A few construction workers were tasked with clearing out a vacant lot in New York. However, when they got there they were surprised to find more than they bargained for. Their discovery brought a lot of history back up to light and revealed a lot more history than the original plot seemed to have.
19. The Village of Middleburgh
A few construction workers went on with their normal duties of clearing out unused lots on the day of October 4, 2011. However, they were in for something more than they probably expected that morning.
This particular part of New York had a very rich history behind it. Way back in 1652 a small town by the name of Middenburgh was established by Dutch settlers.
18. The Town Of Apples
Days Of The Year
While the town didn’t have much to offer it did have a special kind of fruit that literally appeared from a small seed in the ground. The fruit was a variation of an apple called Newtown Pippin.
17. Building A Name For Itself
Well into the 1800’s the town of Middenbrugh gained a new name of Newton and it had started to gain traction. They started to expand and even received several luxuries like a post office in the town.
16. A Change Of Name
CBS Chicago – CBS Local
After some time the town got its name changed once again. This time it was converted into Elmhurst due to the large abundance of elm trees.
15. A Discovery
John Wozniak via Iron Coffin Mummy
With the history lesson out of the way its back to the discovery of the construction workers. They found a deceased body in the ground fully clothed and it looked as if the person died recently.
14. Reporting Their Findings
Texas Hill Country
The construction workers thought they had stumbled upon a grizzly case of murder and decided to contact the LAPD. They were introduced to Scott Warnasch who was a forensic archaeologist on the LAPD.
13. A Crime Scene
Scott reported to a local newspaper that “It was recorded as a crime scene. A buried body on an abandoned lot sounds pretty straightforward.” However, it would slowly be discovered that it wouldn’t be that straightforward.
12. 150-Year-Old Burial
East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society, Inc
The body was revealed to be someone who was buried over a century and a half ago. The place of burial helped preserve the body in such good condition.
11. Located Behind A Church
The church that stands there now used to be an old carpentry shop in the 1800s. However, it was converted into a church and presumably, that is where the graveyard behind the church came from.
10. The History Lesson Continues
The men who owned the land that the graveyard sat on were actually freed slaves. They went by the names of Coles, Doyle, Johnson and Peterson.
9. The Dutch Cometh
While New York was one of the first places to abolish slavery they were also some of the first places to get slaves as The Dutch brought over slaves and introduced them to the state of New York.
This land was bought by four men who saw the end of slavery in New York in the year 1827. They built the community of Newton and even added a safe haven for people to worship.
7. St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church
The same church that those men founded stayed up until 1929. However, the church is still in service, however, it has been moved somewhere else.
6. Construction Work
S. Lampkin, U.S. Air Force
This movement of the church is why the construction workers were so confused when they found that in the ground. They had no idea there was a cemetery right beneath their feet.
5. Mount Olivet Cemetery
The Indelible Clearing
After the move of the church the state was asked to move the bodies buried on the ancient plot to the Mount Olivet Cemetery in 1929. However, only around two dozen bodies were moved. This means there are still chances of more bodies being found in the vacant area.
4. Put To Rest Again
Boise State Public Radio
As with most investigations, this one ended with the body being reburied in a proper burial site. As for the rest of the bodies in the vacant lot they are still being processed.
3. The Expert’s Opinion
The main lead archaeologist on the team had this to say about when they dug up the body “I came across metal fragments that are pretty distinctive. Right away, I knew what they were,” Scott recalled.
2. Iron Coffins
Iron Coffin Mummy
After finding several fragments of iron around the dig site Scott knew that these came from an iron casket. While these aren’t as popular today in the 1800s they were the norm.
1. Martha Peterson
It was revealed that the body they dug up went by the name of Martha Peterson. She had unfortunately passed due to a case of smallpox. However, now she is resting easy in a cemetery in New York.