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110-Year-Old Tombstone Stolen From Cemetery In Breckenridge

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A photo of the stolen tombstone (credit: Jen Baldwin, Ancestral Journeys, ©2011-2013)

A photo of the stolen tombstone (credit: Jen Baldwin, Ancestral Journeys, ©2011-2013)

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Police are trying to find the person who stole a historic headstone from a grave in the high country that’s been around for 110 years.

Genealogist Jen Baldwin volunteers by giving tours at the cemetery in Breckenridge. She said there are only about five or so remaining wooden headstones. The missing headstone is for Bertha Welch. It’s unique because it has withstood the elements over time and is the last one that is still legible. Now it and all the history are gone.

“It was never down in the ground, it was just sitting between these rocks,” Baldwin said.

It was just over a week ago when Baldwin noticed it was gone.

“I walked around the corner and she was gone,” she said. “She’s part of my regular tour and she just disappeared.”

Welch was a 20-year-old mother who was abandoned by her husband.

“She had kind of a tough couple of years,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin pointed to a 1903 article from the Summit County Journal that called Welch’s death sad and explained her journey to wind up at the cemetery.

“She came back to Breckenridge, found a job, moved in with a nice family, had some friends, and she died from complications of giving birth,” Baldwin said.

Welch’s family in California they said to bury their daughter in the cemetery that dates back to 1880. There are other wooden headstones nearby, now unreadable.

“I hope it’s not really stolen, I hope it’s just missing,” Baldwin said. “In my opinion it’s incredibly priceless. There’s no number you could ever put on a piece of history like that.”

The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance said it’s the first known case of vandalism at the cemetery. Breckenridge police are hoping someone has some information.

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