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New Albany lore portrayed in cemetery tour

Jill Smith leads a Legends and Lore tour

About 60 people turned out at the New Albany City Cemetery on a beautiful late summer afternoon to focus their attention on dead people. The 2015 Legends and Lore Cemetery Tour, which highlighted “famous souls” from New Albany’s past, was presented on Saturday, September 19, as part of the celebration of Faulkner Month in New Albany. The popular tour was presented by the Tallahatchie River Players in partnership with the Union County Heritage Museum.

Mrs. Frances (Fannie) Mayes, 1887 to 1973, as portrayed by Jean Dillard.

Mrs. Frances (Fannie) Mayes, 1887 to 1973, as portrayed by Jean Dillard.

The cemetery tour was one of several literary events taking their cues from William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying, and focusing on Southerners’ customs, beliefs and practices relating to death. Participants were given “up close and personal” performances by costumed members of the Tallahatchie River Players, who evoked snatches of New Albany’s history by summoning the voices of past citizens–whether famous, infamous or little known–to tell their stories and spin their tales.

Shown in the picture at left is Jean Dillard, portraying Mrs. Frances Bond Mitchell Mayes, whose husband, Dr. Hugh Norbin Mayes (January-11-1878 to January-30-1963) opened the first hospital in Union County. The Mayes’ Hospital was later sold to Dr. Robert Shands, and became known as the Shands Hospital.

For information on events still to come in “Faulkner Month,” see : New Albany Faulkner Month

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