Warrick Cemetery Issues

Warrick Cemetery Issues

Warrick Cemetery is back in a field in West Lincoln Township less than a mile south of the Lincoln Correctional Center and the Logan Correctional Center, two “adult facilities” — in plain English they are prisons, medium security.

Warrick is a small, old family cemetery administered by the Logan County Cemetery District. Bill Stephenson, a Warrick descendant whose Black Hawk War ancestors are among those buried there, complained that the cemetery has been poorly treated.

The district is pretty good at taking care of cemeteries, even those that are rarely visited. Naturally those that get more visitors get more attention but all get mowed at least a couple times a year.

Bill told me the stones in Warrick have been pulled up and placed in a pile. This stunned me. He says he is not aware of any plot map of the cemetery so, even if the intention is to replace the stones, there is no way they can be returned to their proper location. The Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society may have some pictures but no map.

But Illinois law would seem to prohibit such removal of markers. From the “Illinois Historic Cemetery Preservation Handbook” issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency [June 2008]:

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) administers the Human Skeletal Remains Protection Act (20 ILCS 3440; 17 IAC 4170). This Act, passed in 1989, protects all unregistered graves, graves artifacts, and grave markers (including prehistoric burial mounds) that are over 100 years old and are not located in a cemetery that is registered with the State Comptroller’s Office under the Cemetery Care Act. The Human Skeletal Remains Protection Act offers protection from all disturbances including, but not limited to, excavation (including cultivation), vandalism, removal, defacement, or desecration in any way
(20 ILCS 3440/1). It is the agency’s preference that graves or cemeteries be undisturbed and preserved in place.

and further:

It is unlawful for any person or agent representing an individual to knowingly disturb or to allow the disturbance of human skeletal remains, grave artifacts, or grave markers without first obtaining a permit from the IHPA. Any violation of this Act is a Class A misdemeanor. Violators can face imprisonment of up to six months and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Any subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony (20 ILCS 3440/3-11).

I mentioned the two prisons in case the county or state is considering expansion and plans to relocate the cemetery. That has been done before. But the prisons would seem to be too far away for that to be practical and the local farmers are not aware of such a plan.

Stay tuned.

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