I'm angry tonight. That's something you won't hear me say very often. It takes a lot to make me truly angry. This afternoon it took one phone call.
My dear friend, Judy, a hard-working member of the Caddo Civic and Cemetery Club called to tell me that the cemetery has been vandalized. I immediately drove out to see the damage for myself and was heartbroken to see that one of the oldest and most elaborate headstones had been broken. It graced the graves of John and Susan Hancock. I will write a longer piece about Mr. Hancock on my Caddo site, but I will briefly tell you that he was an early editor of the Caddo Herald and his son was a prominent merchant. Mr. Hancock was also a tax collector for Colorado county, Texas and his home is still there and is an historical landmark.
However, even if he was the town drunk, his headstone and all the others deserve respect. Generations of Caddo women, beginning with the group formed by Mrs. Bilbo in 1903, have dedicated their lives to preserving and beautifying the cemetery. Families have spent their hard-earned money to buy burial plots and headstones to honor their loved ones. How dare someone destroy that! And for what purpose? What could you possibly gain from knocking over a headstone?
Apparently at least thirty headstones have been toppled and some of those were broken in the process. It will take a tractor and time and effort to raise some of them back up. It will take money to repair some of them. I'm not sure Mr. Hancock's can be repaired. Also among those toppled was the headstone of Mr. Ahrens, the only victim of the 1900 downtown fire. I will take photos of the damage tomorrow.
I certainly hope the people who did this were drunk or high on meth and didn't realize what they were doing. I can't imagine someone doing it with a clear head. I really can't imagine someone planning to do it.
I'm supposed to meet with the news crew tomorrow to give them some information about some of the graves. I'll keep you posted, especially if the police find the criminals. I really want to hear their excuse for this.