Friday December 9th 2022

Keep citizen journalism alive!



Tale of the Tales: Q&A with Sue Hunter Weir

Caption: Anna Clark
Credit: Courtesy of Bob Clark


This is your 200th column. How long have you been writing Tales from Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery? What inspired you to start?

I wrote my first story about the cemetery in September 2003. At the time I was concerned (irritated) about the Phillips Neighborhood being characterized as “crime-ridden” and wanted to remind people that Phillips is a community with a long and very rich history. Ours is a community shaped by migration, immigration, the need for public housing and for livable-wage jobs. Our boundaries were, and are, shaped by transportation routes. Much has changed but much remains the same. We have a great deal to be proud of.

What motivates you to continue the series after so many years?

I remember reading that no one is truly dead who is remembered. I believe that and these stories are my way of remembering people who I never knew but who deserve to be remembered. They are the people who built this City. I have written about 200 people so far and have many thousands left to go. Stay tuned.

If you could meet one cemetery resident you have written about, who would it be?

If I could meet one of the people I’ve written about, it would be Anna Clark. Anna was one of the first people I found and hers is one of the most heartbreaking stories I’ve ever read. She was a poet and she was beautiful. She gave birth to 16 children, only eight of whom survived. When she was 53, and widowed, she committed suicide in the Cemetery because as she put it, the “sorrow and agony in my heart is too great to bear.” There is nothing that I could do to change that but I could at least give her a hug and let her know that she has not been forgotten.

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