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'Bodies on top of bodies'

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47of74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-16-10 11:31 AM
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'Bodies on top of bodies'
A 19th century Catholic cemetery in Dubuque that was supposed to have been closed with the bodies removed over a century ago was found to still have about 900 bodies contained within the grounds;

Buried in haste and panic during a cholera epidemic, many of the bodies were never recorded. Although archdiocesan records show about 800 burials at the Third Street Cemetery on Kelly's Bluff, all of which were supposed to have been removed a century ago or more, about 900 more burials have been discovered there since a man and his dog found a bone in 2007.

"There is no map of the cemetery and few markers are left. A monument was a luxury at the time, and even if they had wooden stakes as markers, those are long gone," said Leonard, of Leonard Funeral Home and Crematory.

As the superintendent of Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Leonard is overseeing the reburials at Mount Olivet.

Some of the burials were in graves aligned according to ancient Irish tradition -- head to the west and feet to the east so the dead would be ready to arise from their graves facing the sunrise on judgment day, Leonard said. But as disease and death spread among Dubuque's poor immigrant neighborhoods, it seems frightened families disposed of bodies by tossing them into mass graves on the bluff.
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