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By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
There’s a witch, a roller skater, and seven brothers with the last name Morse. No, this isn’t some sort of overly complicated bar joke; it’s just a few of the people buried in Vine Lake Cemetery. On Saturday, June 18, visitors had the chance to hear stories about everything from the individuals buried in the cemetery to the creator of the grave markers to the descendants of those buried there during a group tour led by Rob Gregg.
Gregg, who also serves as the President of the Vine Lake Cemetery Preservation Trust, observed that his favorite part of the tour is telling people little known anecdotes “they wouldn’t know unless you were here.” New discoveries over the last few years have given Gregg the opportunity to share new stories. He cited that he had not known until recently that James Plimpton, the inventor of roller skates, was buried in the cemetery. “That one was interesting,” he remarked.
As one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, many of the stories Gregg tells start out as mysteries. During the tour, Gregg recounted the urban legend of the Langley witch. People reported seeing a witch going into the Langley tomb, which was thought to have been empty. After careful research, Gregg discovered that the alleged witch was actually related to the individuals buried in the tomb.
Some people came on the tour in hopes of solving one more piece of their genealogical puzzle. The Morse Monument, one of the largest markers in the cemetery, commemorates seven brothers who came to America during the 1600s. Since its creation, the Morse Monument has attracted the descendants of the seven brothers from across the county. Frequent visitor Mark Bulen has come to Vine Lake several times after finding out that many of his ancestors are buried here. “I found another relative!” he exclaimed when asked what his favorite part of the tour was.
In addition to the many stories about the people involved in the cemetery, Gregg briefly discussed the artistic aspects of the gravestones, the historical events that have left their marks on the cemetery, and the different landscapes of the cemetery. Most importantly, Gregg expressed the importance of preserving the grave markers for future generations. People who are interested in taking a tour of Vine Lake should keep an eye out in July, when Gregg expects he will give another group tour.