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Legal pursuit of 1922 massacre victims presses on

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

HERRIN – A southern Illinois community is renewing its legal push to excavate portions of a cemetery in search of remains of people who died in the 1922 Herrin Massacre.

The massacre took place during a union strike and killed dozens of replacement workers at the Southern Illinois Coal Co.

Lawyers representing Herrin’s city attorney and an author of a book about the massacre have asked a court to allow archaeological work at Herrin Cemetery. Such work has been banned since last year by a Williamson County judge after two failed bids to find the massacre’s victims, the Southern Illinoisan reported Tuesday. Herrin’s aldermen agreed last month to ask that the injunction be lifted.

Scott Doody, who in April published a book about the violence, believes some modern burials have taken place atop the remains of the victims of the bloody, armed skirmish, between striking union workers and the temporary miners hired to replace them. While hundreds of indictments were returned, no one was convicted.

Doody suspects that nearly a dozen victims were buried in a potter’s field and possibly an adjoining part of the cemetery. The motion seeking the excavation said the work would only occur at specific burial sites, and that notice of the court filing has been given to all owners of burial spaces that may be affected.

The minimal excavation is being sought by geologists and researchers from Eastern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University, the newspaper reported.

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com

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