Belle Vista Cemetery Tours 

A fun and unique alternative to the haunted houses typically reserved for this time of year was hosted by the Butler County Historical Center and Kansas Oil Museum and spearheaded by historical consultant to the museum, Ken Spurgeon. 

Historical Consultant and tour organizer, Ken Spurgeon.

On Saturday, October 26th, cemetery tours at Belle Vista were given.  Complete with tour guides and re-enactors, early citizens of El Dorado and Butler County were brought to life.

General Alfred W. Ellet portrayed by Randy Edens.

General Alfred W. Ellet, brought to life by Randy Edens, shared his military history and how he came to El Dorado.  

Nathan Frazier, brought to life by Tom Penning, tells of his adventures us exploits while tour guest Scott Glaves listens.

Nathan Frazier, whose storyteller was Tom Penning, told of his risk taking spirit and love for adventure that ultimately led him to become a leading banker of El Dorado, and one of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of Kansas 

Matilda Friend was portrayed by Debbie Edens.
Tour guests listen to Matilda Friend’s courageous life story.

Matilda Friend, embodied by Debbie Edens, shared her harrowing story of bravery in the face of a Comanche attack, her survival and migration to El Dorado.  

Mark Mannette, portraying former El Dorado Mayor, Charles Selig.

Charles Selig, brought to life by Mark Mannette, told of his experience of enlisting to fight in the Civil War at 11 years old.  He made his home in El Dorado where he became a leading businessman and served as Mayor form 1907-1909.  

Tour guides Deanna Bonn, Carol Turner, and Suzanne Walenta lead guests through the cemetery giving a brief history about its founding. 

Tour guide, Deanna Bonn, at the grave of Edward and Eugenia Stevenson. Edward killed his wife and then himself in his 67th birthday. He wanted to “give the old town something to talk about.”

They shared local folklore regarding the cemetery’s haunting by a ghost named Too Moons, as well as stories of the famous, and infamous, citizens of Butler County’s early days.   

One of the tour groups at the memorial for Rolla Clymer.

The tours ended at the Belle Vista Mausoleum with stories of influential Butler County residents.  Rolla Clymer, an El Dorado newspaper editor who was called “the Sage of the Flint Hills,” was the President of the Butler County Historical Society from 1959-1976.  

Also buried in the mausoleum is Frank H. Cron, the first President of the Butler County Historical Society.  In his will, Mr. Cron gave an endowment which made possible the establishment of the museum.  

At the time of the writing of his will in 1957, he wanted to provide educational benefits to Butler County citizens in perpetuity and desired to preserve the heritage of Butler County by declaring in his will that “said institution shall be operated and maintained primarily as a museum or gallery devoted to the collection and exhibition of historical objects of particular interest to Butler County, Kansas.”


The Next Chapter Celebrates One Year

The Next Chapter Books & Novelties, located at 2222 W Central Avenue in El Dorado, will celebrate their one-year anniversary June 3-8, 2019.  To help them celebrate, they will have events throughout the week where readers can enjoy more than 30 coffee beverages made with beans from The Spice Merchant, while meeting their favorite writers.  The event is free, open to the public with kid, and family-friendly, activities.

On Tuesday, June 4, Author, Elana A. Mugdan will be on hand at 3:30 P.M.  Ms. Mugdan will host a book signing and Q&A.  She has previously appeared at The Next Chapter with Dragon Speaker. For the store’s anniversary celebration, she will be promoting her second novel, Dragon Child.  Dragon Speaker and Dragon Child are the first two installments in Mugdan’s Young Adult fantasy series, The Shadow War Saga. Both books have been received with widespread acclaim.  Appearing in medieval costume, she will be speaking about her experiences with writing and publishing.

Mugdan is an award-winning author and filmmaker who is currently participating in the Vitaminwater, “No Phone For A Year” Contest, sponsored by The Coca‑Cola Company.  To aide her ambition, of going one year without the use of a smartphone, she has been given a 1996-era cellular telephone, monthly phone plan, and the opportunity to enter into a contract to not use a smartphone for 365 consecutive days.  If she succeeds, she will win $100,000 – most of which will go toward her ongoing book tour, as well as her plans to donate copies of her books to schools and libraries across the country to promote love of reading, fantasy, and imagination.

Mugdan is a New York City native who lives a quiet but eccentric life with her adopted pet snake, Medusa. She brings an authentic air to her book signing events and readings by appearing in full Allentrian costume.

The week long schedule of events include something for everyone:

Monday, June 3 Friday, June 7
10a-12p – Tea Time Literary Society 9a-11a – Author Signing, David P. Wagner
Tuesday, June 4 Saturday, June 8
11a-1p – Author Signing, Ann Fell 9:30a – Story Time with Carol
3p-5p – Author Signing, Marilyn Johnson 10a – Meet Batman the Snake
3p-5p – Author Signing, Elana Mugdan 12p-3p – D&D Adult Gamers Group
Wednesday, June 5 6:30p-9p – Murder Mystery Party
6p-8p – Scrabble Tile Sign Making Class


Learn to Find A Grave at Genealogy Society Meeting

If you are unfamiliar with the genealogy process, or you are just starting out and require more assistance, there is free help available.

The Butler County Genealogical Society, held the third Thursday of each month, September to May, will host this month’s meeting on Thursday, Sept 20, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Kansas Oil Museum.  These meetings are free and open to the public.

The September meeting will discuss how to locate ancestors through the new Find A Grave website, as well as many other websites and resources. This first meeting will probably last less than an hour at the museum; then a hands-on activity is planned.

Attendees will carpool to local cemeteries in El Dorado and do some searching together. How to gather information from the headstones and the cemetery will be discussed.

In October, the topic of discussion will center around organizing your records and research. You will learn how to tame your digital and printed paperwork.

November’s topic centers on discovering ways to track your Civil War ancestor.

Mark your calendars and plan on attending the upcoming Butler County Genealogical Society meetings held at the Kansas Oil museum beginning this Thursday, Sept. 20th, and bring a friend.