Mass Grave Discovered by Construction Worker in Pennsylvania

Mass Grave Discovered by Construction Worker in Pennsylvania

21:41 16.08.2015Get short URL

While working on a roadway in Pennsylvania, a construction crew unearthed a mass grave that had been untouched for more than 100 years.

Historians believe the bones buried along Route 61 in Schuylkill Haven, Penn., belong to some of the more than 1,600 county residents who lost their lives to the Spanish influenza in 1918.

In describing the intensity of the outbreak to news station WNEP, Tom Drogalis of the Schuylkill County Historical Society said, “There was a genuine panic. Everything closed — schools, hospitals, the only thing left open were drug stores.”

The death toll was so high and rapid that it wasn’t uncommon for people to bury the bodies in fields with no marker.

“They did, indeed have several mass potters’ graves, if you will, at the time,” Drogalis said. “And one of them was identified as being in Schuylkill Haven.”

The property on which the mass grave was found belongs to Joan Bachman and her husband. Both had heard rumors about the burial ground when they purchased the land in 1997.

“They told us it possibly could have been a burial ground from many, many years ago, 100 years ago,” Bachman said.

Crews are excavating the bones and forensic crews will run tests to identify whom they belonged to. The results could take weeks, but county officials plan to hold proper burials for the deceased after research is complete.

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