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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

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.

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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Police aim to identify washed up Otsquago Creek headstones

Thursday, July 10, 2014 - Updated: 9:39 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Tuesday, Schultz, a company doing restorative landscaping work along the Otsquago Creek, along with the New York State Department of Transportation, found 7-10 headstones and monument pieces of various sizes along the shore off Dairy St. An investigation by the Fort Plain Police Department to find the source is ongoing.

After discovering the stones while installing about 4,000 plantings, as ordered by the Army Corps of Engineers, Schultz and DOT employees contacted the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, who were 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 being just fragments of larger pieces, "are still there. They haven't been disturbed," said NYS DOT Region 2 Public Information officer Jim Piccola, who originally assumed "that during the flood last summer, they were carried down the creek."

Later in the day, 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 that the potential also exists that somebody dumped the stones along the creek.

The Fort Plain Police Department, who were unable to speak about the open case, contacted McFee Memorials' current owners Marianne and Dennis McFee, who were unsure 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 been owned by her in-laws, her brother in law, and herself and Dennis. The company, started in 1965, moved to its current location along Route 5S in 1995.

McFee noted that she'd been 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 anybody 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 Department officer surveyed the area, photographing each stone, which had been marked with pink material for easy identification.

     

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