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Disturbing October 8, 2008 Newspaper Article in the New Castle News on a Grave Vandalism of a Roundhead, Edward Darley of Co. K, Contributed by Chuck Dean

 

http://www.ncnewsmedia.com/archive/tim_galleries/SPECIAL_PROJECTS_08/OCTOBER/Crypt_Theft/image1.htm

 

Civil War veteran pulled from tomb

By NANCY LOWRY
New Castle News  

Edward C. Darley was a Civil War veteran.

He served with the 100th Pennsylvania Volunteers — the famed Roundhead Regiment — and died Feb. 16, 1901, on a Chicago operating table. The 55-year-old's death resulted from improperly administered chloroform and his entombment at Oak Park Cemetery was delayed by the coroner's inquest.

On Sunday night, all that is left of Edward Darley — his skull— was pulled from its casket. It was found at 10 a.m. Monday on the grass outside the mausoleum.

The ivy-covered Darley mausoleum was one of three disturbed on Sunday night, New Castle police said. It was the only one the intruders entered.

"They smashed the lock on the door," cemetery superintendent Darrell Brightshue said. "Once inside, they smashed the marble faceplate and slid the casket out."

Police said intruders also tried to enter the mausoleum of John Knox, next to the Darley mausoleum, and the Devlin mausoleum, a short distance away.

According to police, the front doors of the Darley mausoleum were ripped open and broken and the coffin inside was pulled form its resting place, ripped open and contents spilled onto the mausoleum floor.

Brightshue does not think the vandals got anything more than a thrill.

"(Darley) has been in there more than 100 years," Brightshue said. "In that time, the bones decompose. Only the skull is really left — the skull and remnants of the clothes he was buried in."

Brightshue said he and his helpers returned the skull to what is left of the casket, which also is decomposing, and pushed it back into place.

"It went in easily," he said. "It probably came out just as quickly and the skull bounced out at them and scared them."

Brightshue also pieced together the smashed marble nameplate over the casket and secured the mausoleum door with a chain.

Other remains in the Darley mausoleum include those of the veteran's wife, Mary Elnora (1845-1912), his son William (1870-1928) and T. Edward Jenkins (1894-1949). They were not disturbed, Brightshue said.

He does not believe any family members are left. "In the 17 years I've been here, I've never seen flowers, wreaths, anything."

He said a Christmas wreath is placed on the Knox mausoleum each year, and recent entombments were made in the Devlin mausoleum.

"On that one, they broke glass in the door, but it is secure."

Family members already have replaced the glass, he said. A screen at the back of the Knox mausoleum is ripped, but Brightshue believes that damage is not recent.

"I've never seen cemetery vandalism as bad as it is now," he said. "Now, they're taking brass vases and flag markers, but until now no one's ever broken into ... the mausoleums."

Brightshue said Oak Park maintains nearly 90 acres with an estimated 25,000 graves and seven mausoleums. Most are in good shape and secure, he said.

He could not estimate the amount of destruction caused by the vandals, he said, but does not think they were looking for valuables.

"I just think they came here to do destruction."

Brightshue said he would like to see more police patrols through the cemetery to discourage more nightly roaming by vandals.

"Eight years ago, I had New Castle, Neshannock Township and state police cars swinging by on a regular basis," he said. "But now, they've all had cutbacks.

"They do what they can, but they just don't have the manpower."

In his lifetime, Edward C. Darley was recognized as a leading construction engineer.

According to his obituary — published in the New Castle News on Feb. 18, 1901 — he was the son of British railroad construction engineer W.G. Darley, who had surveyed and determined the route of the New Castle-Beaver Valley railroad between New Castle and Homewood. The family settled in New Castle, living in a house at Jefferson and North streets.

On Feb. 27, 1864, at age 18, Darley signed on to a three-year commitment with the Union Army.

He served in Company K of the famed Roundhead Regiment — the 100th Pennsylvania Volunteers. On April 1, 1865, he was promoted to corporal and mustered out with the company on July 24, 1865, as a sergeant. He was not yet 21.

The Roundheads unit took its name from the fact that its members were descendants of English and Scottish settlers of the area.

The original Roundheads were supporters of the Parliamentary party in the English Civil War (1642-49) who had followed Oliver Cromwell.

Darley left New Castle after the war, settling first in St. Louis where he oversaw construction of the Carondalet Iron Plant and the Crystal City glass plant factory, said to be one of the first places in the United States where glass was successfully made.

He was construction superintendent on many of the largest iron and steel plants of the United States and associated for many years with James P. Witherow and Co. of Pittsburgh.

Darley made a reputation for building blast furnaces, constructing them for the Watts Iron and Steel Co. of Middlesboro, Ky., Oswego Iron and Steel Co. of Ashland, Wis., and the Vulcan Iron Works of St. Louis.

Darley suffered from a throat ailment and underwent surgery the week before he died. When the result was not entirely successful, a second surgery was done. He never regained consciousness from the anesthetic and died in Chicago on Feb. 16, 1901. He was 55.



 

 

 

 

 

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