Tombstone Tuesday: Gravestone-Tipping. Really?

I stopped at a few cemeteries on my genealogical trip to Iowa.  It’s nice to get outside in the fresh air after spending the morning in a musty courthouse.

At the Halferty Cemetery in Keokuk county, I was able to find the gravestones of my great-great-great grandparents.  Their stones were worn, but in tact and still readable (I will post them on another day).

I was appalled at the fate  of the neighboring gravestones though.

After spending a couple of days in rural Iowa, I can imagine that it sometimes gets boring.  I had little to no cell phone coverage.  There wasn’t a Starbucks or a movie theater or a shopping mall in sight.  I get that.  Kids get bored and look for things to do.

I have heard of farm kids going “cow tipping” before, but have you ever heard of “gravestone tipping”?

I have to admit that I”m making some assumptions here.  I don’t know exactly what happened in this cemetery.  All I know is that it wasn’t Mother Nature that knocked these down.  And I’m assuming that it had to be some adolescent punks, because I can’t imagine anyone else doing this.

Many of the gravestones were pushed over, off of their bases, left in the grass.

undefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedThe funny thing is, the cemetery appears to be maintained.  The grass had been mowed sometime in the past couple of weeks.  There is a fence surrounding it.

How could someone do something like that?:(

I wasn’t sure what to do or who to complain to.  It isn’t a church or city cemetery. Even though it wasn’t my ancestors, I was still upset.

But I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t do anything.  I took my pictures and drove on to the next county to do some more research.

What would you have done?

Should I try to contact someone – perhaps the local genealogical or historical society?

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  • Valerie Craft - May 31, 2011 - 11:16 am

    Sad, but not surprising. And what could you have done at the time? If there’s no cemetery office or church attached to the site, I’d contact the local genealogical society and let them know.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - June 4, 2011 - 7:32 pm

      I think I might just do that Valerie.ReplyCancel

  • Jennie - June 3, 2011 - 8:57 pm

    Sadly, right after I read your post about tombstone tipping, I found this article online. Several of my great grandparents are buried at this cemetery. It just breaks my heart to think that someone would do this. I don’t know if any of their graves were tipped, but I do know that the grounds crew is repairing as many as possible.

    • Jen - June 4, 2011 - 7:31 pm

      I read the article about the cemetery in Great Falls. How awful! I really can’t imagine what type of person would think that this is fun. I hope that your ancestors’ gravestones were unharmed.ReplyCancel

  • Jo Graham - June 4, 2011 - 11:44 am

    In Scotland we also have headstones which are laid flat – surprisingly, it’s not vandals, it’s the local council who own and maintain the cemetery grounds. If a monument becomes unstable it is laid flat – sadly, sometimes inscription downwards :-(ReplyCancel

    • Jen - June 4, 2011 - 7:26 pm

      I had never heard anything like that before Jo.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Goodin - July 31, 2011 - 7:32 pm

    I just read your comments about grave stone tipping, I’m also related to the Sanchez-tereso that are buried there. I did grow up about 15 miles from the cemetery. I don’t know about them being purposely pushed over but a lot of them are sitting at such an angle because the weather is hard on them from the freeze and thaw. Yesterday was the first time we were ever there. We were at 4 or 5 cemeteries that day and there is some damage at all of them, for the most part the ones with the damage is the really old ones. I don’t know if what was used to glue them together has degraded so much over time that it doesn’t need much for them to fall over. We would like to find a way to clean the face of the stones to be able to read them better. My niece and I have gotten very interested in the family trees of both sides of our families. I would love to know if you have any pictures of the Sanchez-Tereso buried at the Halferty Cemetery? Your web site is very interesting, my husband was Army for 22 years and we were stationed in southern Germany three times. Sadly we weren’t interested in this at the time so we lost opportunity to visit the graves. I would like to keep in touch with you if you don’t mind. Please send me an e-mail address I can use. LindaReplyCancel

  • Phil - July 18, 2012 - 9:12 am

    I was working in Leesville, LA and my high school girlfriend’s grave is only 40 miles away so I visited – the graveyard was fine, went back next day and there were about 10 headstones tipped and vases thrown around! There was a black tire track outside the gate like kids burned rubber after the crime. Her heastone and flowers was untouched, I tried lifting the headstones back but they were too heavy, I only got 1 back on. Is in Dequincy, LA and I know is nothing for kids to do there, but seriously??? I will be back in a day or two and will contact police if in the same condition, and may contact a funeral home for a quote to lift them, or hire a handyman to help me do it. phil.ReplyCancel

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