PLATTSMOUTH—In Plattsmouth’s Oak Hill Cemetery lies a grave with national historical significance.
Unfortunately, a tombstone that may signify the resting place for a Confederate soldier from the American Civil War has acquired so much moss and algae it is nearly impossible to read the name or any information about the person buried.
A second place where the soldier may lie, with a similar gravestone, is also unreadable because of that stuff.
This came as a disappointment to rural Plattsmouth resident and history buff Jim Pickette, who went out to the cemetery on Monday to find the grave.
About 25 years ago, Pickette and a friend were walking through that cemetery looking at the tombstones and reading their histories.
Suddenly, their attention came upon an old tombstone.
Upon reading it, they realized the man buried there was a Confederate soldier in the American Civil War, which would be confirmed later by a war historian.
The soldier’s name, whom Pickette couldn’t recall, did come from Louisiana and traveled north after the war. He apparently is the only Confederate soldier buried there, and indeed, very few Confederate soldiers are buried in Nebraska, he said.
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The gravestone where Pickette believes the man is buried also showed signs of vandalism with the tombstone tilted slightly sideward.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution for the removal of that stuff on the tombstone, according to city council member Morgan Muller.
“The problem we face is the enormous expense,” said Muller, who sits on a three-member committee that is temporarily overseeing cemetery operations. “Stone repair can be extremely expensive.”
To sandblast old tombstones could also end up destroying them, he added.
Muller also said that while vandalism has happened there, it is “not a serious issue.”
The fact that the old tombstone was tilted sideward could have been caused by movement in the soil over time, he added.
Mayor Paul Lambert said the city has no involvement in the cleaning of tombstones of any age at the cemetery.