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Joshua Thomas Pieces of headstones found along Otsquago Creek Tuesday were either blank, or contained fragments of information, names and dates.

Joshua Thomas Pieces of headstones found along Otsquago Creek Tuesday were either blank, or contained fragments of information, names and dates.

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Gravestones wash up along upcounty creek

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - Updated: 10:15 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

For The Recorder

FORT PLAIN -- A company doing restorative landscaping work along the Otsquago Creek Tuesday, along with the state Department of Transportation, found seven to 10 headstones and monument pieces of various sizes on the creek bank off Dairy Street.

An investigation by the Fort Plain Police Department is under way to determine where the stones belong.

After discovering the grave markers while installing about 4,000 plantings, the landscaping company, Schultz, and DOT employees were directed by the Army Corps of Engineers to contact the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, which was able to decipher names on a couple of the weathered stones. The information was then turned over to the Fort Plain Police Department.

The stones, some just fragments of larger pieces, "are still there. They haven't been disturbed," said DOT spokesman Jim Piccola, who originally assumed "that during the flood last summer, they were carried down the creek."

Later in the day, the theory changed. Piccola was informed that McFee Memorials used to operate from a location just up the creek on Route 80 where the stones were discovered.

"We're thinking it could've been stones that washed down from the memorial service," he said.

Piccola added, "It seems more likely they're stones that have just been discarded ... remnants of this old monument place." He said the potential also exists that somebody dumped the stones along the creek.

Fort Plain police officers, who would not speak about the open case, contacted McFee Memorials' current owners Marianne and Dennis McFee, who were not sure about the origin of the stones.

Marianne McFee said, "It's very hard to distinguish where they originated from," as the business has changed hands numerous times since the owner operating it in the Route 80 location passed away in 1984.

The company, she said, has also been owned by her in-laws and her brother-in-law. The company, started in 1965, moved to its current location along Route 5S in 1995.

McFee said she was informed by police that two names were discovered on one stone, "Milton" and "Shirley." McFee said Tuesday afternoon she would soon contact the Fort Plain Cemetery Association to see if the names matched anyone buried there.

While a few of the stones contained no information, there were dates on others, including 1944, 1968, 1964 and 1990.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Fort Plain police officer surveyed the area, photographing each stone, which had been marked with pink ribbon for easy identification.

     

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