The dead tell their tales at the Glenwood Cemetery 

Volunteers will present ‘Scandals and Tales of Woe’

‘Scandals and Tales of Woe from the Glenwood Cemetery’

Park City Museum volunteers will bring those buried in the Glenwood Cemetery back to life to talk of historic “Scandals and Tales of Woe” on Oct. 7.
Courtesy of the Park City Museum

Some of Park City’s tragic past will rise again during the 2023 Historic Glenwood Cemetery Events with Ghosts, hosted by the Park City Museum on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Two outings are scheduled for 10:45 a.m. to noon and 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the cemetery, located at the end of Silver King Drive near the intersection of Three Kings Drive, said Diane Knispel, Park City Museum education director.

“The theme this year is ‘Scandals and Tales of Woe from the Glenwood Cemetery,'” she said. “And what constituted as a scandal instigated by a couple of members of a family turned out to be a tale of woe for the rest of the family.”

The historic figures this year include Emma Jennings, Lewis Henry Paradise, Wille and William Jefford, Robert Bennie and Samuel Simmons, and some of the scandals include a custody battle, a corrupt sheriff and a woman who died in a sanatorium, according to Knispel.

His girlfriend was shot and killed right in front of him, and he never recovered from that.” Diane Knispel, Park City Museum education director

“Willie Jefford was the son who died young, and his father, William Jefford, was a sheriff during prohibition,” she said. “William forced all the bars to pay him money in order for him to tell them when raids were coming. He was charged and found guilty.”

The custody battle involved Emma Jennings’ family, Knispel said. 

“It was her grandson who Emma was trying to hold on to,” she said. “But in the end, the grandson ended up going with the step-mother.”

Samuel Simmons and his wife is an example of a tale of woe, Knispel said.

“His wife got ill and was put in a sanitorium,” she said. “She ended up dying young from a disease, which, if diagnosed early, could have been treated.”

The case of Robert Bennie was different from the usual scandal, Knispel said.

“He got up one day and abandoned his family, but left them an inheritance that they didn’t find out until years later,” she said. “This was a surprise for not only the family, but to the whole community.”

The tale of Lewis Henry Paradise has been told before, and Knispel decided to bring it back.

“His girlfriend was shot and killed right in front of him, and he never recovered from that,” she said. 

The lives back then were not easy, and that’s why the Park City Museum recommends the tours for ages 10 and older.

“There are some disturbing things that have happened to these people, so we don’t want to frighten younger kids,” she said. “We do know that parents know their kids better than we do. So we ultimately leave it up to parents to decide if their kids can come.”

Knispel also asks attendees to leave their dogs at home. 

Each tour can facilitate between 115 to 120 people, and attendees will be divided into smaller groups, Knispel said.

“We have seven graves this year, and we will have docents lead these groups to each grave to hear the stories,” she said.

Getting the stories for the tours is also an enjoyable part of creating the events, Knispel said.

“We have a committee that does the research about people who are buried at the Glenwood, and if we find enough information, we will write a script,” she said. 

A lot of information comes from The Park Record, according to Knispel.

“That’s the first place we’ll look,” she said. “Then we’ll go through other old newspapers.”

Once the stories are created, the committee will fact check to make sure everything is correct, Knispel said.

“We do that, because there are families who are thrilled that their ancestors are being featured in the tours,” she said. “It would be embarrassing if we got something wrong.”

The “Scandals and Tales of Woe from the Glenwood Cemetery” event on Oct. 7 will raise funds for the historic cemetery’s upkeep.
Park Record file photo by Tanzi Propst

Once the scripts are finished and fact checked, Park City Museum volunteers will memorize the information and create little scenes that bring the characters back to life, Knispel said.

“We are continually writing scripts,” she said. “And when we come up with a theme, we go through them and find the stories that fit.”

Sometimes the committee will write new scripts, as needed, according to Knispel.

“We have about 60 scripts that have been fact checked,” she said. “We keep these scripts in a folder, because we have had descendents of the people we have spotlighted ask for genealogy and other information.”

Sometimes families of those who are buried in the Glenwood will provide the museum with information, Knispel said.

“When that happens, we’ll use that information as a jumping-off platform to write new scripts,” she said.

The Historic Glenwood Cemetery tours, which cost $20 per person, also serve as fundraisers to help the Park City Historical Society maintain the cemetery, Knispel said.

“This year, we are also introducing our Sponsor a Grave initiative,” she said. “People can sign up and contribute different amounts for the grave or graves of their choice.”

Each level of sponsorship includes perks, and the levels are as follows:

  • Bronze: This $150 level includes an annual membership to Park City Museum.
  • Silver: This $500 level includes museum and Museum Guild membership and grave site signage. 
  • Gold: This $1,000 level includes museum and Museum Guild membership, grave site signage and a private tour of the Glenwood Cemetery at their convenience.

“We are very excited for this new program, and we are excited to host the Historic Glenwood Cemetery tour events this year,” Knispel said.


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