Vandals destroy historic Illinois cemetery

8:27 PM, May 3, 2011   |    comments
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By Jeff Small

Waggoner, IL (KSDK) - They fought for our country, but many said the final resting place of countless veterans was recently disrespected by vandals. It happened at Sulphur Springs Cemetery in rural Macoupin County Illinois, near Waggoner.

Since 1830, a little school house and church has withstood the test of time and Mother Nature. Visitors take a trip back in history with a look inside where the original pulpit and handmade pews still remain. What's gone are most of the windows that vandals broke and left in pieces on the ground.

"That just blows my mind and makes me sick to my stomach," said cemetery board member Stacey Hart.

Vandals left a trail of damage during three separate incidents that included knocking over or breaking tombstones including those dating back to the 1800s.

A broken and spray painted torso is part of a statue carved in the likeness of Everett Burton, a soldier from the Macoupin County area. Burton died in 1918 of wounds from the Battle of Argonne Forest in France.

"It's horrible to think this is supposed to be a sacred place to bury the dead," Hart said.

"As a law enforcement person I would say there is very little that surprises me anymore, but as a human being this is a pretty sad state of affairs for our society," said Sheriff Don Albrecht.

Police said they are following several leads in the cemetery vandalism but so far no arrests have been made.

Reward money is being offered through Crimestoppers and through private donations. Anyone with information that could lead to an arrest should contact the Macoupin County Sheriff's Department or Crimestoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS.

Donations and help from concerned citizens are being welcomed by the Sulphur Springs Cemetery board. Anyone interested should contact Stacey Hart at 217-227-3290, or 25445 Slightom Road in Waggoner, Illinois 62572.

KSDK

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