What tombstones can tell us

Every cemetery in its expanse of tombstones has stories within. Come learn the history of Rochelle residents and hear some fascinating cemetery history during the Lawnridge Cemetery Walking Tour this Sunday, May 20 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Flagg Township Museum, Sally Sawicki will walk with guests, sharing a bit of information spanning back to the 1800s.

There is also history in the mid twentieth century that many from the Rochelle area might know of.

Sawicki gave some subtle hints on the day’s topics, which include stories of a human guinea pig, a gypsy, the grave robbery, and several influential individuals that helped to build the old Lincoln Hospital formerly on Woolf Court.

The walk also highlights the individuals behind the oldest business in Rochelle still operating in the same family, now in its sixth generation.

Sawicki said museum researcher Mary Erdman helped point her in the right direction, digging out pictures and information when needed.

“I’ve discovered the people I read about every day are buried there,” Erdman said after her findings for the cemetery walk. “We had a grave robbery…that was interesting.”

Sawicki has put in over 100 hours of research and also credits Tiffany Sanders with many hours of assistance as well. Sawicki explained how got the idea for the walk several years ago.

“I’m a member of a museum in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin where they’ve done these cemetery walks. I brought up the idea to the folks at the Flagg Township Museum,” Sawicki said. “Tiffany did the writing…she scripted it, by and large is the author, I just did the research. She helped to put in the little bridges of history to help the walk flow nicely.”

The public is encouraged to attend the cemetery walk to hear about early pioneers and other residents of the cemetery. There is a $10 charge.

The tour is free for guests who purchase an individual annual museum membership for $20 on the day of the walk.

Meet at Lawnridge Cemetery, northeast corner. For more information, contact the museum at 815-562-3040.

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