Five characters from Johnston County’s past will be brought back to life October 24 during the Johnston County Heritage Center’s 15th annual Ghost Walk in Smithfield’s historic Riverside Cemetery. The event is sponsored in part by the Johnston County Visitors Bureau and the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. It will begin at 6:30 pm at the corner of Church and Second streets beside St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

This year’s line-up includes Sarah Stallings, a founder of Clayton (portrayed by NC Rep. Donna M. White of Clayton); Polly Alford, a 19th century Smithfield restaurateur (portrayed  by Sequilla Arita of Seven Springs) ;  Robert F. Smith, a pioneer Benson businessman who was also a pioneer bicyclist (portrayed by Matt Dean of Archer Lodge); Ensign Edwin S. Pou, a World War I flying ace (portrayed by Bennett Chapman of Cary); and Lt. Hardy Donnell Narron, a World War II bomber pilot (portrayed by Dylan Atwood of Mount Olive).     

“This is a fun educational event for all ages that a lot of people look forward to,” says event chairman Matt Dean. “It’s a great way for families to learn about interesting people who are part of the Johnston County story.”

Visitors will be given guided tours through the cemetery where they will meet each ghost character. The tour concludes with refreshments at the historic Hastings House, where Confederate generals were headquartered at the end of the Civil War.

Admission charge is $5 for adults and $3 for students (free for children under age 6), payable at the event. No advance tickets will be sold.

For further information, call the Heritage Center at 919-934-2836, or visit the Center’s website at, or Facebook page,    

Man dressed in historical period clothes poses for the camera in a dimly lit cemetary for the Smithfield Ghost Walk