WISE COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Wise County sheriff’s deputies are searching for the people who vandalized a historic cemetery last week. Visitors found more than 100 headstones and grave markers knocked over or damaged, many of which date back to the 1800s.
“It had to been put here in the early 1850’s or 60’s,” Rosalie Gregg said of the Deep Creek Cemetery. “It’s pretty historic, and one of the first in the county.”
Gregg, 90, lives in Decatur and is the chair of the Wise County Historical Commission. She also has family buried at Deep Creek.
“My great-great grandparents are buried here,” she said, “and I have lots of cousins and aunts and uncles.”
Beer cans were found near her great aunt’s grave and her great uncle’s gravestone was knocked over.
Last week, a visitor to the rural cemetery found it in disarray.
“Some of the very, very old ones are just shattered,” Gregg explained, “I just can’t believe it.”
Some of the earliest settlers of Wise County – including the Woody family, who founded Decatur – are buried in the cemetery, which sits off a rural gravel road about nine miles outside of Decatur.
“It’s just so isolated and people going across the road can’t see what’s going on down here,” Gregg said, “So we’ve had some problems all through the years.”
While this isn’t the first time the old cemetery has had unwanted visitors, much of the damage from this incident is beyond repair.
“Why?” Gregg asked. “How would you feel if this was your mother, or your father, or your brother, or your sister?”
Deputies do not have any suspects at this time.
The Wise County Sherriff’s Dept. plans to order supervised work crews from the county jail to clean up the cemetery this week.