The 4th of July is typically a time of celebration, barbecues with friends and family, games and fireworks. It is a time to show respect for those who fought for our independence some 200 years ago. This 4th of July was a bit different in the Utica area.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Department reported an incident in the township of Steuben at the long vandalized Penn Mountain Cemetery. The cemetery is one of the last remnants of the original Welsh settlement in the Penn Mount area among the forgotten stone walls and foundations. The church that used to accompany the cemetery is now little more than a flattened area near the graves.

Currently the Penn Mountain Cemetery is such a remote location that it has seen a lot of vandalism. Despite constant patrols by the Oneida County Sheriff's Department, the well known overlook 'party' spot less than a mile from the cemetery seems to encourage vandalism. Over the past year, the cemetery has seen the commemorative plaque stolen, obelisks knocked over, tombstones broken in half and the mausoleums, crypts, fractured.

The 4th of July damage focused mostly on breaking into the mausoleums and damaging the neighboring tombstones. In an interview with Susan Bartholomew, from the Remsen-Steuben Historical Society who also has family in the Penn Mountain Cemetery, she says "We try to keep them whole because they do commemorate the people who died, people who were early settlers to this region...and it's just very disrespectful that they're treated this way."

If you know anything about the vandalism you are encouraged to contact the Oneida County Sheriff's Department.

If you would like to help preserve this cemetery please contact the Remsen-Steuben Historical Society [Here]

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