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Updated: Old Epping cemetery disturbed

Union Leader Correspondent

June 04. 2013 1:28PM
Officials are investigating to determine whether this old family cemetery off of Dimond Hill Road in Epping was recenty disturbed as the ground appears to have been ripped up and stones moved. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)

EPPING— Authorities are investigating to determine whether an old family cemetery in a wooded area off of Dimond Hill Road may have been disturbed.


Selectman James McGeough said he learned recently that a backhoe was in the cemetery and it appears that stumps were ripped out and stones moved.


Two headstones engraved with the names John and Harriett Dow, both of whom died in the 1870s, were also recently found dumped next to the Leddy crypt several miles away.


McGeough and Town Administrator Gregory Dodge said they believe those stones came from the cemetery along Dimond Hill Road — a dirt road off of North River Road.


"We need to look at it more closely. Gravestones are being dumped around town and we need to have a clear understanding of what's going on here. My own opinion is the whole thing is outrageous," McGeough said Tuesday.


Dodge said he was first told that the cemetery was disturbed during "cemetery maintenance."


At the time, Dodge said he looked into the situation and was told that cemetery trustees had jurisdiction. Police were also notified but said last week that it wasn't a police matter.


However, Dodge said Tuesday that he has since learned that selectmen have jurisdiction and that police will investigate the matter.


The state Attorney General's office is also involved, Dodge said.


McGeough said that while the cemetery is on private land owned by the Thayer family, the cemetery is considered abandoned, meaning the town has control over it.


"From the pictures we've seen we know damage was done, but the extent of the damage we don't know," McGeough said. "There's something wrong. This is not kosher as far as I'm concerned."

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