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PCGS hosts Living History Tour on Oct. 29


The Polk County Genealogical Society (PCGS) will be presenting their Living History Tour at Greenwood Cemetery at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Tours will begin every half hour. Admission will be free, but the group will accept donations to benefit the upkeep of the Polk County Genealogical Society Research Facility.

Presenters will share the unique histories of five local residents who are buried at Greenwood Cemetery. The tour will feature a mixed bag of feel good stories and cryptic, troubling accounts, featuring the following individuals:
● Presenter Billy Marshall will describe the life of Mrs. Eliza Jackson. Having had a difficult life, Jackson received a phone call from her son while he was at the bottom of the ocean, and it was suddenly interrupted.
● Presenter Sue Entlicher will tell the story of Ms. Julina Porter. While Porter was a quiet lady, she left a lasting legacy in Bolivar, running for city treasurer under the “Posy Platform.”
● Presenter Leta Gass will share about the double life of a former college professor and school superintendent. Born as Edwin Graham, he became a Civil War captain, enlisting as David Dickson. With two wives (and two lives), Graham/Dickson became a mysterious man with secrets that are still yet to be uncovered.
● Presenter Betty Doyle will discuss J.J. Bentley, a well-known figure in the Methodist church across the state who had ties to Thomas Hart Benton Dunnegan.
● Presenter Dusty Ross will give information about bookkeeper Vernon Woodruff, the founder of his farm’s Gypsy Gardens.

PCGS held their first Living History Tour in 2005. This year will be the first year since 2014 that the event will be hosted.

In order to make the tours possible, PCGS enlists the help of volunteers in the community who have an interest in history and have excellent speaking skills to serve as presenters for the tour. Getting into character, some presenters will even wear a costume to give a thorough representation of their person.

“People having been asking us, ‘Are you going to do another one? Are you going to do another one?” said Leta Gass, PCGS member.

Throughout the years, Gass has volunteered to participate in every tour that PCGS has hosted so far. As an experienced researcher, she has been gathering information about the complicated life of her designated person for the past couple weeks.

“It’s been my priority for a little over a week,” Gass said. “It’s interesting. It’s fun.”

PCGS director-at-large Betty Doyle has also signed up as a presenter for a number of the previous tours, saying that the last tour they had hosted back in 2014 at the Bolivar Cit Cemetery had a good turnout.

While the PCGS does not plan on hosting yearly tours, they do plan to continue having them “every now and then” in the years to come.

The Polk County Genealogical Society is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The PCGS facility will be closed on Saturday, Oct. 29 in order to host the Living History Tour at Greenwood Cemetery, located at 411 S Dunnegan Ave.

For more information about PCGS, call 417-777-2820 or visit