Vandals damage historic Wise County cemetery

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on December 27, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 27 at 8:16 PM

Deep Creek Cemetery

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WISE COUNTY — At the Deep Creek Cemetery, some of the tombstones date back as far as the Civil War.

But that final resting place for some early pioneers in North Texas is now a mess after vandals toppled dozens of markers.

Caretaker Rosalie Gregg says she's sickened by the damage.

"This was the grave of Sally Bowman, who was killed by the Indians," she said, noting that Bowman was murdered as a teenager in the 1860s.

Her final resting place was dishonored by vandals at the end of 2010.

At least they didn't break apart Sally Bowman's marker like they did Thomas Prunty's.

"One of the Prunty family is still living," Gregg said. "He's 97."

Gregg knows a lot about the families buried in Deep Creek Cemetery outside of Decatur, but she doesn't know why anyone would desecrate dozens of their graves.

"You just wonder how they would have felt had it been their parents; their brother; their sister; if they saw something like this happen," she said.

Gregg chairs the Wise County Historical Society, which oversees the cemetery. She said a caretaker discovered the damage a few days ago.

"We've had vandalism before, but nothing... nothing like this," Gregg said.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker turned over a toppled stone to find his own last name on it. No relation, but Walker has some ideas for appropriate punishment.

"If we can catch them, maybe through the court system we can do some community service, keep this place mowed or something like that," he said.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Walker said public works crews and jail inmates will help restore the stones.

One marker, dating to 1914, says, "Weep not for me, for I am in heaven waiting for thee."

Maybe someone should have read that before they did all this damage.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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