The headstone of Arthur S. Thompson, found last week lying in the middle of a busy highway in Statesboro, has been recovered by family members, but the mystery of how it got there in the first place remains.
The headstone was found several miles away from where it was originally placed in an Emanuel County cemetery.
Henry Thompson of Swainsboro arrived at the Statesboro Herald office Wednesday morning to retrieve his father’s headstone, but he said he has no idea how the heavy marker found its way to Northside Drive West in front of Boyd’s Barbecue.
Ross Cairney, husband of Statesboro Herald employee Jennifer Morriss, spotted the grave marker as he was driving last week, and Morris had him pick it up and bring it to the office to find where it belonged.
A Statesboro Herald article published Tuesday resulted in a number of calls about the headstone. Many gave clues and offered history about the church where Arthur S. Thompson was believed to have been buried, but only the man’s son had any true answers.
Henry Thompson said his cousin called him to tell him about the article and gave him a number to call.
In 1999, Thompson and his family replaced the headstone with a new one for his parents’ grave at Union Primitive Baptist Church on Highway 56 in Swainsboro. The cemetery there is a private one belonging to the Riner family. Thompson said his maternal grandmother was a Riner.
“The monument company took the old headstone and must have (recently) gotten rid of it,” he said. “It must have fallen off the back of a truck or something.”
He doesn’t recall the name of that company, he said.
He plans to have the stone cleaned and will keep it. Thompson said he is the last of his family who is still living.
Thompson was 6 years old, and his family had just moved from Wrens to Swainsboro when his father died. Arthur S. Thompson worked at a gas station in Swainsboro near where the Dairy Queen stands today, and he passed away after having a massive heart attack while pumping gas there, he said.
Arthur S. Thompson, according to his grave marker, was born on May 22, 1912, and died on Jan. 31, 1964, 53 years ago.
Herald reporter Holli Del Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.