CORNISH — An eighth set of remains was unearthed Wednesday evening next to the municipal building, where contractors had commenced work earlier this week on a drainage project. Work was stopped when the first remains were found, and then proceeded again, but was halted a second time when more skeletal remains were found.

Along with the remains and bits of wood thought to have come from caskets, York County Sheriff’s Office deputies found a clue ”“ a set of cufflinks inscribed with the initials “J.H.” That discovery could help officials figure out who had been buried on the site.

The first set of remains, found Monday, turned out to be two, according to the State Medical Examiner’s Office. As the days wore on, more remains were found, with the eighth found at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to York County Sheriff’s Office.

It is thought that whomever was contracted to move the cemetery prior to the municipal building construction in 1925 moved only the headstones to Riverside Cemetery, and not the remains. But that is only a theory at present.

York County Sheriff Maurice Ouellette said it is his understanding that 13 people had been buried on the property in the mid-1800s.

The municipal building was constructed in 1925 and 1926. Designed by John Calvin Stevens, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is called the Leroy Pike Memorial Hall.

After the contractor commenced digging ”“ but stopped again when more remains were found ”“ manual digging exposed several additional gravesites, said Chief Deputy Bill King.

A plan of Riverside Cemetery, where the graves were supposed to have been moved, is on file and online at the state archives. It was produced during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration, but it does not single out graves that were moved from the municipal building site.

A Cornish spokeswoman earlier this week said old records will be examined from the cemetery transfer in an effort to determine the identity of the deceased. At some point, the remains will be reinterred.

A state anthropologist is expected to shed more light on the situation. All of the remains are now at the medical examiner’s office.

The discovery has piqued the interest of Cornish Historical Society and the town’s cemetery association members. They are poring over records, attempting to identify the remains and were expected to speak with senior citizens in the community for their input.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

        Comments are not available on this story.

        filed under: