Morgan Street Cemetery

Volunteers, including Tom Giffin, right, president of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, lift a large marker on Nov. 3 that had been knocked over by vandals at the Village Cemetery.

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BENNINGTON — When historic burying grounds in Vermont need fixing, Thomas Griffin is the person to call.

Griffin, president of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, will be joining a small army of volunteers at the historic Village Cemetery on Morgan Street on Saturday morning to repair the damage caused by some juvenile vandals earlier this month.

About 10 headstones were toppled and some broken in the incident, which resulted in a pair of young offenders being cited and ordered to appear in juvenile court. Griffin will be meeting with local volunteers at the cemetery at 8 a.m. and get to work.

It’s the second time in less than a year that the Village Cemetery has needed repairs. Vandals hit the same cemetery last October, damaging more than 200 markers. Volunteers from Bennington and throughout the region, including town staff, police officers, VFW members and community members, came to help clean up the mess and restore the damaged headstones.

Village Cemetery is home to the remains and markers of the people and the history of Bennington dating back before the American Revolution.

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Unfortunately, Griffin said, vandalism of cemeteries is becoming “too common.” On Friday, he and a group of 80 volunteers from General Electric in Rutland will be working to repair damage done in a cemetery there last fall.

“Vandalism is one of the biggest issues for cemeteries nationwide” he said. “The climate is bad enough. Vandalism seems to occur more often than we’d like to see ... I don’t think people realize what they’re doing.”

The work varies on the stone and the damage done, Griffin said. “If it’s just a giant piece of granite that fell over you put it back together. If it’s an old marble stone broken in several pieces, it takes some effort.”

Last fall’s effort in Bennington wasn’t difficult because many of the stones were simply knocked over and not broken, he added. “Each stone is different. If it’s not broken and damaged it’s a lot easier than if it’s broken in several pieces. Unfortunately, the older stones break easier, and you can fix them but they’re never the same.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Jonah Spivak at

Greg Sukiennik is Northshire editor for Vermont News & Media. Reach him at

Greg Sukiennik has worked at all three Vermont News & Media newspapers and was their managing editor from 2017-19. He previously worked for, for the AP in Boston, and at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass.


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