EUSTACE, Texas (KETK) – A historic East Texas cemetery was severely vandalized Wednesday night with damage totals totaling six figures, according to Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse.
Around 8 p.m. on Wednesday deputies responded to damage at the historic Goshen cemetery near Eustace and found that 35 headstones worth $122,500 were destroyed.
“I don’t intend to let this stand. For the sake of the families with kinfolk buried there, I want these criminals caught and prosecuted.”Sheriff Hillhouse
Hillhouse also said that his office will be asking Crime Stoppers to offer a reward for the capture of those involved. He stated that those involved will be charged with felony criminal mischief.
The historic site remains the last physical evidence of the once-thriving town of Goshen.
This community was established after the Civil War.
Named for the biblical “Land of Milk and Honey,” the town of Goshen served the rural farms and communities as a marketing center, and it was a rest stop for trail drivers herding cattle on the Chisholm Trail from East Texas.
Goshen existed through the latter part of the 19th century. But merchants moved their businesses to nearby Eustace when the railroad made a stop there.
Local legend is the cemetery was founded when a nomadic cowboy became sick and died while working on a nearby ranch. A large grave and stone fence marks the burial place of the cowboy.
Many of the 450 graves are unmarked. The first documented burial is that of Benjamin G. Hooker in 1869. Among the marked graves are burials for several infants and children, pioneer settlers and their descendants, and veterans of America’s various wars.