Skip to comments.Man Finds Military Tombstones in Backyard
Posted on 05/24/2012 8:41:05 AM PDT by Sopater
A Tennessee man, Jason Blackburn, digging in his backyard garden over the weekend found 13 tombstones that have been traced to a historic military cemetery. My first reaction was, Oh my goodness, I hope theres not dead bodies in my backyard, Blackburn said. I mean thats the first reaction when youre digging in your backyard and you find tombstones.
Blackburn searched a name on one of the gravestones -- Pvt. Arthur Woodson -- on the Internet and determined it was linked to Memphis National Cemetery, a historic memorial park that goes back to the Civil War and is now run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Raymond Miller, director for Memphis National Cemetery and the national cemeteries in Little Rock and Corinth, Miss., said that VA workers were heading over to Blackburns home on Tuesday to inspect the tombstones. He said the time the markers went missing has been narrowed down to a four-month period in 1970. It is believed the markers are from the 1960s.
It is believed they are old headstones that were replaced with newer ones. Still, its unclear how they ended up in someones backyard. Old headstones are typically destroyed after they are replaced, Miller said.
This is government property, Miller said. Were going to retrieve them and look to see what information they have.
The man ought to be careful....they may claim eminent domain......
Holy cow. Just when you think life has gotten about as interesting as it’s gonna get...
Those appear to be markers from a US Veteran’s cemetery. They are, indeed, US Gov’t Property.
“Fannie Marie” in a military cemetery? I wonder if Fannie used to be a man’s name or if this could be a nurse or, well, what? Be interesting to find out.
As an Army veteran, I will state that in this case, government property = public property, does not permit the tombstones to be removed, by the public, from the cemetery(ies) where they marked graves of deceased soldiers.
I consider the removal to be theft and desecration of the soldier’s graves. If the tombstones were replace by the cemetery, then they should have been properly destroyed rather than randomly dumped.
The back steps at my grandmother’s house are old tombstones. Her house is right next to the cemetery and used to be a funeral parlor.
The article says ‘13 tombstones’.
Is it just me, or does it look like 14 and possibly 15 are on that truck?
I wonder though, whether at the time the people responsible felt the stones had been respectfully buried?
Yup, that was my first thought as well. Just because you find something neat, doesn't mean that you need to stand up and loudly announce it.
Well, I guess your grandmother’s neighbors are pretty quiet, except on election day.
It appears from the story that the original tombstones were replaced with new ones, and the original ones were disposed of, apparently by dumping them on this property decades ago.
I’m not sure if the property back then was a legal dump or if they were dumped illegally on private property. But, as I understand it, once you throw something away you give up and property rights to the item. If the government threw the old headstones away (as seems to be the case here), then the current property owner may be able to claim ownership.
These things are probably pretty valuable as a collector’s item. I doubt military tombstones come on the market often (at least not legally).
That's pretty #@$@ funny, right there.
I used to work in a cemetary and thought that I'd heard all of the jokes. It was a Dead-End job, but the customers didn't complain. And I had a lot of people underneath me.
Now thats funny as heck............LOL
They need to track down the previous property owner(s) if they're still alive. I'm guessing either a former VA/Cemetery employee who was supposed to dispose of the old gravestones when replaced, but thought he'd sell the marble, then had second thoughts.
Given the timeframe (late 60's - early 70's) I would have guessed hippie-based desecration, except it sounds as though the stones were replaced, and if there had been an incident of desecration or theft, there's apparently no record of it.
I remember as a kid visiting family friends in Bay St. Louis, going out to play in their backyard, and finding a huge patio made of tombstones.
Quite the conversation piece.
“Fannie Marie in a military cemetery?”
I enlarged the image a bit and farther down it says “wife of” so that makes sense, and also maybe resolves the 13 soldiers vice 15 tombstones mismatch.
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