Upate: Work has Stopped on Identifying as Many as 7,000 Unmarked and Undocumented Graves in Westland, Michigan

This is an update to an earlier story at http://wp.me/p5Z3-2Pa:

A group of volunteers attempting to uncover and identify the graves of as many as 7,000 forgotten people has run into resistance from Wayne County officials.

Citing liability concerns, the county has told members of the Eloise Cemetery Research Project to cease their work at the site near the former Eloise Hospital until they obtain insurance and present a formal project plan in conjunction with the Friends of Eloise, a nonprofit dedicated to researching and preserving the hospital’s history.

You can read more in an article by Kyla Smith in the Detroit News at http://goo.gl/RFxlS5.

6 Comments

“A group of volunteers attempting to uncover and identify the graves of as many as 7,000 forgotten people has run into resistance from Wayne County officials.

Citing liability concerns, the county has told members of the Eloise Cemetery Research Project to cease their work at the site near the former Eloise Hospital until they obtain insurance and present a formal project plan in conjunction with the Friends of Eloise, a nonprofit dedicated to researching and preserving the hospital’s history.”

What does this actually mean? A group of volunteers trying to identify the graves most likely means that they are researching the available documents relating to the deaths and burials , I don’t see how any one can legally stop any one from doing this especially since the info is in the public domain,… If, however it is referring to folks actually digging or electronically trying to identify and locate burial….. that could mean that they need state or county permission to do this, and have insurance and a reputable company that does this stuff. the” friends of Eloise,,, the none profit involved with this need a good pro bono lawyer, because it looks like the powers that be don;t want to see this done. There could be many reasons for that , but to me it smells to high heaven

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There is no connection between the Friends of Eloise and the new group that calls itself the Eloise Cemetery Research Project. The Friends are a 501-C-3 organization that has been researching the cemetery since 1999. Many of those buried in the cemetery are listed on FindAGrave. We are recognized by Wayne County and have been working with the County to see that the cemetery is maintained and preserved.

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I have family buried there that is not on the Find A Grave project list. If they are such good friends, why not keep the cemetery open and running and the stone visible to everyone. It is just a huge field that anyone can access across from residential homes. They need to pay respect for these long forgotton, many poor, many were ill, many with no family, and that is why there has not been concern for the maintenance. And as far as the county goes, they are responsible as well for maintenance as well. So this cemetery is a shame and an embarasement to the community and Wayne County/Detroit area as well. I was raised there and did not even know it existed until Dick’s articles were posted. I have sent it out to many people who are stunned at this situation. And Where the heck is the list?? No one cared to protect any part of this cemetery. I wish I still lived in the area. I would be right there trying to get this set right. Regina Bruner Markowicz

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I think one of the concerns is that the stones are actually below surface level. In an effort to unearth the stones there are holes now in the field where the found stones are. There are some pictures that show this in the original article. The county probably does not want to be paying for someone’s broken ankle. Wayne County has had extreme financial difficulties over the last several years and they probably are not about to fund an effort to survey this cemetery.

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    It is even likely that there were never any stones at all…or not on all graves… I found this to be true in most of the Pennsylvania ” Poor homes” There was only a written record,/hand written book, that I found in an office in the court house that had nothing to do with the poor house or its history,,, that and no way to connect the name with an actual grave…. sad but true

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Politics at work ! Wayne County wants to be paid to ID gravesites – disgusting !

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