Sarah Mooney Museum takes a historic look at "Legends" at annual Cemetery Walk

By Bill Black
Many volunteers associated with the Sarah Mooney Museum participated in its annual Legends of Lemoore 2021 Cemetery Walk.
Many volunteers associated with the Sarah Mooney Museum participated in its annual Legends of Lemoore 2021 Cemetery Walk.
Contributed by Bill Black

The Sarah A. Mooney Museum, "Legends of Lemoore" 2021 Cemetery Walk, was held Saturday, September 25, at the local Lemoore District Cemetery. The annual event has inspired local performers to take on the roles and living histories of many of Lemoore's local legends.

The performers on hand this year included members of the talented Kings Players of Kings County. Accomplished Director Louella Morland skillfully managed the presentations from the script to the final performance.

This year, stars of Broadway, Vaudeville, and silent films: Genevieve, and Eloise Reed, played by the equally enthusiastic and talented Debra Garske and Kim Spicer. After 15 years of fame and renowned recognition, the twins made their home in Lemoore for over 50 years. During their acting years, the twins had trouped with many famous actors of the time, including Flo Ziegfeld, Eddie Foy, and Montgomery and Stone. In later years they confessed that they loved their time on the stage but also treasured the peaceful life in the small community of Lemoore.

This year, a special treat was the addition of Jonathon Lee, who admirably took on the historical role of his grandfather, Fook Loy Lee. According to Museum members, this is the first time an ancestor has taken on the role of one of his ancestors. Jonathan took us from the time Fook Loy Lee was born in Hawaii, arrived in Lake County in 1914, married his lifelong soulmate, and finally when he became an honored member of our community. We learned that Fook Loy served in WWI, cared deeply about the values of equality, and was dedicated to service above self. The Lee families' contributions - then and now - will be forever woven into the strong fabric of the Lemoore culture.

 Stephan DesJardins skillfully shared that both John Brother's parents were teachers who brought their four-year-old son to Lake County in 1884. Their dedication to teaching instilled in Brothers a lifelong commitment to public education. Having finished his high school years in Fresno, he realized the value of providing local children with a sound secondary educational background.

 Brothers served on the Lemoore Union High School Board for 15 years. He was also elected to the Lemoore City Council when the city's first sewer system was installed. Brothers was superintendent of the vast Italian Swiss Colony Wine operation in Lemoore and Stratford on his business side. He was an inspiring community leader, always known as a person who got things done.

 Volunteer Mike Spicer expertly detailed John McGlashan's life and contributions toward the growth of Lemoore and Kings County. John was born in Lemoore in 1880 and witnessed 70 years of Lemoore's development. A well-respected businessman and cattle rancher, McGlashan owned and operated a meat market, cattle ranch, served on the Lemoore City Council, Kings County Board of Supervisors, and Lemoore Elementary Board for several years.

McGlashan also had to peruse his secondary education away from Lemoore and enthusiastically supported the formation of a high school in 1900. As a Kings County Board of Supervisors member, he focused on improved health care for fellow citizens and the need to improve county roads.

 Volunteer Joseph Katz shared with visitors how everyone in town called our respected police chief just by his first name Henry. Henry Dickenson was first Lemoore's City Marshal and then the city's police chief for the next 37 years. Arriving in 1880 with his parents, he knew all the old-time Lemoore pioneers, and as a youngster, he broke horses on the large Heinlen Ranch west of Lemoore. Before starting his law enforcement career, Dickenson tried his hand at cattle ranching and later gained more fame as a wrestler. Stories of his dedicated career – caring for Lemoore citizens and their property – speak volumes for his character and love of Lemoore.

 The Lemoore City Council unanimously passed a "Henry Dickerson Resolution" at the time of his death, which in part stated that "the City of Lemoore has lost a faithful and devoted public servant whose life record will stand as an example for emulation."

 Volunteer Cyndie Maxwell skillfully related Stella Hatch Brownstone's life story, from her early arrival in Lemoore to her status as one of Lemoore's early business owners,  as well as her role as a mother and community leader. Brownstone loved Lemoore and played an important – and for her – an active part in Lemoore's growth and development. She attended Lake School when the school was at the time city's community center. It hosted evenings of dances, socials, and musical programs. The school was full when resident Hi Clawson provided an evening of song. He was an excellent singer, and everyone loved to hear him perform all the popular tunes of the time.

 After her schooling, Brownstone took a job as a cashier in David Brownstone's General Merchandising store located on Lemoore's Front Street (F Street along the RR tracks). Brownstones was a cornerstone of Lemoore's business district for over six decades, and Brownstone was a big part of the city's business success. After her husband's death, she assisted her son in carrying on the tradition of Brownstone's welcoming atmosphere. It was the place to go for a coke after school,  a sandwich during a business lunch, or an ice cream sundae after a movie.

 The Sarah Mooney Memorial Museum is proud to display the life and times of our most influential pioneers during the "Legends of Lemoore Cemetery Walk." The Walk's sole purpose is to shed light on Lemoore's early days while revealing the unique history of Lemoore.

 A big thanks go to the "Kings Players" for their skilled adaptations of our Lemoore Legends. The event was held on the last Saturday in September. Don't miss next year's exciting tales of Lemoore Legends and their Legacies. Be sure to mark your calendars for September 24, 2022, so that you won't miss a genuinely remarkable "living" history of our community.

 The Museum is open usually open to tours from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday.

Comments powered by Disqus