West Frankfort woman finds tombstone in flower bed - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

West Frankfort woman finds tombstone in flower bed

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FRANKLIN CO. -- A West Frankfort woman unearthed a unique piece of history, hidden in her front yard.

Christy Hemphill found a tombstone from the 1800s. Hemphill has been on a quest to find any family members since finding the grave stone.

But she also wonders what else is buried underneath.

"I wasn't expecting to find a tombstone in my front yard," she said.

For five years, Hemphill has worked on landscaping around her house. Monday, she decided to move some plants and while digging, she hit what she thought was a piece of concrete.

"When I found the curved edges on it, I was like, oh, my goodness. I'm like, I'm not really seeing this, am I?" said Hemphill.

About 10 inches in the ground, Hemphill discovered a stone slab, shaped like a tombstone.

She quickly stopped digging, unsure of what else she'd find.

"That stone has been underground for quite a few years. It was just completely black," she said.

Hemphill cleaned the stone to see if she could make out any markings or letters, but they were too hard to read.

She said it weighed at least 50 pounds, so she grabbed a piece of paper and pencil and began to etch out letters.

She stenciled the name Fox and the date, August 10, 1882.

"It was customary to bury their family on their property so I'm kind of wondering if maybe that might be a possibility," she said.

Hemphill says her house is only 70 years old, so she wonders what was here before.

"I would like to find out, if I can, the history. If we can get some family history off the the stone and if the people did live on this property at one time or if there was a little country church," said Hemphill.

A Bible scripture is also written on stone and it appears to be list two first names, possibly a husband and wife.

"I would like to see if there's any family in the area and possibly let them take the stone or the stone could stay in the flower bed if there's a grave there. I don't have a problem with that," added Hemphill.

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