Destruction of cemeteries is a painful process for the family members whose relatives’ grave markers have been harmed. Is the thrill of doing something bad and maybe never getting caught what gives the perpetrators the right to cause this harm? Does being disrespectful of other people’s property ever cross their minds?
In June of this year, the 140 year old Glenwood Cemetery in Picton, Ontario was vandalized with headstones and monuments nearly being destroyed and 150 of them being toppled off their foundations. The cemetery estimated it would cost $150,000 to make all the repairs. Fund raising has begun.
Fortunately, my friend and helpful research colleague in Picton, John D. Lyons, went to the cemetery to inquire about Branscombe family records only to find out that their headstone had been harmed. Buried in this cemetery are Gena Branscombe’s father - Henry William Branscombe, her mother – Sara Elizabeth Allison Branscombe and their infant son - Allison Arthur Branscombe. Their headstone was broken off from its foundation.
Mr. Lyons informed the manager of Glenwood Cemetery that he was in contact with someone who knew descendants of the Branscombes. The cemetery manager had no known family contacts on file and was happy to hear the Branscombe headstone was not an “orphan”.
With the information John e-mailed me, I in-turn e-mailed Gena’s grandsons and great nieces. Family members took action by contacting the cemetery. We were informed of the amount of money it would take to have the Branscombe grave marker remounted on the foundation. In addition, the grave marker has metal inlays to the lettering which is rare and was expensive to have made in its day. The metal is tarnished and needs restoration work for an additional fee.
With family members and a few others contributing, the Branscombe headstone in the Picton Greenwood Cemetery will be remounted and restored. May those who lie beneath the headstone rest in peace knowing they are cherished. Their memory has been preserved by the Branscombe descendants.
*photos taken by John D. Lyons