Vandalized cemetery gets helping hand

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05:39 PM EDT on Wednesday, July 15, 2009


By BOBBY SISK / NewsChannel 36


YORK, S.C. — Why would someone stoop so low? That’s the question swirling around the historic Rose Hill Cemetery near downtown York.


The graveyard dates back 200 years and is home to some of the area’s founding fathers. It is also the place where someone knocked over nine headstones either late Friday night or sometime Saturday.


“Unfortunately, we see this every two or three years and it always makes us sick,” said Nathan Gaulden, whose family runs a monument company in Rock Hill.


Gaulden heard about the damage at Rose Hill and said he had to help. 


“We have to meet with the families sometimes and realize how much hurt and emotional damage this can cause,” he said. “It is very disappointing to see.”


Wednesday morning, Gaulden and his crews showed up at the cemetery and began the work of righting a criminal’s wrong. 


Melvin Mullis stopped by shortly after. He heard about the destruction and wanted to see if any of his family’s plots were disturbed. His answer was yes.


“I just came to check it out. That’s my grandparents. That’s my uncle. And that’s my aunt down there,” he said pointing to the gravesites. “It’s things like this that upsets me.”


What happened at Historic Rose Hill is also upsetting to Nathan Gaulden. His grandfather’s first job in this business was directly across the street at the old Wiley Monument Company.


“So granddad probably worked on some of these stones out here and certainly sat some of them.  So, we do feel a little bit of a tie,” he said. 


To Melvin Mullis and so many others with loved ones here, Rose Hill is a sacred place.


“It means a lot to me,” Mullis said.


And with the work Gaulden’s crew just did, it’s now gotten back the respect it deserves.


“Getting it fixed quickly allows them to put it in the past and move on,” said Gaulden.


Police do have a lead in this case. A witness heard noises and saw a drunken man stumbling out of the cemetery late Friday night. 


If you have any information about who knocked over the Rose Hill headstones, call the York Police Department at 803-684-3886.


 


http://www.wcnc.com/news/southcarolina/stories/wcnc-071509-al-cemetery_vandalized_cleanup.423cfdc4.html

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