Feb. 27, step back in time to early Lake County at the Bourlay Historic Nature Park in Leesburg for an hourlong guided tour of the nature preserve by moonlight and lantern. 

The guide will discuss the rich history of the preserve, and attendees will meet several historic figures in period dress along the way. They will include locals Mary Ellen Robertson, considered the first mother of Leesburg, who with her husband, John, welcomed their first child in 1849; and Susan Lee, wife of Evander Lee. The Lees were the first permanent settlers, arriving in 1857, and Leesburg was founded by and named after the family. Also, hear from Massa Harbison, a pioneer woman who was kidnapped and escaped from Indians, and listen in on a conversation with descendants of the Morrison family, another early Leesburg family related to Robertson. You may even catch up with Lydia Darraugh, a Revolutionary War spy.  

Reservations are required, as space is limited to 30 people. To reserve a spot, call the Lake County Water Authority at 352-324-6141, ext. 0. Registrants will receive a call on Friday, Feb. 26, with the start time assigned to their groups. There will be a S’mores campfire after the tour is finished. There is no seating available during the tour, and masks are requested. 

The program is hosted by the Lake County Water Authority and the Mary Ellen Robertson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

For more information on the tour or any Lake County Water Authority programs or preserves, visit www.lcwa.org or call 352-324-6141.