John Whitmore’s Headstone: The First One Was Broken In Shipment
We researchers probably hear about headstone desecration more in genealogy circles than the average person, but I’d like to caution my readers to always check to see if there is another facet to the story if you should find a headstone somewhere other than in a cemetery.
It’s entirely possible to find a lone headstone just laying out in a field (sometimes with cattle in attendance). If it’s an old patch of family land, there could even be others nearby that you wouldn’t even see because they’ve deteriorated in the weather.
You Have A Headstone In Your Yard?
But what about those stones that are broken and used for steps or something in someone’s yard? No doubt at first you would be appalled that someone could use them in such a way. There could be some simple explanations though:
- They were not used or approved by the family because there was a mistake.
- In the process of setting the stone it broke and the mortuary discarded it.
- A new one was set in place (such as the Medal of Honor one above) and so one of the family members took home the old one and used it in his/her yard.
- A new owner of a home might not know that the other side of that nice piece of granite in the yard has an inscription on the other side.
Years ago I found a DAR cemetery marker in an antique store in Iowa. It had no identifying marks on it, and since I’m in the DAR I bought it and brought it home. Truthfully, I have no idea what to do with it, so it’s just stored away in a safe place.
My final thoughts on all of this is that before you contact any authorities and report anyone, try to find out the facts first.
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