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.”

 

Drums Across Kansas

Six Drum and Bugle Corps teams from across the country performed before a crowd of fans and judges in the seasonal contest held annually, known as Drums Across Kansas.  Drums Across Kansas presents the Drum Corp International Tour (DCI) each year, and this is the fourth year for it to be held in El Dorado at BG Veterans Stadium.

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EDCF Color Guard presented the colors prior to the start of the competition.

Percussion, color guard, and marching, as well as the general effect of design and musicality are scored by the judges, according to Anthony DiCarlo, DCI tour manager. The world championship will be in Indianapolis, in August. Santa Clara Vanguard is the current reigning champion. 

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Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps are the reigning champions and placed second at Drums Across Kansas.

The other teams are the Mandarins from Sacramento, California; the Crossmen from San Antonia, Texas; the Blue Knights from Denver, Colorado; The Cadets from Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Santa Clara Vanguard from Santa Clara, California; and the Blue Devils from Concord, California.

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Drum Corps International Tour Manager, Anthony DiCarlo, with Miss Teen El Dorado Naomi Galindo and Miss Teen Frontier Brooklyn Terrones. 

Blue Devils took first place with a score of 88.400, Santa Clara Vanguard was a close second with 88.350 points, and Blue Knights rounded out the top three with 83.300 points. 

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Drum and Bugle Corps members, like the Crossmen, pictured here, were dressed in costumes that added to their performances.

Drum Corp International was formed in 1971 to organize and unify leadership for youth-focused competitive drum corps events throughout North America. 

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Drums Across Kansas is made possible in part to due to the hard work of volunteers.  Pictured here is City Clerk, Tabitha Sharp (in orange) and Butler Mission Week volunteers.