Excavators At Grant School Dig Into Old Cemetery

The following was taken from the Steubenville Herald Star Newspaper dated 18th of July 1925:

Excavators At Grant School Dig Into Old Cemetery; Find Ancient Cross; Grave Markers-Wooden Cross Bearing Strange Lettering Unearthed in Former Public Burying Ground- Markers Over Century Old. Brought To Surface with Bones and Hair Strands.

A wooden cross, wrapped in cheesecloth, nailed securely down, and bearing strange paraffin, lettering, has been found by workmen in the excavating for the new Grant School at Fourth and South streets by Harry M Bates & Sons. Although broken in two, the cross is practically intact. Its presence at all in the ground is a mystery.

The section of the old earth, which is being carried to make room for a newer generation, has given up more than one secret. For at one time the entire corner was an old public burial ground, donated to the city by Bezaleel Wells. When the corner became crowded, several of the religious organizations secured tracts adjoining each other…nearly to the Carnegie Library.

In 1870, when the old Grant School, at one time the local high school, was built, orders were given excavators to turn the earth at least six feet so as to remove all the old skeletons. Whether or not those orders were carried out is dubious, as the present finds have been made under the immediate surface of the ground, a depth of not more than seven feet. It is thought that still more bodies will be found when the school building itself is torn down to make room for the new one.

Although in various instances during the past years, fragments of bone have been exposed to view during excavations…this is the first time that practically intact pieces of monuments have been found. All show able workmanship and give a clear idea of the art of the early nineteenth century.

One particular piece of stone found seems to have been at one time a marker for the center of a tombstone. It is of Corinthian architecture, bearing the leaf and dart design which is found of the new Capitol theatre.

Another part of a marker was found bearing the inscription “Steubenville” in tiny lettering. Below it was the date, “1814.” Other monuments read, “Mary Campbell,” aged twenty years, died July 16, 1814.” Another “James Campbell” departed this life April 23, 1815, aged two months, seven days.”

Several strands of red hair were found this morning. Undimmed by the long years of interment… A skull has also been found. The question of gender is a matter for discussion. One peculiar note has been struck in the finding of the bones and other fragments of a by-gone day. The bodies are being found under seven feet of earth instead of the usual five feet. Whether or not there was any basic reason for lowering the coffin an extra two feet is not known.

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