Update: Broken headstones in local creek may be used to help fight erosion

View Map

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- Saturday, August 12 update:
After our story aired Friday night, we received a message from a local businessman who works on monuments. He says the stones may have likely been placed in the creek by a local monument shop to help fight erosion in the creek. He says the discarded stones are used because of misspellings or damages - or possibly something a family no longer wanted to purchase.


Original story
Established more than 149 years ago, the Bryan City Cemetery is a historic resting place for many families of the Brazos Valley.

Some headstones even date back to the 1800's.

After Cherith Smith's grandfather, Thomas Thoose, passed away in 2000 from a heart attack, the Bryan native was laid to rest in the City Cemetery.

"They used to live in Bryan, but my grandmother moved to West Texas, so I try to come out here as much as possible," explained Smith.

When she visited her grandfather's grave site on Tuesday, she heard noises from across the creek that caught her attention.

After walking over towards the sound, she looked down at the creek and noticed broken headstones at the bottom.

"We came over here just to look at, look at his grave, see what we need to do to clean it up and that's when we saw headstones," said Smith.

Smith says she saw names and dates on the broken headstones, which was alarming to her.

"To know that your loved one is here and there's tombstones with names in a creek right next to where you're loved one is, it's just, I can't explain it," added Smith.

What concerned Smith the most was that some of the headstones seemed to be fairly new.

"I feel like that one right there is a whole one. Do you see that? It looks like a whole tombstone. I think it says Barbara," said Smith.

KBTX reached out to the city about the issue but did not receive a statement.

According to Bryan's Code of Ordinances, Section 22-4, the city is not responsible for the purchase, erection, repair, or replacement of monuments, headstones, markers, or any other item on a burial space.

But the city does have the right to straighten or level the items listed above, if they are unsafe or unsightly.

That leaves little explanation for how the headstones ended up in the creek.

Smith hopes the family members who purchased the headstones for their loved ones are aware of the situation.

"I don't think that's right. It shouldn't be there," said Smith.

The city of Bryan's ordinances also state that if any headstone is in violation of city requirements, it can be removed.