The family cemetery, Smart's Chapel is a place not just for people to visit their loved ones, but it also holds the history and culture that led to what is now the city of Leesville.


The family cemetery, Smart's Chapel is a place not just for people to visit their loved ones, but it also holds the history and culture that led to what is now the city of Leesville.
A historically marked cemetery where the founder of Leesville resides, Dr. E.E. Smart, the Smart's Chapel has been there for over two centuries.
John Crook, director of Tourism for Vernon Parish, has reported that the cast iron corn stalk fence, dating back to the 1800s, has been stolen within the past month.
"This is the early history of our parish," he said. "It's just wrong for someone to steal this."
Stealing these rare and antique fences is a cultural theft, which is a federal offense, he said. The elaborate cast iron fence that has been stolen, used to surround the grave sight of John Gill, who was born in 1796 and died in 1864, and his daughter-in-law. These cast iron fences were brought in from New Orleans and date back to the 1800s.
Cook said he has filed a report with the Leesville Police Department and that he hopes they find whoever stole these antiques because they need to be returned.
"People still have family here," he said. "It just violates their resting place and this history is what brought us together."
Anyone with information regarding this theft, please contact John Crook at (337) 238-0783.