More Unmarked Graves Found in Herrin

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By Matthew Searcy

HERRIN -- A new excavation at the Herrin City Cemetery has revealed another 15 unmarked graves.  

In all, historians have unearthed dozens of final resting spots that city leaders didn't know were there.
 
"We uncovered two more massacre victims, one with a body in the coffin and the other had been exhumed," said historian Scott Doody.  
 
His team has now discovered eight victims of the 1922 Herrin Massacre, the other six located last fall. However, it's not just massacre victims that are being unearthed.  
 
"Approximately 15 or 20 unmarked graves were discovered over the last couple of days," explained Doody.  
 
He says the graves are unrelated to the Herrin Massacre and estimates there have been 40 graves found since digging began. 
 
"We were able to do two things at once, continue our work on the massacre victims and help the city mark previously unknown graves," said Doody.  
 
Leaders say what happens to the graves will be up to the families who now own the lots where the massacre victims were found.  
     
"A lot of those lots out there have been sold to families," said Herrin alderman Bill Sizemore. "We will go through each family on an individual basis and we will direct our energies towards whatever their concerns might be, hopefully, to satisfy everyone that is involved in those lots out there." 
 
Doody believes even more graves could be located this fall, as the excavation continues.  
 
"Every time we work in the cemetery we are able to put a tighter pattern together," said Doody. "Unfortunately, it happened back in 1922 and none of us were there. We are turning back the hands of time every time we can get in the ground and go back through history."
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