Racine Daily Journal, May 5, 1894
VANDALS AT WORK
Indications That Graves at Evergreen Cemetery Have Been Robbed by Students
For some time past desecrations in the old Evergreen cemetery, opposite Racine college, have been constantly occurring. Not long ago a handsome stone cross which marked the well kept grave of the Rev. Samuel Johnson, a priest of the Episcopal church, was broken in pieces. Shortly after the cross was broken the chain fence which surrounds the lot of the Rev. Roswell Park was broken, and a few days later the grave of the Rev. Presmore [ed: name partially obliterated] who for years was connected with Racine college, showed signs of having been disturbed. It has been asked by many Episcopalians why the church in Racine did not remove the bodies to Mound cemetery. Thus far the question remains unanswered. Of late the fence which encloses the cemetery has been broken in many places. Tramps have undoubtedly used some of it to build their fires. The last act of desecration is the actual robbing of the graves of their contents.
For some time, people in the vicinity have had an idea that such was a fact, but there was nothing to prove it. But the manifold evidences of disturbed graves have led to an investigation which proves conclusively that such is unquestionably a fact.
Students residing in Milwaukee and Chicago, and attending Medical colleges in those cities have robbed the graves for the bones. In every instance where a grave shows signs of being disturbed the person in the same has been dead from sixteen to twenty years.
One young man, however, has been caught. He is a resident of northern Wisconsin and is studying medicine in Chicago with a prominent physician. The young man has friends in Racine who he visits quite frequently. It is said that he often comes up and spends Sunday.
He has been in the vicinity of Evergreen cemetery on more than one occasion. He was recently caught in the cemetery on a stormy night. He had a bag and a shovel. When asked what he was doing replied that he was merely passing through the cemetery. He was allowed to go home. It would seem that something ought to be done to prevent further desecration and robbery. Many of those now buried in Evergreen cemetery were prominent citizens in Racine. The city ought to put a new fence around the enclosure and fix up the grass.
Burials in Evergreen Cemetery, Racine, Wisconsin
Emily Dickinson, age 34½ years, was buried Oct. 8, 1862 [Source: “Wisconsin Families”, 1940]
Joseph Ford – born July 6, 1857; died aged 14 mos. [Parents Edwin and Ellen Ford] [Source: “Wisconsin Families”, 1940]
Wilma Hinds, age 10½, was buried May 19, 1862 [Parents, James H. and Sophia Hinds] [Source: “Wisconsin Families”, 1940]
Alice Eliza Wilson, age 6, was buried Sep. 9, 1860 (parents John and Sarah Ann Wilson) [Source: “Wisconsin Families”, 1940]
Since Evergreen Cemetery came into the conversation for scary stories and October/Halloween, I did some grave digging of my own. The first news item is from September 3, 1907. Back in 1894 the place was being robbed and conditions had gotten bad, by 1907, the lake erosion had started taking the remains away, so the bodies started being moved. As the place was already a shambles and stones were broken and thrown around, some could still be identified. Note the name Peter Wheeler.
Fast forward into the 1930s, and a new sewer plant going in, bones and casket parts start showing up in the digs.
The second items is a letter to the editor from May 15, 1940. While I can’t find any hard evidence in news print, the letter states that WPA workers unearthed a monument for Peter Wheeler in the fall of 1939, as well as markers of his children. My question is “Why was that never moved between 1907 and 1939?”
Bring us up to October of 2002, and once again, some digging near the Wastewater Plant unearths a grave marker for for the children of P.B. & E.T. Wheeler. The last two news clips are about that.
Just who is Peter B. Wheeler anyhow? and why are his family headstones continually showing up in the news? His widow had a cool house built on Chatham St. http://preservationracine.snappages.com/wheeler-bull.htm