Rochester Historical Society
Rochester Historical Preservation Society


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January 2010
May 2010
A Whisper in Time   2011

The Rochester Historical Preservation Society will hold its annual "A Whisper in Time" cemetery walk Sunday, September 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Taylor Cemetery, located at 9898 Cascade Rd., Rochester (behind the Sangchris Lake State Park ranger station).  Watch for signs.  There is no admission charge but donations are welcome. 

"A Whisper in Time" will present four local historical figures, who will discuss their lives in the Cascade area during the 1800s.  They are:

SARAH DONNER TORRENCE  (1813 - 1849) -- Sarah is the daughter of George Donner, Jr. and his first wife Susannah Holloway.  Her father was the captain of the ill-fated Donner Party that left Springfield for California in 1846.  Both Sarah and her husband, John, died young leaving five children under 10 years of age.  She will tell how the Cascade community pulled together to raise their chldren.  Sarah will be portrayed by Tobi Thomas Moffett.

JOHN TORRENCE (1811 -1849) -- John will discuss the Torrence family and present an overview of life in the Cascade area.  His nephew, Greenberry Torrence, owned Cascade for nearly 50 years and operated the water mill as late as 1915.  John will be portrayed by Darrell Maxheimer.

HESTER ANN "HETTIE" EVERETT DELAY (1849 -1889) -- Hettie was a young mother who died in child birth and was buried near two of her children.  Shortly after Hettie's death her sister moved in with Hettie's widowed husband in order to care for her sister's five children.  Hettie will be portrayed by Pam Hobbs Coe, a descendant of Hettie.

WILLIAM MILSLAGLE (1840 - 1863) -- William was a Union soldier of the 114th Illinois Infantry.  He will discuss his experience in the Civil War.  He was buried with several family members.  His sister was the first to be buried in Taylor Cemetery and his father was the oldest person buried there.  William will be portrayed by John McDermand.

There will be a special presention by Donald Donner Springer, a descendant of Captain George Donner.  Don will talk about the Donner Party that departed from Springfield for California in 1846.  He will discuss the hardships of the trail and the winter of entrapment that are now legendary. Don's presentation will be at 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.      

For more information:  (217) 622-5824 or

In case of rain there will be one performance at 1:30 p.m. at a shelter near the cemetery.


Cemetary Walk Information

May 2011