coalition will sponsor its Tombstone Tales tour for the third year in October.
Tickets go on sale Aug. 19 at Soapweeds and Cactus and Enid Cemetery on West Willow. No reservations will be allowed, and tickets must be obtained in person, said Errol Wofford, of the coalition. Enid Cemetery is the city’s oldest cemetery and contains a number of historically important tombstones.
The tours will be Oct. 18-19 after dark, as a horse-drawn wagon winds its way through the cemetery. At some historically important tombstones, the wagon will stop and a light focused on the tombstone. At that point a history re-enactor will walk from behind the tombstone and tell the story of the person buried there.
“We emphasize this isn’t a scary ride. It’s a historical ride,” Wofford said.
There are 10 re-enactors who will portray historical figures in Enid. Those figures include a Congressional Medal of Honor winner and a woman who was kidnapped by Cheyenne Indians at the age of 16. She was held briefly and then freed, Wofford said. The tour also visits the empty grave of a World War II soldier who was killed and his body never found. The tombstone of the man who opened the first saloon on the Enid Square also is in the cemetery, he said.
Wofford — in his Cactus Jack character — will ride in one of the wagons and act as tour guide. There are two wagons that will tour the cemetery at different times during the evenings. Tickets are $15 each, and funds raised will cover the cost of the evening and the work of the Chisholm Trail Coalition.
“We’re trying to accumulate enough money to purchase an old-time 40-passenger trolley,” Wofford said.
Historical walking tours in downtown Enid also are part of the coalition’s historical emphasis on the Chisholm Trail and Enid. The walking tours are held the third Saturday of each month from April through September.
A tour bus containing a group of youths from New York City recently visited Enid, Wofford said. The youths were fascinated about Oklahoma, the development of Enid and its history, and especially the amount of space available, Wofford said.
The goal of Chisholm Trail Coalition, a nonprofit organization, is to preserve the history of the Chisholm Trail and Enid. The group, which is seven years old, promotes tourism in Enid and works with Visit Enid. Wofford said they have written some historical information that is distributed to visitors by Visit Enid at the visitor’s center.
Wofford has acted as guide on some windshield tours of the city. The re-enactors are volunteers and are not paid, and Wofford said they are always looking for volunteers to act as re-enactors.