Search for the Herrin Massacre victims' graves continues

HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - Researchers from Southern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University began their second day of digging at the Herrin City Cemetery on Monday morning.

They began their search by probing the areas in and around their target location for the graves of the non-union coal miners killed in a shootout in July of 1922, and then buried in the Herrin City Cemetery.

Once they had marked off several areas and marked some of the unmarked graves in the Potter's Field section of the cemetery.

After the second hole was dug researchers still hadn't found any signs of the coal miners graves.

But, they say there's still a long way to go.

"A lot of these lots in Block 15 are owned by a funeral home. The state paid the funeral home to bury indigent people here even up into the late 80's and early 90's," said Scott Doody author of The Herrin Massacre. "One of the lots we wanted to check today is one grave space out of our target area. The city records have it was a wooden box, which is what our guys are buried in."

Before the crews could break the surface of the soil, Herrin City Attorney John  Brewster told them they couldn't dig in that space.

"Block 15 is forty-six lots and the city wants every lot checked," Doody said. "There's two things going on here we're checking six lots for the Herrin Massacre victims graves. But there are 46 lots in the target area."

The researchers plan on being back out at the Herrin City Cemetery on Friday morning to continue their search for the graves.

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