Herrin, IL families concerned with digging at city cemetery

Herrin, IL families concerned with digging at city cemetery

HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - It was a story that got national attention after unmarked graves were discovered in Herrin, Illinois' city cemetery in 2013.

Researchers uncovered 17 gravesites from the 1922 Herrin Massacre.

On Friday, January 8, signs of digging still remain and some families want change.

City leaders say they've already repaired one area of the cemetery, but it's the space less than 30 feet away that some family members are still upset about.

In May 2015, John Tolbert complained that the site next to his son and grandson's final resting place was upsetting.

"It is just unreal to let something like this go," he said.

Now, he said there's still work to be done.

"The stones have been damaged," he said. "They are sinking in where the water has run down underneath them and washed them away and now the stones are leaning and sinking."

However, city leaders claim they only explored this area in November, less than three months ago, and the weather has kept them from fixing the uneven headstones.

They say they have plans to fix the landscape once the weather breaks and the ground dries up.

Tolbert argues that the spot looks like a mess.

"It's been destroyed and it needs to be repaired," he said. "Eight months ago, nothing has been done. Here we are again."

A monument has been placed at the Herrin City Cemetery to honor the 1922 Herrin Massacre victims, but Tolbert said it's time the city takes care of the others who lay here.

City leaders say they are no longer burying anyone in the area that is known as the former potter's field, but there could be future digging if more families come forward.

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