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Missing headstone reappears

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox
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Timothy Nealon might have enjoyed his recent time in the spotlight.

The Irish immigrant was a plasterer by trade, and died in Glenwood Springs in 1915 at the age of 77.

A Glenwood Springs saloon owner and a taxidermist paid for Nealon’s burial. The simple, white, marble headstone listed only Nealon’s name, year of birth and year of death.



Obituaries in the Glenwood Post and Avalanche at the time referred to Nealon as a “unique character,” said Frontier Historical Museum registrar Willa Soncarty.

“For nearly three decades, he was a familiar sight on Glenwood’s streets,” Soncarty said.



Nealon has rested in obscure peace at Linwood Cemetery for 88 years, but Soncarty put his name in the news two weeks ago when she and museum volunteers toured the cemetery, then reported his headstone was missing.

“Timothy Nealon’s headstone has been disrespectfully snapped and stolen from its base,” Soncarty wrote in the Glenwood Post Independent’s Options section.

Soncarty and Frontier Historical Museum director Cindy Hines put the word out that they want Nealon’s headstone, and any others that have been stolen, to be returned, “no questions asked.”

The Post Independent took the headstone and ran with it Monday, dispatching photographer Kelley Cox to photograph the cemetery for an article about Nealon. On her excursion to the cemetery, she found and photographed Nealon’s tombstone.

Although Nealon’s headstone isn’t missing after all, someone else’s is.

“We’re trying to figure out who it is,” Hines said.

The Linwood Cemetery, located on a hill on the east side of town, was Glenwood’s first cemetery. Its best known occupant is gunslinger Doc Holliday. Approximately 500 Linwood burial plots are occupied, according to a plat map from the 1940s, Hines said.

The museum’s cemetery committee was working off the plat map during a tour Dec. 12 when they noticed one headstone, which they believed to be Nealon’s, was gone. The map lists some plots by name, while others are listed as occupied or vacant.

“We must have been looking at the wrong plot,” Hines said.

In any case, dozens of Linwood Cemetery headstones have been stolen over the years, and the museum would like for them to be returned, along with fences and gates that have been ripped from the ground.

Hines is especially fond of Chinese headstones she remembers from the 1970s that are now all gone.

“I have no idea why people take these headstones,” Hines said. “Maybe people put them in their gardens.”

The Frontier Historical Museum is located at 1001 Colorado Ave. At the time Nealon’s headstone was believed missing, Soncarty asked for it to be gently placed in the museum’s front yard.

For details on the return of missing artifacts from Linwood Cemetery, call the museum at 945-4448.


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