Last week Bath’ s Cemetery Corporation discovered that two headstones were likely recently vandalized in Greenway Cemetery. One belongs to the Barney family and the other to the Unger family. Each headstone is detached from its base. The Barney headstone fell from its base several years ago. Vandals tried to move it and the Unger headstone was knocked off its base during the suspected vandalism.
Memorial experts think that the Barney headstone originally fell because of the weight of the stone itself.
“The Barney headstone was properly attached to its base when it was first set up,” said Elizabeth Skinner, “but time, weather, and road vibration from heavy trucks caused the headstone to separate from its base.” Skinner is president of the Town’ s Cemetery Corporation. “We are sure that vandalism was not the cause of the Barney headstone falling over years ago,” she said.
The Unger headstone is likely a different story. Skinner does not recall the Unger headstone being off its base before the recent vandalism.
“We think this area of Greenway was vandalized because the Unger headstone was found on the ground. There are new, scattered tracks in that area of the old cemetery not left by a mower. There is also a large portion of a wall broken off near the toppled Unger headstone that was not broken before this disrespectful mischief,” said Skinner.
The Unger stone does not appear to be damaged, but it has been knocked from its base. It will need to be reset.
The town also suspects that vandalism explains the attempt of someone to move the Barney headstone. “Why? We don’t know,” said Skinner.
A police report was filed with the Bath Police Department. Everyone associated with Greenway Cemetery who might have had a reason to move the stone has been contacted. No one has touched the stone. While the Barney headstone was moved only a short distance, it now will make it more difficult for mowers to get around in that part of Greenway along U.S. 522.
“The headstone now needs to be moved. It should be cleaned and reset on its base using modern techniques that will keep it from falling off its base again,” said Skinner.
The Town’s Cemetery Corporation does not own the headstones and ground markers in Greenway Cemetery; the families that had them placed on family graves do. Members of the Barney family and the Unger family may contact Elizabeth Skinner to discuss what can be done to restore the headstones to their proper locations. Skinner can be contacted at 304-258-7920 or at email@example.com. Calls may also be made to Bath town hall at 304-258- 1102.