Woman’s good deed to clean, document gravestones damaged them

DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. — A woman who was trying to preserve history has damaged it.

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The woman, whose name was not released, was cleaning gravestones at All Hallows Episcopal Church Cemetery to be able to document them for the Billion Graves project, the Capital Gazette reported.

The amateur genealogist scrubbed about 200 grave markers, some of which date back to the 19th century.

But her cleaning technique left the monuments with stripes that could cost the church $10,000 to fix.

Another cemetery at Davidsonville United Methodist Church also saw newly-cleaned headstones, the newspaper reported.

Neighbors reached out to the community via Patch looking for the people responsible for the cleaning, calling them vandals.

The Rev. Jeff Hual said the woman told him that she and another person scrubbed the gravestones, and didn’t know that they were actually damaging them.

The Billion Graves project documents cemetery data and is a database of headstone images. A coordinator for the group said it does not condone volunteers cleaning gravestones without permission, the Gazette reported.

For more on the history of the All Hallows Episcopal Church Cemetery, click here; and for the Davidsonville United Methodist Church, click here.