Gaston County police said someone damaged 13 headstones in a cemetery over the weekend, including the marker at the grave of the man who reportedly was the last person born a slave in the county.
The vandalism took place late Friday or early Saturday at the cemetery in the 2900 block of Dallas-Stanley Highway, near the Stanley city limits. The cemetery is shared by Springfield Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, police said.
Among the stones toppled was the gravesite of Theodore Abernethy. According to historical records, Abernethy was born a slave in 1862. He died in 1935.
Police ask that anyone with information in the case contact them at 704-866-3320. Or information can be left with Crime Stoppers, 704-861-8000.