Sheep Pen Cemetery photographs courtesy of Scott Andersen - September, 2011 and April, 2012
"The Association for Gravestone Studies"
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"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been removed therefrom and no
bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity
as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."


A Straightened and Repaired Gravestone Restores Respect for the Deceased Person it Identifies

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sharing the Sad News of Extensive Vandalism Done at the Spring Hill Cemetery in Wellsville, Columbiana County, Ohio

Gravestone Guardians of Ohio posted a link to this sad story on its Facebook page today about a recent vandalism attack that damaged hundreds of gravestones at the Spring Hill Cemetery in Wellsville, Columbiana County, Ohio.  

The account was written by Richard Sberna, reporter for the publication "The Review" in East Liverpool, Ohio.  Click on title to read the full story.

Below are a few paragraphs from Mr. Sberna's story about the vandalism damage at Spring Hill Cemetery:

"Cemetery superintendent Mike Lombardozzi has been cataloging the damage row by row in each section of the cemetery since Tuesday. He said that, by the end of work on Friday, he had covered more than 60 percent of the cemetery's 78 acres, and documented 150 damaged gravestones. Casual observation has revealed "at least another 90" damaged stones that have yet to be counted, he said."

"Damage extends into every section, with no apparent pattern in the choice of victim. "Whatever they felt they could tip over," Lombardozzi said. With some of the larger monumental stones weighing more than two tons, this would have been no easy task."

"Replacing the very badly damaged examples could be even more difficult. "People can't afford to buy stones like this anymore," he said, referring to some broken gravestones dating back to the mid-1800s as "irreplaceable."
  
"Those would include the large, ornate headstones of William Wells, founder of the village for which it is named, and his first and second wives, Ann Clark and Mary Crowl, both of whom preceded him in death.


After the names have been copied off of the damaged gravestones, Lombardozzi will attempt to contact any surviving family members to inform them of the damages. In some cases, he said this process will include studying the cemetery log books and contacting the funeral homes that handled the burial arrangements so that family members no longer in the area may be reached."

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Presently, Spring Hill Cemetery has 9,572 interments listed for it on "Find A Grave."

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It is always so sad to read these stories as we keep hoping that with each one it will be the last we hear about, but it never is.  

 It appears from the full account of this story that those responsible for this crime have been apprehended.

The Ohio Revised Code deals with cemetery issues including vandalism:

2909.05 Vandalism

(C) No person, without privilege to do so, shall knowingly cause serious physical harm to any tomb, monument, gravestone, or other similar structure that is used as a memorial for the dead; to any fence, railing, curb, or other property that is used to protect, enclose, or ornament any cemetery; or to a cemetery. 

(D) No person, without privilege to do so, shall knowingly cause physical harm to a place of burial by breaking and entering into a tomb, crypt, casket, or other structure that is used as a memorial for the dead or as an enclosure for the dead.

(E) Whoever violates this section is guilty of vandalism. Except as otherwise provided in this division, vandalism is a felony of the fifth degree that is punishable by a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars in addition to the penalties specified for a felony of the fifth degree in sections 2929.11 to 2929.18 of the Revised Code. If the value of the property or the amount of physical harm involved is seven thousand five hundred dollars or more but less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars, vandalism is a felony of the fourth degree. If the value of the property or the amount of physical harm involved is one hundred fifty thousand dollars or more, vandalism is a felony of the third degree.

(F) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Cemetery” means any place of burial and includes burial sites that contain American Indian burial objects placed with or containing American Indian human remains.

(2) “Serious physical harm” means physical harm to property that results in loss to the value of the property of one thousand dollars or more.

Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 29, HB 86, § 1, eff. 9/30/2011.

Effective Date: 09-30-1998
See 129th General Assembly File No. 29, HB 86, §4.

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