Jailer charged with desecrating Civil War grave (North Carolina)

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Disagreement over whether a Civil War ancestor should lie beneath a Union or a Confederate headstone has led to the arrest of a Gaston County jailer, charged with desecrating the grave of the veteran.

A warrant was served Oct. 15 on Richard Hill, a detention officer with the Gaston County Sheriff's Department, Gaston County Chief Deputy Tim Farris said Monday.

The warrant was issued in Madison County, where the grave lies. It was taken out by Sheila Grindstaff of Mars Hill, a great-great granddaughter of the soldier.

According to the warrant, Hill, apparently a sixth-generation descendant, "tore down and removed a tombstone on the grave" of Stephen S. Shook, who is buried in a family cemetery behind Upper Laurel Baptist Church near Mars Hill, "then replaced the stone with a Confederate stone."

According to the warrant, Shook was "a Union soldier who died on June 10, 1902."

But before that he was a Confederate, the family agrees.
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