Princeton KY "Ghost Walk"

Back in 2018 I was asked to assist the Caldwell County Genealogy Society during its annual "Ghost Walk". Now don't get all excited thinking this is a spooky type walk, it isn't.

The way we do "Ghost Walks" is we pick out the stories of folks who are buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery and we bring those life stories "back to life". We research their lives and piece together a short 5-10 minute "Skit" we can present that tells the basics about this person and a few of the important parts of history they were a part of.

Having spent way to many hours walking around Cedar Hill, I had walked past the graves of GT Penn and his wife many a time and never stopped to think, I wonder what they experienced...  I got the chance to find out!

I had the Honor of portraying Gabriel Thomas Penn and my wife got to portray Mary Eliza Penn, GT's wife, that year. Instead of trying to retell what we pieced together, let me put our "script" together here for you.  


GT and Mary Penn - Find a Grave

Well Good Evening! It sure is a beautiful night to take a quiet stroll isn't it?

Excuse my manners, I should introduce myself. (Remove hat and bow)

My name is Gabriel Thomas Penn.  I like to go by GT.

I was born 1836 in Murfreesboro Tennessee

I grew up helping out on family farm, helping father and learning about life. 
I learned a lot about crops. Corn and tobacco mostly.
Learned loads about animals, cows and pigs mostly.

I attended a close by school house and learned to read, write and figure. Figuring is really important folks. Make sure your children learn their numbers! If not, they will never know if someone is cheating them!

Life was fun but really nothing special happened… That was until i aged up to my twenties.

As the country tore itself apart in the early 1860’s I like many youth I saw adventure and wanted to make a difference!

(Head high, stand tall and smile!) So I enlisted in the Confederate Army. I was going to ride off the glory and have all kinds of adventures!  Shiny gun, sharp uniform, all that fancy marching and nice horses. All that adventure and gallantry! Oh boy was it going to be grand!

In 1861 I went to Jackson Tennessee and joined the 13th Tennessee Infantry. I enlisted for 12 months. I served my time marching around Western Tennessee and Western Kentucky.

We marched North, and then we marched South. We marched East and then we marched West...  Back and forth...  From here to there and back to here.

We marched in the sun. We marched in the rain. We marched in the snow. And we march a good bit more in the rain.

(Drop head and sound sad) Being a foot soldier was no fun.

SO in June 1862, while my unit was near my daddies home I come home!

Now I hear they say I deserted the 13th, but again I signed for a year and I served a year. My job was done… I did my part and I was DONE SOLDIERING!

I helped daddy make it thru fall and winter and into spring.  Things were tight for sure...  The Yankees took what they wanted from us, we couldn't do anything about it. And being a Confederate Soldier I had to keep scarce. One sight of me and there could be some problems...

But then in the Spring the Confederacy came thru again and were looking for volunteers to join Cavalry units.

(Stand tall and smile again!) Now horse soldering is a life of adventure for sure! Riding everywhere on horseback, no walking! 
SO I joined up with the 15th Tennessee Calvary, for the duration of the war…

Horse soldering did not live up to my dreams either, but being a man of my word I did my job.
Riding and more riding.
Fighting and more fighting.
Hunger and more hunger…
No real adventures…
But I wasn't on foot!

And strange as it may me I was made a Captain of Company H under the Command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest!!! The Wizard of the Saddle himself!!! A mans man!

It kind of surprised me to see him being guarded by those dozen black men on horse back, armed and dressed better than most us, but them men was pledged to General Forrest and finer soldiers I never saw! 

In May of 1865 two big things happened.
The War ended and we surrendered in Alabama.
And most importantly I met and married the best woman in the world! 

MARY COME ON OVER HERE! We got visitors!
(as she walks up continue talking)
Sadly they say I passed away in January of 1920 here in Princeton...

Mary honey why don’t you tell these kind folk a bit about us and the children?

My name is Mary Eliza Penn, I was a Mitchell back in Alabama.  I was born in 1846. GT and I married in 1865 and made our way to Cerulean Kentucky and made a home.

We had 4 Children.
Martha in 1866.
James in 1870
Ann in 1875
Bessie 1885 only lived to 2 years old...
Daisy in 1888 only lived a few weeks…
(GT: now honey she's happy here with us now. No need to get sad! hug her)

Our Ann was a good student and she caught her a man by the name of Robert Warren. She had 3 children. Two Thomas’s and Robert. Robert liked to be called RED.

(GT: OH I MISS RED! He would come spend summers with us and I’d tell him my tales and share my life lessons with him. He was such a good boy!)  (GT wander off…)

Red loved his Grand daddy and h the tales he heard from him. They say Red grew up to be a famous writer of stories… 
Hey old Coot, what was that book Red wrote?

(GT: All the King's Men.)

Yes, that was it! All The Kings Men, by Robert Penn Warren. It won a Pulitzer Prize which is some big award...

(GT: Yell out from a few head stones back in shadows I FOUND MY POCKET KNIFE! I’m off to town to meet the other men and whittle a bit.)

I died in 1898.

Excuse me, I have to go keep that old coot out of trouble. He just don’t understand he can’t go walking all over town anymore… 

(Over shoulder) Ya’ll come back and visit us again! We got a bunch of good folks as neighbors and I am sure they will talk a spell with ya too!



It sure was fun to do this! We had over 150 folks come thru that night and we got to do the presentation 6 times.

History can be fun folks! 

I wonder what someone will think of my life in 100 years......

What will they remember about you?


Of well, off to do some more living! Thanks again for reading and caring what I think I should share with you. 


Have a GREAT Day! And do something memorable!



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Father, retired Firefighter

American History, no such thing as a single cause
American History, no such thing as a single cause

History is a muddy mess! If someone tells you ANY event in history happened due to one thing or issue, RUN! They are an idiot! Example 1:American Revolution. What caused it? Taxes, representation, military over reach, distance, King George? All good answers but there are hundreds more! Example 2: "Civil War" was all about slavery. Lincoln called for the invasion in 1861 yet he created West Virginia in 1863 as a NEW UNION SLAVE STATE. Many more examples are out there...

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