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The 1912 Grave Desecration of the Milwaukee County Institution Grounds Poor Farm's Cemetery

Author(s): Alexander Anthony

Year: 2015

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This research looks at the institutional desecration of graves at the Milwaukee County Institution Grounds as overseen by Superintendent Ferdinand Bark, the reaction of the surrounding community to that disturbance, and the ensuing investigation. The paper also explores the relationship of this historical event to the evidence from the 1990s and 2013 archaeological excavations conducted at the location of the cemetery. The event will be viewed within the historical context in which it happened including a basic background of Ferdinand Bark and the circumstances of the Milwaukee County Grounds when he assumed control in 1904. The increasing need to find space in which to inter a growing number of deceased individuals from on the County Institution Grounds as well as the surrounding community within very limited cemetery bounds posed a significant problem for Bark. The paper also explores the community reaction to this desecration as related through local newspapers of varying readerships. Finally, the archaeological correlates of this event are examined, as are the difficulties in interpreting the archaeological record of expected mortuary behavior on the Milwaukee County Institution Grounds.

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The 1912 Grave Desecration of the Milwaukee County Institution Grounds Poor Farm's Cemetery. Alexander Anthony. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396092)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America