A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

History: Vandalism and Rose Hill Cemetery, 1975

Overturned headstones mark the acts of vandals at the Rosehiil Cemetery. Some of the stones weigh nearly a ton. Benjamin Bender (left) and Chester Surawski, caretakers at the cemetery, struggle to right one stone. The larger ones have to be placed with a crane.
Damage estimated at $50,000
Vandals hit cemetery again
by John Russell

MATAWAN BOROUGH  Vandals have attacked the historic Rosehiil Cemetery again and the damage can be seen on nearly every line of gravestones.

Damage has been estimated by some sources in the neighborhood at $50,000, and police have increased their patrols in the area.

Charles Schock, chairman of the Rosehiil board of trustees, indicated his frustration with the situation. "I don't know why some of the neighbors don't call the police," he said. At one time it was difficult to see into the cemetery because of overgrowth, but now the area has been cleared and there is a good view, according to Schock.

To repair the damage at Rosehiil properly is costly, according to the board chairman. The stones should be affixed with an apoxy glue for permanence, he said. Although he could not give an exact figure, he did say the cost could approach the $50,000 figure.

The brunt of the repair`costs would have to be born`by those who have relatives buried at Rosehiil, he said.

The most recent wave of vandalism began about a month ago, Schock said. More than half of the overturned stones were knocked down in the past month, he said. Some of the large stones weigh one ton or more, he said.

Another problem facing the cemetery, according to Schock, is the sale of vacant plots. There are approximately 60 plots available, he said, but when prospective buyers see the overturned headstones, they do not want to buy the plots.

This means a loss of revenue to the cemetery. He said the cemetery cannot afford to repair the headstones of abandoned graves until more funds are raised through the sale of plots.

Asked who he thought was responsible for the vandalism, Schock said, "It's somebody frustrated with society."

Source: The Independent, 15 October 1975, page 8

The letter to the editor below appeared on the next page of the same issue of The Independent:

Cemetery vandalism continues


My family marker in Rose Hill Cemetery has been pried from its based and toppled over. It weighs about two tons. Need it be said no small child or children could possibly do it.

It must stand to reason that the person or persons who did it are of knowledgeable age, who know what they are doing.

If and when the person or persons are caught and found guilty I intend to sue them for the cost of replacing the marker plus the mental anguish they have caused me and all others concerned, regardless of age.

It is about time that we, the family members of survivors of the dead buried in Rose Hill, band together through the Rose Hill Assn. and donate money towards a reward fund.

Perhaps this way someone will come forward and tell all and the guilty ones be made to pay.

Mrs. Francis L. Anson

Source: The Independent, 15 October 1975, page 9


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