Digging resumes in local cemetery


Kendall Downing

HERRIN, Ill. - Still digging. Historians and researchers are working in the Herrin City Cemetery in Williamson County, Illinois for the second time in two weeks.

They're looking for victims of the Herrin Massacre of the early 1920s, who might possibly be buried underneath modern-day graves.

Once again, the sounds of a backhoe filled the Herrin City Cemetery. The mystery of multiple burials is enough to attract spectators like David Aaron.

"Just curiosity, I've heard tales down through the years," said Aaron.

Back on September 13th, the research crew found a wooden vault but no remains. Monday morning their search didn't turn up anything, and another site the cleared Monday afternoon yielded no results.

"We've just gotten started on two things, looking for the massacre victims and clearing city lots," said Scott Doody.

Historian Scott Doody maintains the work isn't done, and the Herrin City Council wants it to continue.

Herrin Mayor Vic Ritter wouldn't go on camera Monday afternoon, but he said he will be asking the city council to put a stop to the digging at their meeting Monday night.

Ritter said he's proposing a memorial for the massacre victims go up near the site in question.

But until any remains are found, residents like David Aaron believe the question of who's buried where will always linger.

"You want to know. You don't want it to be that way," he said.