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Restored piece of history brings family to Grantsville Cemetery, months after headstones were damaged

Posted at 5:46 PM, May 27, 2024

GRANTSVILLE, Utah — More than a dozen headstones were vandalized at the Grantsville City Cemetery back in February.

Police were able to identify those responsible for the damage a week later. However, it has taken months to restore and repair what was damaged at the historic cemetery, which opened in 1856.

Grantsville Mayor Neil Critchlow said they had someone with the state come in and restore many of the headstones that were in need of repair.

"It really only took a few hundred dollars worth of materials to restore everything and put them back where they belong. That gave us a chance to raise the bases and put them where they are," Critchlow said.

The mayor told FOX 13 News that the goal all along was to have everything repaired by Memorial Day — which they achieved.

Many people came to the cemetery on Monday to visit and lay flowers at the graves of their loved ones.

For the Millward family, it was a chance to come together.

"I had 105 people respond. There were many people that were here," said Jill Millward Juchau, who helped organize the reunion.

With more than a hundred family members from Utah, Arizona, Idaho gathered together, their reason for meeting at the cemetery was centered around a covered-up headstone.

"Her name was Louisa Jane Eastham and she married Andrew Vickers Millward," said Millward Juchau.

The headstone was one of the several damaged during the vandalism in February.

"I just felt like I had to do it, you know, I had to do it because it was my family," said Jason Millward, a great-great-grandson of Andrew Vickers Millward.

Millward is a sculptor and instructor at Utah Valley University. He took it upon himself to work on restoring his family's headstone.

"I think if I add up the hours, it comes out to about three weeks, full-time," said Millward. "Everything has been carved down about an eighth of an inch trying to stay completely true to the original design, the original lettering fonts."

Millward unveiled the finished product to his family Monday afternoon.

"That was very rewarding... More rewarding than I thought it would have been," he said

While the act of vandalism damaged a piece of their family history, the Millwards found plenty of good through the process of getting this headstone back in its place.

"Now we have a reason to get back together, you know, person to person, and meet each other again," said Millward.

He said someone at the unveiling announced they were already planning another family reunion for next year in Boise, Idaho.