Divers recover bases, headstones from eroding cemetery

STARK, N.H. (AP) — Divers at a river recently recovered two large granite bases and five marble stones from a small New Hampshire cemetery that's had erosion problems for decades.

One of the monument bases that was once part of the Blake Cemetery in Stark weighs nearly 300 pounds, the Caledonian-Record reported. It took a team of people to move the stones from the Upper Ammonoosuc River.

No human remains were found in the river, said David Bryant of the Bryant Funeral Home in Berlin, which is storing the pieces for now.

The town has owned the cemetery since the 1940s. Its gravesites include several Revolutionary War soldiers. For decades, the river has slowly eroded the bluff adjacent to the cemetery. This year, it progressed to the point where human burial remains have been exposed, wrote Tom Donovan, the director of the Charitable Trusts Unit for the state attorney general's office.

Cemetery trustees said it would cost at least several hundred thousand dollars to try to stabilize the riverbank and bluff. They are working on a plan to relocate the graves, which would cost $50,000 to $60,000.