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One of America’s oldest cemeteries vandalized, and not for the first time

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WALLINGFORD--Eternal resting places are become increasingly more restless, including one of the oldest cemeteries in the state.

The Center Street Cemetery, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, dates back to 1683 and features some recognizable names.

"This is Moses Beach's monument," said longtime cemetery superintendent, Bob Devaney, who noted Beach was the founder of the Associated Press.

The 333-year-old burial site is also home to the original burial tablet of Lyman Hall, a Wallingford native who signed the Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia.

But, despite the history, it's apparently on a hit list.

"This was actually at the front of the cemetery," said Devaney, pointing out one of the damaged monuments he discovered recently. "As you can see, it's broken and snapped right in half."

That headstone dates back over 200 years.

"We've got to dig this out and really try to put it all back together," he added.

As with others that were dismantled in the spring, they do the best they can using epoxy filled with a limestone match.

"They need to be held accountable for this," said Devaney, as he drove a FOX 61 crew around the cemetery Thursday.

This morning, while he and his staff cleared leaves they found a heartbreaking discovery, just a day before Veterans Day.

"These are G-A-R markers that were put in for Civil War soldiers," he said, adding that they are extremely hard to fix because they are made of white metal.

However, near the latest vandalism they found evidence that police are using to try to bury a suspect.

"There were different articles of clothing and personal items that were left behind," Devaney said, without divulging what the items were, citing an ongoing investigation by Wallingford police.

Much to Delaney's delight, security cameras, perhaps even with night vision, will likely soon be mounted in several locations within the cemetery.

This past June another five gravestones were vandalized, at a cost of approximately $1,000, which the town had to cover.

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