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The Dartmouth
April 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Vandals strike again at Old Dartmouth Cemetery

Vandals struck the Old Dartmouth Cemetery again last month, leaving behind several damaged gravestones, but no leads, according to Acting Hanover Town Manager Jean Ulman.

"Four stones were knocked down and two previously repaired ones were damaged ... a few beer cans were also found in the area," Ulman said.

The town does not know yet if all of the gravestones can be restored, because "repairs will have to wait for the summer," Ulman said. The cost of the damage also has yet to be assessed, she said.

Hanover grounds superintendent William Desch discovered the vandalism on October 30 during a routine maintenance tour of the cemetery, Ulman said.

Last month's incident marks the second instance of vandalism at the cemetery in 18 months.

The last attack occurred in June 1994, when 13 stones were overturned and had to be restored at a cost of $10,000.

Beer cans were found both times near the damaged gravestones.

The recent damage was done "in the same part of the graveyard as last time," Ulman said.

However, there is no reason to believe that the two incidents are linked, she said.

"This is a common type of vandalism," Hanover Police Captain Chris O'Connor said. "The location of the cemetery attracts some [foot] traffic."

At the same time, the graveyard is vulnerable because it is a relatively secluded area, O'Connor said.

The stones were all small enough so that a single person could have been responsible for toppling them, but there are no hints as to how many vandals were actually involved, according to O'Connor.

Hanover Police has no witnesses or suspects in this case and it will probably remain unsolved, O'Connor said.

"It's unlikely that we'll find [the vandals] or any leads, unless someone can identify someone else as having been there," O'Connor said.

The cemetery was established in 1771 by College founder Eleazer Wheelock and is the final resting place for late College presidents, professors, students and local townspeople.