Volunteer Spotlight: The Esses


Karene and Thomas Ess are retired high school teachers and Thomas also retired from the military.  In the past they have volunteered as reenactors in the Yuma, Arizona Wild West Shows. One of the activities that they performed in while in Yuma was “Dining with the Dead,” where Thomas was able to play the only sheriff that was killed in Yuma. They also participated in the Shootout in Prescott, Arizona.

With all of the experience they have had doing reenactments, Karene said that when she writes a script or tells a story she likes to tell real history. She focuses on the history rather than number of “BANGS” in the show.

After moving to Cedar City at the end of 2017, Karene and Thomas started volunteering for the Frontier Homestead at the beginning of 2018.  Just recently, they spent Archaeology Day making delicious biscuits in the in outdoor wood oven.

In the middle of prepping dough and baking biscuits they answered a few questions.

Where else in our community do you volunteer?

Karene Ess in the Hunter House

Karene Ess in the Hunter House

Karene said she also volunteers at the Shakespeare Festival’s Costume Shop.

What has been your favorite volunteer experience at the Homestead?

Karene said that she enjoys when she is able to be Mrs. Hunter in the Hunter house.

Thomas said he enjoyed playing a miner panning for gold in a state parks commercial. Karene added that he enjoys anytime he is able work with kids.

What is your favorite display at the Homestead?

Thomas said he likes the wagons, though Karene said she always has to try to convince their grand-kids not to climb on them.

Karene said she likes the displays inside the Blast Furnace. Her granddaughter tried one time to count all the verses in “Come, Come Away,” by Parley P. Pratt.

The Frontier Homestead would like to thank the Esses for helping history come alive for our patrons.

Tom Ess from the Utah Heritage Parks promotional video.

Tom Ess from the Utah Heritage Parks promotional video.