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June 15, 2024

Shelby County – Did County Board Member Comments Turn Farm Ground Into A Cemetery? Part II

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 7, 2023

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

As we outlined in the first article at this link, we reached out to Shelby County Board member Carol Cole in order to get clarification pertaining to the burial of persons at the Shelby County farm site.

We asked:

During your comments, you stated it was your understanding people were buried along the fence row but you don’t know where the fence row is (was) at the farm.  How did you come to this “understanding”?  Is this understanding based on any facts or just hearsay?

You also claimed after being questioned by the Chairman on the location of these grave sites you said “we don’t know where they are”, referring to those buried at the farm.  What factual information do you have that points to any bodies being buried in any location other than the marked cemetery area?

You also claimed you were “told” when the weather was bad they just buried them where they could find a place since the hearse could not get back to the cemetery.  Who told you that and what facts do you or the person telling you this have to support such an assertion, or is this simply hearsay?  

We received her response this morning which is found below.

“My mother told me many stories about the shelby county poor farm and this was one of them.   unfortunately she passed away in 2006.  I have no one else to corroborate with since everyone associated with the farm during the time she lived there, 1925-1940, have all passed away.   I have no facts about people being buried along the fence row just her word.  I have no reason to believe she was just “telling stories”.  There are facts about who is buried in the cemetery and proof where on the graveyard plot these 79 people are buried.   You can check those facts in the Almshouse Registry located in the courthouse county clerks office.   According to the book the last person buried at the farm in 1942 is not listed on the grave plot, all 79 people are accounted for in the cemetery. There were many more people who died while living there but were taken to other cemeteries. All those names are also listed in the Almshouse book, when they died and where they were taken for burial.”

I have asked some follow-up questions to better understand the number of unknown burial sites.  Based on the above response, it appears there is only 1 person buried at the farm in 1942 that is not listed on the grave plot.  If that is the case, it appears that location must be identified in order to ensure numerous laws pertaining to grave sites are not violated.

Under the Illinois Administrative Code, there are requirements for notification to the State Agency on such matters.  We asked Mrs. Cole the following.

“Have you notified the applicable state agency that you have reasonable grounds to believe there are unregistered graves or unmarked burial sites on County Property as outlined in the Illinois Administrative Code Section 4170.200(b)?”

We will update you with a new article as more information is provided.




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  • Cindy
    Posted at 13:19h, 07 April Reply

    🎶My Mama told me… You better shop around…🎵The MIracles 🙄

  • Droopy Master Sergeant
    Posted at 14:14h, 07 April Reply

    So why did she not get that information before she just ran her mouth with untruth. This board member clearly has an agenda and is not interested in putting facts first.

  • Kathy Readnour
    Posted at 14:25h, 07 April Reply

    Why can’t they just leave this alone!?? What is SO important that they have to have this piece of ground for farm land? Many Shelby County residents grew up hearing about the poor farm and how sad it was. Why would we NOT believe this? Who would make up a story like that? Please just let the dead rest in peace. Their life was a tragedy in that they ended up there. Why do this to them too. Some things the E Dogs just need to back off on and this is one of them. Shame on all of you!

    • Kirk Allen & John Kraft
      Posted at 16:43h, 07 April Reply

      So you would prefer the public and media ignore the comments from a County Board member who expressed her concern over power poles possibly infringing on a person’s grave site? We did not raise this issue and putting your head in the sand does not resolve the real issue, an unmarked grave that deserves to be located rather than desecrated.

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