Presentations text content in The 1912 Grave Desecration of the Milwaukee County Institut
The 1912 Grave Desecration of the Milwaukee County Institution Grounds Poor Farm Cemetery
Alexander W. AnthonyUniversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, 15-19 April 2015.
Symposium: People that no one had use for, had nothing to give to, no place to offer: The Milwaukee County Institution Grounds Poor Farm CemeterySlide2
Wisconsin Historical SocietySlide3
An Increasing Need For Space
The Investigation Begins
Milwaukee Leader 11/22/1912Slide7
Report Fennell Smith Testifies in front of the Special Committee
Milwaukee Leader November 21, 1912
Burrowing into the stack I pulled two of the coffins out and examined them. As I held one up, something dropped on my foot. When I picked it up I saw it was a human bone.
Milwaukee Leader 10/30/1912Slide8
Martin Sackmeister Testifies In Front of the Special Committee
I came to the almshouse cemetery every Sunday to visit the grave of my little child which the county had buried for me when I was poor and without work.Slide9
Milwaukee Leader 11/15/1912
The Grave Digger George KuczynskiSlide10
Some coffins had been excavated.A few human bones were found within one of these coffins.A photograph had been taken of the pile of coffins before work was completed. The workers had no intention of burning the pile.A skull had been placed on a fence post. No evidence that it had been used for bowling.The Board of Trustees held no blame.
The Findings of the Special CommitteeSlide11
Superintendent Bark previously reported the need for more burying ground. Had asked for and received permission to use plat of land that had been used as a cemetery 25 years earlier.Bark had cautioned grave diggers to return found remains to graves.Human remains had been found.Bark had failed to report finding human remains to the Board of TrusteesCommittee recommended enlarging the cemetery or building a crematory for “the disposal of bodies.”Slide12
7.5 Wauwatosa Quad 1958Slide13
1990s GLARC Excavation MapsSlide14
“Two years ago Mr. Bark said it would be necessary to use part of the old cemetery…” –Trustee T.J. Driscoll (Milwaukee Leader Nov. 22
And lo! The clay cried, ‘Use me tenderly, I was a man myself but yesterday.’Slide16