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The City Journals

Relive the Past with Tombstone Tales, Coming September 10

Aug 10, 2015 12:00PM ● By Bryan Scott

Attend the third annual Taylorsville Tombstone Tales Thursday, September 10-Saturday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. The event is at the Taylorsville Cemetery, 4575 South Redwood Road. This event is free, but a donation is greatly appreciated.

By Jessica Thompson 

Taylorsville - You were warned to never step foot in a cemetery at night. Now you have the chance. Taylorsville’s third annual Tombstone Tales helps families learn about the past in an interactive and thrilling way. 45 actors tell the stories of Taylorsville pioneers and settlers in a dramatic skit next to each settler’s gravesite.  Connie Taney, historic preservation chairman, said, “Our mission is to preserve, instruct and educate our community in order to make sure that those living in our community today revere their ancestors.” 

Beginning on September 10, audience members will be transported into the past by entering the Taylorsville Cemetery gates by tractor-drawn wagons. The cemetery is lit in an eerie way by hundreds of luminaries and 30 kerosene lanterns hanging from iron poles along the pathways. Guests will be led through the cemetery by lantern-carrying guides to seven gravesites of pioneer families and settlers of Taylorsville. At each gravesite local actors, some of whom are direct descendants of the pioneers, tell their stories next to the graves of the ancestors they are portraying. “The settlers who the actors are portraying are the real deal: they lived and died in our community, raised their families and left legacies for us to follow,” said Taney. 

In an article found in the New York Times, titled “The Stories That Bind Us” by Bruce Feiler, it mentions a study by Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush, where they tested the bonds between families by asked four dozen children 20 questions about their family history. Some of the questions were if they knew where their grandparents grew up or how their parents met. According to the article, the conclusion was “that the more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.” Taking your family to Tombstone Tales can cause this same effect of stronger children and family bonds by having a chance to teach your child the stories of the people who founded the city they live in.  Taney said, “If we don’t instruct our posterity about the past, they will not have a strong family identity as to who they are and where they came from.”  

This event is free and is geared toward families with children ages five and up. Tombstone Tales is a great way to teach your children about the magic and importance of the past. Taney said, “We need to model what we find important to our children. If they see us leading the way to be instructed and educated, they will value that same outcome for their children.”    

If you would like to read the article “The Stories That Bind Us,” visit