For the second year, the Madison Historical Society presents a magical fall event for the entire family on the Green in Madison on Oct. 22.
The festivities will begin at 4:00 as pumpkin carvers (and painters, ages 5-10) begin to deliver their creations and sign up to enter the Jack-O'-Lantern contest.
There are four categories, Children (5-10) with painted pumpkins, Young Adult (11-18) with carved pumpkins, Family Carved Pumpkins, and Adult (over 18) carved pumpkins. Prizes will be award in each category and awarded at 6:15. After the Grand Illumination, pumpkins will be retrieved by their artists to take home for Halloween. (Any pumpkins not retrieved by 7:00 will be sent for compost at Baurer Farm.) There is no entry fee. Lighting for the Jack-O'-Lanterns will be supplied.
While contestants are entering their Jack-O'-Lanterns in the contest, the Madison Historical Society will present a Ghost Walk from 4:00 until 6:30. This is your opportunity to meet real people who lived in Madison who might still be hanging around town doing a little "haunting." Continuous guided tours will begin at the ticket area and last for one hour. The last tour begins at 5:30. Tickets for the Ghost walk are $5 Adults, $3 Children under 12 and $15 for a family. (Tours are not recommended for young children.) Here are some of the ghosts you will meet:
Captain Edward Griffin (1762-1802): Captain Griffin was not a nice guy! He was thought to have been a slave trader, a dishonest merchant and abusive to his son. He lived in the finest house in Madison, but spent most of his time at sea where he ran his vessels from Boston to Haiti. At the end of his life, he retired to land and operated a mill on the Hammonasset River, but neighbors and family learned to steer clear of the Captain, especially if he was in a bad mood.
Daughter of Sebequanash (c. 1625 - ?): Although the name of this Hammonasset Indian Princess is lost, it is known that she married the great sachem, Uncas, about 1640 and became one of his many wives. After their marriage, Uncas sold the lands belonging to the Hammonasset Indians to the English and moved the small tribe from their native lands to the Niantic River. The Indian maiden returns to haunt the shoreline and hills of Madison where she spent the happy days of her youth before the arrival of the English.
Anna Pavelka (1871-1907): Born in Hungary, Anna immigrated to New York where she married a fellow Hungarian, Paul Pavelka, Sr. After a son was born, the couple moved to Madison to and purchased a farm. Life was hard on their new farm and Anna found it difficult being a foreigner in the new country. In 1907, Anna died tragically when she fell on a pitchfork. Was it an accident? Coincidently, very soon after Anna’s death, Paul married a very young and beautiful woman. Even though she was dead, this new marriage did not sit well with Anna!
Lieutenant Ichabod Scranton (1717-1760): A local militia man, Scranton was recruited during the French and Indian War to join the British Army in the 1760 expedition to Montreal. At the end of the expedition, Scranton and his men started the long march home to East Guilford (now Madison.) Unfortunately, in Albany they were exposed to smallpox and by the time they reached the borders of East Guilford, many of the small troop had fallen ill and were forced to be sequestered on a plot of land which had been set aside for those with the deadly disease. One by one the men died and were buried on this piece of land now known as “The Smallpox Cemetery.”
Reverend Herbert H. Hayden (1850- c. 1920): Hayden was a Methodist minister in North Madison in 1879 when he was accused of the violent murder of Mary Stannard in the Rockland area of Madison. The community was stunned; how could the gentle, mild-mannered man of God possibly have committed such a heinous crime? Hayden’s trial for murder was covered by newspapers across the country. He proclaimed his innocence with his young wife, Rosa, standing by his side. In the end, the courts could not find enough evidence to convict Hayden. Many wonder, to this day, if the young minister got away with the murder of Mary Stannard.
From 4:00-6:15, while waiting for the Grand Illumination, the public is invited to join in the fun of making Halloween Luminaries (as part of the Illumination) and playing old fashioned games such as tug-of-war and three-legged races. This is a free event for the public.
At 6:30, the Grand Illumination will begin, also a free event for the public.
The rain date is Oct. 29. Check the Madison Historical website at www.madisoncthistorical.org/ or call 203-245-4567 for weather updates.