College student to portray opium addict’s wife for ‘Crawl’
At Baylor University, Sarah Swint will be a senior this year, majoring in both ecology and geology. Her future is immeasurably brighter than that of the woman she'll
be portraying at the Cemetery Crawl Sunday, Aug. 12.
She'll be Mrs. Edward Baxter, whose husband - a one-time reputable journalist - died in a Colorado City opium den in 1897, leaving her and a 10-year-old son. “He was selfish,” commented Swint in a recent interview, speaking in character. “ All his money was taken for his pleasure, and I was left behind, penniless. Why would I go and marry someone like that?”
Costing $6 ($8 at the gate) the Crawl will follow the OCCHS' free Founders' Day celebration in Bancroft Park Saturday, Aug. 11, as part of a weekend of historical activities.
Commemorating the August 1859 start of Colorado City, Founders' Day will feature historical reenactors, music and dance from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Aug. 11. An OCCHS-organized craft fair will be going on simultaneously in the park from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For Swint, this will be the first time playing a Crawl character. Her mother, Sharon Swint, who wrote a recent book about Van Briggle Pottery's history, will be playing Hattie Hedges Trout, an early Colorado City resident. “I've only acted in high school, but this sounds like fun,” Sarah said. “What I love about it is that these are little stories you're never going to hear unless you read a book. They're just unknown, not big stories like William Palmer.”
According to Sarah Swint, one reason for Mrs. Baxter's marriage probably was that Edward hadn't always been that way. According to the fairly scanty historical record, when she'd married him two years earlier, he had been a member of the editorial staff on the Daily Eagle newspaper in Wichita, Kansas. Upon reaching Colorado City - then known for its wild ways - his downfall came quickly. Unable to find a writing job, he worked as a faro dealer, which evidently left him prey to Colorado City's underworld. He became increasingly dependent on alcohol and opium and was dead within six months.
Another new Crawl actor this year will be Ken Markus, playing former Colorado City Mayor Oliver Ingraham. He said he is still researching the character from biographical materials supplied by the OCCHS.
Markus will also be involved in Founders' Day with his group, the Victorian Society of Colorado Springs. Wearing turn-of-the-19th-century clothing, the group will perform historical dances, play croquet and have a picnic on the lawn. “We're trying to assume what it would be like if you were living back in the late 1800s,” he said.
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