Local cemetery vandalized, stones dating back to 1700's

Holland, OH - The Springfield Township Cemetery is filled with graves dating back from before the Civil War, but due to an act of vandalism, many of them are now laying on the ground.

The cemetery is the final resting place of many who were here before the city was founded. But whoever is responsible for desecrating these grave stones in the overnight hours Wednesday[July 10], didn't respect their history.

"Some of the earliest settlers in this area are buried here," says Mike Hampton, Director of Public Service in Springfield Township.

Dozens and dozens of head stones were knocked from their bases. Some still fully intact, but other were in pieces.

Judging by the randomness of the vandalized markers, the culprits seemed to have no agenda, other than tipping over any grave they could.

"Some of these stones that they have damaged are very heavy. So it took a group of them, or some brute strength to knock some of these over," says Hampton.

Those responsible would not have known that a man named Alonzo S. Akins fought and died fighting in the civil war. Or that, in 1906, almost 50 years after the end of the Civil War, Akin's light artillery company had a reunion where they honored those killed. Akins grave marker, which reads that he died in 1864, was one of the markers that was vandalized. And that is just one of hundreds of stories that the cemetery could tell.

Hampton says he only hopes this was just a one time thing, and that it was not done by adults.

He says, "I hope it's that case where it's a random group of youngster who wanted to get out and have some fun, and they thought this was fun."

The police were able to get fresh footprints at the scene. Also, a pen was found near one of the tipped graves that has been turned in for fingerprinting.

The township says it will restore all the graves that were damaged no matter if they have any living descendants.

The good news is that, due to all the rain, the ground was very soft, and helped cushion the fall of many grave stones and minimized damage.

There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.