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Investigation ongoing into cemetery vandalism

Graves of pioneer family damaged

POSTED: August 18, 2014 12:04 a.m.
FCN file photo/

Unknown vandals recently damaged tombstones, some dating to the mid-1800s, at a family cemetery near where Union Hill Road and Ronald Reagan Boulevard meet by the Forsyth-Fulton County line.

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SOUTH FORSYTH — The Forsyth County Sheriff Office is still investigating recent vandalism in an historic cemetery in south Forsyth.

 “This is a very unusual and very sad case, so we are still investigating to try to find out who did this,” said Robin Regan, a spokesman for the office.

A few weeks ago, Dawson County resident Donnie Munda discovered that his family’s cemetery on Ronald Reagan Boulevard near the Forsyth-Fulton line had been destroyed by vandals.

All of the some 20 graves, dating from 1862 to 1978 of the members of the James family, had been severely damaged.

Small markers had been kicked away from their respective sites, while large tombstones lay scattered on ground, many broken in half or multiple pieces.

“They broke them in half on top of one another,” Munda said at the time. “They didn’t just kick them over, oh no. They pulled them all the way out of the ground and broke them on top of one another.”

Munda, as well as sheriff’s investigators, believe those responsible are probably teenagers from one of several nearby new home developments.

“We’ve been hoping that someone would come forward with information about who did this,” Regan said. “But so far we haven’t received many leads.”

It seems the teens decided to have a party in a field near the cemetery location and then, for some reason, destroyed the site.

While damage to any cemetery is a horrible act, this event is particularly troubling given the family’s historic significance.

Cliff Roberts, a member of the Historical Society of Forsyth County and of the Col. Hiram Parks Bell Sons of the Confederate Veterans chapter, said the James “were a pioneer family in Forsyth County who lived in the Big Creek area near the [then] Milton County line. They drew land in the 1832 lottery and are listed in the 1834 census, which was the first census taken in Forsyth.”

The patriarch of the family and his wife raised 10 children, according to Roberts, with the five sons having all served the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The local Confederate Veterans chapter is offered a $500 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of those responsible.

Regan said, if found, those responsible likely will face a number of charges, including vandalism, criminal damage and trespassing.

 

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