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Vandals damage more than a dozen headstones at historic Grantsville cemetery

Posted at 9:43 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-17 18:55:31-05

GRANTSVILLE, Utah — The Grantsville City Cemetery was established back in 1856. It is the final resting place for generations of families, like Gerald Millward's.

"The parents, the grandparents, the great-grandparents," said Millward. "They go back all the way to, I guess Andrew Vickers Millward was buried there in 1925."

Millward lives in Mesa, Arizona, but the 86-year-old has strong ties to Grantsville.

He came across pictures posted by Susan Orifici, the owner of Precious Stones Monuments and Restoration, on Facebook showing damaged and broken headstones at the cemetery.

"The first headstones that I saw were my great-grandparents," said Millward.

Grantsville Mayor Neil Critchlow said he received an e-mail late Wednesday night saying there had been some vandalism at the cemetery. He walked through the cemetery, taking a look at the damage done to the headstones.

"There's 16 or 17, that's what we're getting to right now," Mayor Critchlow said.

FOX 13 News walked along with Mayor Critchlow on Friday as he pointed out the damage that was done, specifically to headstones that date back to the 1800s.

"This is Hilda Erickson's headstone, and she is the last remaining pioneer," Critchlow said.

The city also flew a drone twice over the cemetery on Friday to get a better scope of the damage and take an inventory.

"Most of them are sandstone, and that's really hard to fix those," said Mayor Critchlow. "You can't repair those... These are from a lot of our very early settlers."

For those families personally impacted by the vandalism, like Millward, it's sad that somebody would go to these measures.

"It's like they haven't knocked over a piece of rock — they've kind of knocked over our history when somebody does something like that," said Millward.

Mayor Critchlow said police will be doing extra patrols in the area, and they are going to put new cameras up at the cemetery.

He asks anybody with information about what took place at the cemetery to call Grantsville Police at 435-884-6881.

Mayor Critchlow also says they are looking into offering a reward to help find those for the vandalism.