The remains of an unknown man will finally be laid to rest on All Saints Day, November 1st, in Hutchinson’s Oakland Cemetery after decades of uncertainty as to who he is.
The identity of the man is still unknown however, an investigation has answered some questions.
The story begins when a box of skeletal remains was shipped to Hutchinson from Kentucky, date unknown. The box had a “collect” slip on it. Speculation is that nobody claimed the package, so it was given to cemetery officials, where the box lay tucked away in a shed. A cemetery caretaker that began his tenure around 1960 had spoke of the remains being there “since before his time.” Around 1978, Floyd Groehler, who just started working at the cemetery, became aware of the remains. The box remained there until 2001 when the shed was to be razed. Not really knowing what to do with the remains, Cemetery Supervisor Groehler asked for assistance from the Dobratz-Hantge Funeral Chapel and turned them over to the chapel in May of 2002. The remains were then turned over to the McLeod County Coroner’s Office. The box and contents ultimately ended up at the Hamline University Osteology Lab for examination.
After some “prodding,” Funeral Director Robert Hantge says the results finally came back just recently, after nearly 10 years.
The results show the remains to be a male, 40 to 55 years old, most likely of white (European) ancestry, 5′ 2” to 5′ 9” tall, evidence of arthritis, spina bifida, and a fracture near the wrist. Results also indicate an active and physical life. Newspaper clippings were also found in the box from the 1940′s.
Some questions answered, many remain. Officials and dignitaries will gather for a public graveside service that will be held at the Oakland Cemetery at 1pm on November 1st.
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