Tombstones Dating Back to 19th Century Found Dumped in Newburgh Ditch

44News did a little digging and discovered they're not from a local cemetery -- they've come from across the Tri-State. One originates from a cemetery in Evansville, but another came from a cemetery over an hour away in Union County, Kentucky.

Posted: Oct 22, 2021 9:48 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2021 10:51 PM

Kathy Short has walked Newburgh's paths countless times. She's known of the ravine off Water Street for a while now, but two weeks ago her husband got a closer look at what lies within.

"I was appalled," Short said. "When I saw it myself...it can't be this way, it can't. It has to change."

At least six tombstones dating back to the 1800s have been dumped in the ditch.

Some are easier to read, while others a little worse for wear. A graveyard for a graveyard.

"It leaves me speechless because I would not want to see anything like this with my family name on it down here," Short said.

There are a lot of questions. Where did these tombstones even come from?

44News did a little digging and discovered they're not from a local cemetery -- they've come from across the Tri-State.

One originates from a cemetery in Evansville, but another came from a cemetery over an hour away in Union County, Kentucky.

"Well if it's from Kentucky, what's it doing here?" Short said. "And the others...it's just a dump site."

44News later uncovered another one half buried in the sediment, The letters "F-R-E" engraved above "W-I-L-L-I" and the birth year of 1888 the only legible inscriptions.

That headstone seems to originate from a cemetery just across the river in Henderson. Though, just like the other two, it also seems to have a new stone in its place.

"Were they replaced because the tombstone were stolen? Were they replaced just to update?" Short said. "But, do the family members know where that first headstone went? I doubt it."

Who knows how long the grave markers have been there scattered among the forgotten pile of debris.

It's a bizarre mystery -- one Short is determined to uncover.

"It's just heartbreaking to me...it's heartbreaking to me," she said. "Who would just accidentally, individually drop off six tombstones at the same spot? It doesn't happen. It's not like that."

There's still so many questions.

How did the tombstones end up there? If and when will something be done about them?

44News will continue working on this story to bring you those answers.

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