CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- It is one way to bring the past to life.
As they do each fall, students and local actors dressed in period attire stood in Fort Hill Cemetery on Sunday, beside the graves of people who lived here in another time.
As groups of visitors strolled past on the annual Fort Hill Cemetery Walking Tour, the costumed actors portraying the deceased residents spoke about the lives they had lived.
Wearing a white blouse, ankle-length skirt and hair piled high on her head. Michelle Dyer paced among the tombstones getting a final read through the guidebook as she waited for another tour group.
Dyer, a senior Lee University history major, said the annual cemetery tour "gives you a sense of the depth of our history."
"This is the South, but not everyone was for the Confederacy,'' she said.
Robert Barr and Hillary Tedrick, also senior history majors at Lee, were dressed as Dr. P.J.R. and Sarah Edwards. A prominent family here, the Edwardses were active supporters of the Confederacy.
Researching the characters, they got to know them as people, the students said while waiting for the next tour group.
Many of the people portrayed had links to the pro-Union Civil War burning of the Hiwassee River railroad bridge in nearby Charleston.
"Maybe not the bridge burning itself but the suspicion of conspiracy,'' said Randy Wood, professor of humanities at Lee.