JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — “I think they just about fixed all of them,” said Jo Ann Oren. Headstones and grave markers dating back to the 1800’s were smashed and broken. Jo Ann’s great-grandmother’s grave was one of them. “They were all turned over. It was a like a jigsaw puzzle.” She told Action News about the vandalism at St. Joseph’s cemetery back in January. The City of Jacksonville mows and trims the trees there, but they told us the damage was beyond their repair. “We just want to make sure these people aren’t forgotten,” said Calvin Hart. Calvin volunteers with the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. They spent last Saturday restoring many of these headstones. “We’ve got governors. We’ve got mayors, war veterans, war heroes. This is an open history book,” said Hart. Repairing the damaged markers would have cost thousands, but Hart says knowing they helped preserve a part of Jacksonville’s history is worth so much more. “Each one of them have a story to tell, and they are worth recognizing,” said Hart. And though the bodies buried at St. Joseph’s are long gone, this will help make sure they are not forgotten. The city plans to put up a sign at the entrance to remind people it is a state felony to desecrate any cemetery.
On Saturday, June 21st, members of Kirby-Smith Camp #1209 met at Old City Cemetery in downtown Jacksonville for our monthly work day. After picking up trash in the cemetery and surrounding streets, we discussed future projects within the cemetery. Afterwards, we retreated to Confederate Park to pick up trash there as part of our community service. Thanks to all those who attended. Because of your support we have been able toachieve so much so far.