A Victorian Funeral

22 Mar


Folks might think it a little strange that I would voluntarily spend a springtime Saturday enjoying a funeral. We drove down to Colorado Springs to watch a Victorian funeral procession, escorted across town by police cars, as it entered Evergreen Cemetery. A hearse and carriages were hitched to draft horses, with antique cars at the end of the parade. Local history experts portrayed General William Palmer’s family and friends 100 years after the fact.

Some special friends of mine, fellow members of Women Writing the West, participated in the enactment. Doris McCraw arrived in a white carriage accompanied by “Buffalo Bill”. Way to go, Doris! Dianne Hartshorn was prim and proper as one of the mourners in a black dress with shoulder cape and short veil. Guests were encouraged to place evergreen fronds on the gravestone, as was done at the original funeral, 100 years ago.

Portions of the crowd later adjourned to the Pioneers Museum for a splendid presentation about Palmer by archivist Leah Davis Witherow. It was a memorable day of honoring Palmer, a pioneer who built railroads and cities in Colorado. My biography of Palmer is scheduled for publication in April. “Legends, Labors, and Loves” from Pikes Peak Library District, which includes my work, is sold out, but is scheduled for another print run next month.

Joyce Lohse, 3/22/09


Posted by on March 22, 2009 in Western history


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4 responses to “A Victorian Funeral

  1. Gwyn Ramsey

    March 23, 2009 at 6:29 am

    What a great weekend and to get the flavor of a 100 year old funeral. That should help keep a writer in tune with their characters. A great experience and to be there with other writer friends. Thanks for sharing the information.

    • joyce4books

      March 25, 2009 at 9:38 am

      It is so exciting to step back in time at an event like this. Thank you for your comments, Gwyn. The Victorian funeral added a whole new dimension to the life and times of the character. I enjoy cemeteries as museums full of stories about pioneers and our ancestors. So glad you enjoyed the photos!

  2. dianne

    May 4, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    what a wonderful story. Thank you so much for attending and sharing your adventure.

    • joyce4books

      May 5, 2009 at 7:59 am

      Hello Dianne — Thank you for the part you played as one of the “mourners” at the funeral. It was a great event! I tried to get into the chapel after the ceremony to say “hello”, but the door was blocked, and I did not need cake!
      Hope to see you at another event in C. Springs sometime. — Joyce


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