BANGOR, Maine — The burial marker for Sarah E. Munson, who died in 1872, was stolen from the Lakeview Cemetery in Hampden and had sat for years with two other stolen gravestones in a Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department evidence room.
Sheriff Glenn Ross asked for the public’s help in October with returning the three unclaimed tombstones to the cemeteries where they belong, and tips led to Munson’s stone being returned, he said Tuesday.
“We did get a lot of public help,” he said.
Two of the burial markers are headstones and one is a family marker with the name Dean on it. All three had been collected over the years in connection with three thefts, Ross said.
“One of [the headstones] has been returned to Hampden and the other one, the infant child, we’re having the town of Dexter research,” he said. “We know the child lived in Dexter. Both the parents were buried in Bangor, but the infant child was not.”
Dexter cemetery sextons are looking into whether there are records that show the infant was buried in that town before the family moved to the Queen City around 150 years ago.
The girl’s gravestone is thin and about a foot wide and reveals that Alzada A., daughter of Isaac E. and Mary C. Fifield, died Oct. 3, 1850, at age 7 months.
“Adieu, sweet babe. Thy pains are over, we soon shall meet to part no more,” an inscription at the bottom states.
Munson’s stone is much larger — a little more than 2 feet wide and about 3 inches thick. It states that Sarah E., wife of Russell S. Munson and daughter of Samuel & Eliza S. Jackson, died on Sept. 13, 1872, at age 23 years and 9 months.
Her stone was returned to the Lakeview Cemetery about six weeks ago, Ross said. It now sits beside her mother’s headstone, which is beside her father’s marker.
The census from 1860 states that the Jacksons lived in Hampden and Sarah was 11 at the time. She had three siblings living at home at the time — William, 21, Eliza, 17 and Ezekiel, 15 — and her mother had died and her father had remarried. The 1850 census showed she also had five siblings living at home, the ones listed and two older sisters, Mary, 16, and Betsy, 18, who probably moved out sometime in the next decade.
In addition to Munson’s parents, an older sister who died before she was born, also named Sarah, also is buried at Lakeview Cemetery.
Samuel Jackson died on Feb. 26, 1881, Eliza Jackson died March 16, 1855, and her older sister Sarah died on Dec. 21, 1844, just before age 12, according to a listing of the Lakeview graves on the USGenWeb website.
The census states Samuel Jackson was a farmer and owned land valued at $1,000. No Munsons are listed in the census document in Penobscot County during 1870.
The third stone is a family grave marker bearing the name Dean that was taken as evidence in January 1992 when then-Bangor resident Samuel Hartley, age 24 at the time, was charged in a string of crimes, including felony illegal possession of a gravestone.
Hartley “had been on a [crime] spree and doesn’t remember” where it came from, Ross said in the October Bangor Daily News article. “We never were able to determine where it came from.”
The charges against Hartley of illegal possession of a gravestone were dismissed in a plea agreement, but he was sentenced to six years in prison for the other crimes he committed during his 1991 crime spree, according to previous Bangor Daily News articles.
The Dean family marker has no dates or other information on it that would help officials find where it was stolen from, Ross said.
“We believe we’ll never know” where that stone came from, he said. “I don’t know what to do with that one.”