By Robert Kalinowski , Citizens’ Voice Staff Writer

In Plymouth Borough, Plymouth officials are in disbelief. They are also mad and determined.

On Wednesday, they learned a nostalgic Civil-War-era cannon was stolen from the Shawnee Cemetery, off Mountain Road in the borough.

Now, they are doing everything they can to get it back.

The half-ton iron cannon was one of four, linked by metal chains that surrounded the graves of veterans of the Civil War, Spanish American War and World War I.

It was a memorial put in place back in 1896 – one that was left undisturbed until earlier this week when someone, apparently using a chainsaw, cut through two steel posts supporting the cannon and took the 1,000-pound artifact.

When Mayor Dorothy Petrosky first heard that the cannon was missing she said she was astonished.

Petrosky said it probably would have taken a lot of time to plan the theft, which occurred on "sacred ground."

"It’s really a shame that people would actually do something like that," Petrosky stated.

The mayor said the police department has launched an investigation and a reward has been set in an attempt to locate the cannon.

Petrosky noted the theft has many residents unsettled: It occurred in an area where some of their ancestors were buried over the past century.

"There’s a lot of pride connected with that cemetery and the people involved with it feel heartbroken. Something like that is irreplaceable," she said.

One person who feels torn about the cannon being stolen is Janice Williams, chairwoman of the Community Improvement Project of the Plymouth Woman’s Club.

"I am in shock. It is devastating," said Williams, who, along with a group of other volunteers, has done maintenance work at the cemetery for about 10 years.

"People are very upset about this. It was a beautiful monument," she said.

Williams said the cannon has symbolic and historical significance; it was used in the Civil War and later confiscated from Confederate soldiers by the Union Army.

Plymouth Police Officer Ryan Williams said the theft has caused "a lot of community outrage."

The department is actively looking for the person or persons responsible, the officer said.

Williams encouraged anyone with information about the incident to contact Plymouth police at 779-2147.

©The Citizens Voice 2004

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