Historic headstones destroyed at Sierra Mountain Cemetery | SierraSun.com

Historic headstones destroyed at Sierra Mountain Cemetery

by Margaret Larson

Last Friday, Ollie Hunter discovered two old headstones kicked over and broken from what appears to be vandalism in Sierra Mountain Cemetery. Hunter is the groundskeeper of the historic cemetery, which is located in what is now called the ‘old Catholic cemetery’ near downtown Truckee.

The headstones of Anderson M. Walker and Mary E. Horton were discovered broken off at their bases, and Mrs. Horton’s headstone had been broken in two. Mr. Walker’s headstone says that he was 52 years and nine months old when he died in 1882, and it contains an epitaph which reads: Rest for the weary feet at last.

Mrs. Horton’s headstone says she died at 39 years of age in 1876 and that she was the wife of W.T. Horton.

“It is a real shame,” says Don Colclough, chairman of the Sierra Mountain Cemetery’s preservation committee. “Someone has to be sick to do something like this.”

Colclough says the cemetery is an integral part of Truckee’s rich history because many of the original settlers and historic characters of the town are buried there.

The apparent vandalism occurred sometime between last Thanksgiving Day and Friday, April 5. It wasn’t noticed until Friday because of the winter snows which blanketed the ground. “Now that they began to melt, and Ollie (Hunter) set about his work, he noticed them and we notified the police,” said ColClough.

The Truckee Police Department filed a report on the apparent vandalism and have the case under investigation.

Colclough says local mortuary owner Joe Aguera is researching methods for restoring the broken headstones. The value of replacement headstones is around $500 each. Colclough says, “However, due to their historic value, they’re really priceless. We hope Joe (Aguera) can find a way to put them back together.”

The Truckee Police Department has stepped up policing of the cemetery area.