Cemetery vandalism continues at Ohio cemeteries both large and small

From the “Herald-Dispatch” in Huntington, West Virginia, published on July 3rd by Luke Creasy are details from the latest update about the current state of the damage at the The Rome-Proctorville Cemetery in Proctorville, Lawrence County, Ohio.

Sharing these excerpts from this story because I feel they are insightful, and are definitely good to know and understand if one of your ancestor’s stones was damaged — not knocked over and no other type of damage.

We learn from the details that the degree and type of damage to a grave marker can dictate if those responsible for the cemetery accepts responsibility to properly repair it.

Also, please note that it is crucial to be sure who is responsible for a cemetery. The example as stated here demonstrates that if there is an older cemetery adjacent to a newer cemetery there might be a different owner for the older one. Thus, if both cemeteries suffer damage it cannot automatically be assumed that the same entity (i.e. township, church, village, etc.) owns both cemeteries and will handle remediation of damages at both cemeteries.:

“Rome-Proctorville Cemetery caretaker Ron Jenkins said he wants to get the headstones in the upright position as quickly as possible and is working with Lawson Monument Company in Huntington to get the headstones off the ground and resealed. Jenkins estimated the cost at $150 per headstone.Lawson began repairs at the cemetery on Monday morning. Fourteen stones were picked up, placed and sealed on Monday. Jenkins said Lawson has been very accommodating, and remaining repairs will be made by the end of the week.

“(Lawson) said some of them have permanent damage on them, but we’re not going to be responsible in replacing those. We’re just trying to get them all set back up and sealed back down.”

Permanent damage to a gravestone includes any surface damage to the stone such as cracks, scratches and chips. Jenkins said that families that have been affected by permanent damage will not be forced to replace headstones but do have the option of purchasing new stones.

In response to the crime, Bowen said the cemetery will institute increased security steps moving forward. High-definition surveillance cameras soon will be added, as well as additional measures that Bowen did not want to disclose at the time. He said the cemetery’s goal is to prevent this situation from happening in the future.

According to Jenkins, there were additional headstones overturned in the Old Rome Cemetery that neighbors Rome-Proctorville; however, they are not responsible for upkeep on those grounds.”

Some News Stories about recent cemetery vandalism in Ohio.:

 From The “Toledo Blade”: Thursday, June 28, 2018

Forest Cemetery in Toledo:

 “Headstones Again Vandalized at Forest Cemetery”

Contact Sarah Elms at selms@theblade.com419-724-6103, or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

“More than 100 headstones have been toppled at Forest Cemetery this month, and many of the vandalized grave-markers date back to the 1800s.

The most recent act of vandalism — about 12 headstones knocked over — was discovered Wednesday, Cemeteries Foreman Luke Smigielski said. The city runs five cemeteries, and only Forest Cemetery has experienced the vandalism this summer, he said.

More than 50 headstones were discovered knocked over on June 11, and another 42 were found toppled June 18. Forest Cemetery spans 94 acres and is home to more than 94,000 headstones, many of which weigh hundreds to thousands of pounds.”

Forest Cemetery in Toledo on “Find A Grave”The “Grave Tracker” – Forest Cemetery City of Toledo

From the “Dayton Daily News” – Monday, July 2, 2018 – Miamisburg, Montgomery County, Ohio:

“Highland Cemetery gravestone damaged over weekend”

Craig Weaver’s memorial on “Find A Grave”

Photo of Craig Weaver’s grave marker prior to its destruction