Vandals Strike Historic East Texas Cemetery

A piece of East Texas history is broken in two as vandals rip through a historic cemetery. Sometime over the weekend, Winnsboro police say vandals pushed over several tombstones dating back to the 1800's and even broke some.  Now, the city is offering a reward hoping to stop the vandals from striking again.

For more than 20 years, Bill Jones has studied Winnsboro's City Cemetery, the final resting place for early town leaders, lawyers, soldiers from the civil war and even an Indian Princess.

"I became a member of the City Cemetery Foundation, and our goal was to restore the cemetery as much as possible and pass it on to future generations," said Bill Jones, president of City Cemetery Foundation."  It's the younger generation, Jones says he believes destroyed several of the cemetery's markers, pushing them over and breaking them in two.

"I don't think they realize what they are destroying when they desecrate a cemetery," said Jones. "I think they are just kids who are out for a good time, but when these markers are gone, that's it."  It's not the monetary value, but the stories behind the tombstones that concerns those who know the cemetery best. Stories like Nancy Cook who donated land in the 1850's to the railroad, which guaranteed the future of the Winnsboro community.

"It is very frustrating because these people, this was there monuments to their lives," said Jones. Jones says he will try to fix the broken tombstones. In the meantime, he says he hopes the vandalism will stop, so this piece of East Texas history will remain forever.

Vandalizing a cemetery police say is a state jail felony. The City Cemetery Foundation is offering a $500.00 reward for any information leading to an arrest. If you have an information call Winnsboro police.

Molly Reuter, reporting.