The Desecration of Davenport Cemetery: What Is WRONG with People?

You know by now some of the reasons I like to visit graveyards:  the beauty, the history, the sense of peace I find there.

Well, sadly, my most recent cemetery visit left me feeling not enlightened and peaceful but ENRAGED.

I should have been more prepared, since I was told by the person who provided directions to this unmarked, off-the-beaten-path graveyard that he didn’t want to publicize its location due to past vandalism, but I was still taken aback by what I found.

Let me back up.  We found the trailhead without difficulty.  Our informant had told me that he himself went through and cleared the trail some years ago, for which we were grateful.  Passage is still relatively easy, and his directions were quite clear.
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We enjoyed wildflowers–and dodged MUCH poison ivy–along the way.  There were signs of human life left behind too, including several partly destroyed wooden structures the purpose of which I cannot even guess at, but of course I am curious.
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And then, at the top of a hill, by an impressive white oak tree, we found the graveyard–or what was left of it.
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This historical family graveyard, with graves dating back to 1840, has been systematically and brutally vandalized.
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As you know, I’ve written extensively about the problem of cemetery upkeep.  I’ve seen many neglected cemeteries with stones broken by the elements (or even cows!) or grown over with vegetation, but I’ve never seen anything like this.
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What kind of people think it’s fun to destroy not only a bit of their own local history, but basically wipe out the last remaining evidence that a living human person once walked the earth?  To me it’s almost like killing the person for a second time.
Go, if you would, to this find-a-grave entry to read a little about a wonderful man whose grave was desecrated, and wonder at the kind of people who would do this to his final resting place.
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I hope that when they are older and contemplating their own mortality they will look back on what they must have viewed as harmless hijinks with shame.

The rest of my cemetery blogging can be found right here.

8 thoughts on “The Desecration of Davenport Cemetery: What Is WRONG with People?

  1. Pingback: My Graveyard Stories | Life in Every Limb

  2. You’d be appalled by some of the stuff I’ve found in our local historical (and much neglected cemetery). I’ve found stuff from occult rituals (dead sacrificial animals and other things), chalked symbols, and butts from joints and other drug paraphernalia. It just sickens me that people have no respect for the deceased, just because the place is forgotten doesn’t mean it’s no longer a place of REST. This is such an interesting blog though! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This makes me so sad. We have a cemetery at the end of our road (out in the middle-of-nowhere country), with some folks dating back to the civil war, and every so often, bored subdivision kids come through like a tornado and try to push over some of the beautiful tall monuments. It makes me so sad.
    The Starving Inspired

  4. 2patkath

    Some of those graves are so old, how sad to see the vandalism. Your photos are lovely.
    Fridays Blog Booster Party #9

  5. Fred Morgan

    When I was around 12 years olds old in the year 1965 I stumbled upon the Davenport Graveyard. I was exploring the woods. At that time the Graveyard was intact There was a wrought iron fancy fence around it. One marker was tall. I could read the names and dates. One Husband and Wife and their infant children were laid to rest beside them . I wondered what caused the infants to die. While I was at UT Knoxville taking English 101 in the year 1971 I wrote my Assignment about my visit to the Davenport Graveyard. I titled my paper “Reflections in a Forgotten Cemetery”. My Freshman English Instructor was thrilled with my paper. She asked how I thought it up. I told her it was about actual experience there. There was a boy who went to South High while I did that in the latter 1960s he and some boys dug down and broke open a Gasket. They saw a skeleton inside and we’re scared to death.. He said they filled in the Grave and left. He said he had several nightmares afterwards. In the late 1970s or early 1980s I took a buddy there only to find the graveyard almost destroyed. It was a sickening sight. I found out in the 1990s from a boy who grew up on nearby Lippencott Street that a mean boy on the street did the damage. So sad and frustrating.

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