Human bones unearthed Monday behind Cornish Town Hall appear to those of a corpse that was mistakingly left behind when a cemetery was moved in 1920, according to police.

A contractor hired to install a new drainage pipe at the rear door of town hall found the remains late Monday afternoon and called town officials and police, said Chief Deputy William King of the York County Sheriff’s Office. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed Tuesday that the bones are human, but they will have to be examined further to determine their age and origin.

“The preliminary investigation showed bones resembling skeletal remains were evident along with pieces of wood that resemble parts of a casket,” King said.

King said a representative of the Cornish Historical Society reported that the land now occupied by town hall was once a cemetery. All the bodies were believed to have been exhumed and relocated to Riverside Cemetery on Maple Street in 1920.

“It now appears that one grave was missed,” King said.

King said a state anthropologist will examine the remains “to ascertain the origin of the departed.” The remains were taken to Augusta on Monday for further examination.

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King said it is not unusual for the sheriff’s office to receive calls from people who find bones, but most of those come from animals. Still, he admits the situation in Cornish is a little unusual.

“It’s very odd, especially around Halloween,” he said.

The town hall drainage project is on hold while Cornish officials consider consulting with an archaeologist, according to police.

Glenna Googins, a Cornish resident who has the town’s cemetery records, said she is researching what happened with the cemetery before town hall was built around 1925. She said she will provide town selectmen with any information she finds about who was buried there and how the move was conducted.

“Not much is known about that cemetery,” she said. “We do know the stones are (now) in Riverside Cemetery.”

 


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