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Workers Unearth Civil War Coffin


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#16 Voyager

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:04 PM

earth_spirit...
It's a private photo...no news link. I'll post the results of the research and autopsy when it comes in.

#17 Voyager

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:07 PM

By the way, the vandals that broke into the shed were just juveniles. Adults witnessed them breaking in but didn't bother to call the police.

#18 earth_spirit

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:49 PM

It's always nice to have Ghostvillagers with connections, Voyager. Thanks for taking the time to keep everyone here informed. Any additional information would be appreciated, I'm sure.

Evidently, the vandals didn't much damage to the case considering how difficult it was to get it open using modern power tools. Hopefully, the little twits had the tar scared out of them when they realized what they messing with . . .
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#19 earth_spirit

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 12:34 PM

Here's something unusual that I thought I'd share. I mentioned earlier that the Fisk Model 1 and Model 2 cases were unpopular with some people because of the gaudy ornamentation. Well, here's a picture of one, so judge for yourself:
Posted Image

This particular case is obviously unused since it still retains the original white enamel paint job.

As for the extreme weight, Fisk used that as a selling point for his overpriced caskets. Advertisements of the day made the promise of "preservation from sudden decay, vermin and the ravages of the dissecting knife. It seems grave robbing was not uncommon in the mid-19th century, and burying your loved one in a 300 pound "boat anchor" was a definite deterrent against ghouls.

Edited by earth_spirit, 11 August 2005 - 04:35 PM.

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#20 Scott1956

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 12:51 PM

I heard that somebody actually broke into the coffin while it was ins storage. Ghouls!
Peace,Posted Image

#21 earth_spirit

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 01:05 PM

My best guess would be that they tried to remove the viewing plate, but based on the trouble the archeolgists at the Museum of Natural History had getting the case open, I'd say they probably didn't have much luck. If they were looking for jewelry, it was a waste of time and effort . . .
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#22 Voyager

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 06:31 PM

My best guess would be that they tried to remove the viewing plate, but based on the trouble the archeolgists at the Museum of Natural History had getting the case open, I'd say they probably didn't have much luck.  If they were looking for jewelry, it was a waste of time and effort . . .

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



They smashed the glass viewing plate which allowed air to get into the coffin. This caused the body to start to deteriorate but luckily the Smithsonian picked it up the following morning and put it in the freezer.

#23 Voyager

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 06:43 PM

Here is an ad for the coffin.

Posted Image

#24 earth_spirit

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 12:00 PM

I can just imagine how the modern-day ad copy for this one might look: "Anybody's who's somebody is buried in a Fisk Metallic Burial Case!"

There's also a story behind the broadside Voyager posted:

It seems that when Secretary of State John C. Calhoun died in 1850 and was entombed in the Congressional Cemetery, Jefferson Davis, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster were persuaded to write a published endorsement declaring the Fisk Metallic Burial Case to be "the best article known to us for transporting the dead to their final resting place." The nature of the persuasion is not recorded, but perhaps Messrs. Clay and Webster got free burial cases for their recommendations :Spaz: You may have also noticed their names at the bottom of the ad.

I've also found a photo of one of the more ornate (possibly a Model 1 or 2) child's burial case in the collection of a funeral director in Illinois. Is it gaudy? I guess that's a matter of taste. The sarcophagus style casket has ornaments of drapery, flowers, and angels (all emblems of mortality) adorning its bronze finish, and a glass plate to allow the viewing of the deceased.
Posted Image
It's bit hard to see with the black backdrop, I'm afraid. This unused casket was purchased by the funeral director in 1994 by outbidding a buyer from the Smithsonian Institution at an auction. I guess he really wanted it.

Thanks again for the update, Voyager! I was especially interested in hearing about the rapid deterioration that occurred after the case was broken into. That should tell us something about the tight seal these cases had and the quality of 21st century air!!!

Edited by earth_spirit, 12 August 2005 - 04:18 PM.

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#25 earth_spirit

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 11:40 PM

Here's a rather interesting story I found on the opening of another Civil War era Fisk burial case by the Smithsonian:

http://www.claudiajo...n.blogspot.com/
The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#26 Pinkharlequin

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 01:54 PM

How neat! I love reading about finds such as this. It would be nice to know the update to the story.

#27 Mrs. Bryan

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 09:21 PM

How very sad for the family and Descendants of that Soldier, that his remains were disturbed.
I should know - I would be horrified too if my Ancestor's Remains were messed with like that.
Although the History in rich and wonderful.
I am a Descendant of several Prominent Civil War Soldier Survivors.

#28 earth_spirit

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:25 PM

Unfortunately, Voyager hasn't logged back to give us any updates, but I have heard from a contact who told me that the burial case contained the remains of a young boy about 12-14 years old who still has living relatives in the area. The burial case had supposedly been relocated to another cemetery many years ago, but as you can surmise from the article, it wasn't.

Edited by earth_spirit, 17 October 2006 - 10:25 PM.

The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#29 earth_spirit

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 03:48 PM

Another Fisk burial case has been uncovered by a contractor in Richmond, KY. At least people in that part of the country have a little more respect for the dead:

http://www.richmondr...eadpicturestory
The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#30 Vampchick21

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 04:34 PM

How very sad for the family and Descendants of that Soldier, that his remains were disturbed.
I should know - I would be horrified too if my Ancestor's Remains were messed with like that.
Although the History in rich and wonderful.
I am a Descendant of several Prominent Civil War Soldier Survivors.



Being a bit of an archeology buff myself, I'm very well aware of the necessity of exhuming and examining the remains of people from the past. I myself would not have any issue whatsoever with any of my ancestors being exhumed for historical/scientific purposes. I would, however, have issues with them being exhumed for kicks.

There's a difference when you get right down to it.

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