Vandals topple Confederate grave markers

May 23, 2012
By Dal Cannady


The stone marker for William Bowen stood more than a century through weather and time in Candler County’s Lake Church Cemetery. But a vandal’s callous moment left it on the ground. That’s hard for descendents like Hugh Daughtry to understand.

"I don’t have too high an opinion of this and hope they find who did this and deal a little old testament justice to them," Daughtry stated.

Volunteers from the cemetery committee found damaged markers Tuesday and called the sheriff’s office. Then, loved ones of other families found more damage Wednesday morning. They aren’t laughing at someone’s idea of a prank.

"Some of these monuments and markers, there’s no telling how old they are and they’ve been damaged. It could go into the thousands of dollars," assured Candler County chief investigator Melvin Ivey.

Bowen’s monument was one of several toppled from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Most are veterans or widows from the War Between the States. Hugh said his forefather, a private in the 9th Georgia Infantry, would not take such disrespect lightly.

"He had one of his arms almost shot on in the Battle of the Wilderness," Daughtry explained. "I don’t think he’d appreciate it wherever he is right now too much. And if he came back, he’d take care of this business with the one arm he’s got."

No explanation will satisfy him nor, he suspected, Private Bowen.

Some of the families with loved ones at Lake Church Cemetery are establishing a reward fund for information in the case.

Three teens were taken into custody Thursday in connection with the vandalism.

Dylan Sapp, 17, of Cobbtown, is in the Candler County Jail. Two juveniles a 12-year-old boy and a 16-year-old teenage girl are being taken to the Youth Detention Center in Claxton.

They face charges of second-degree criminal damage to property.

On Thursday, a monument company gave an estimate to cemetery committee of $2,500 to repair the historical cemetery markers.

Copyright 2012 WTOC.

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