Stolen historical marker turns up a few miles from its original place years later

CALLOWAY COUNTY, KY — A Calloway County official found a stolen historical marker while out looking at roadways Thursday.

Calloway County Magistrate Paul Rister likes to take a hands-on approach to issues in the community and regularly goes to look at culverts, bridges and roadways with possible issues.

While looking at drainage issues under a bridge on Hale Road in Murray, he noticed something odd.

The original “Civil War Sniper” marker was put up in 1965.

“It just kind of sparked my interest of — what is that?” Rister said, “And as I wiggled it loose, got the gravel off of it, I started to realize it was a historical marker.”

It ended up about 20 miles from its original spot on U.S. 68 in Trigg County.  The “Civil War Sniper” marker had been in place for over 50 years — but one day it disappeared.

People in the area assumed it was stolen. Jim Pearce Camp No. 2527 chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans raised money to replace it in May 2018.

Rister says he didn’t know anything about the history of the sign when he first found it and posted a photo on Facebook.

“I’ve had a lot of people post on it, had a lot of people contact me about the sign. I’ve had people who want the sign,” he says.

Paul Rister, Magistrate 4th District of Calloway County, KY

Each historical marker has a number and is originally sponsored by the Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Department of Highways.

The “Civil War Sniper” is a tribute to a man named Jack Hinson who swore revenge against Union Army when his two sons were executed as bushwackers.

For right now the marker will sit in the Calloway County Sheriffs Office storage unit.

“We need to make sure we give it back to the right person,” he said.

Since the original plaque was probably stolen, the Calloway County Sheriff’s Office told Rister they could keep it as evidence in a criminal investigation.