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Photo Focus: Remains of Five Unknown Historical Individuals Laid to Rest In Cruz Bay

The remains of five people whose names we will never know were laid to rest for the second time at the Cruz Bay Cemetery Monday afternoon.

A new monument was built by Stone Masonry LLC at the site of an abandoned crypt. (Photo by DPNR – V.I. State Historic Preservation Office, Sean L. Krigger, director)

The remains were discovered in the fall of 2021 when a contractor for the Water and Power Authority was digging a trench to bury cables as part of the “WAPA Underground” project funded by FEMA to protect the electrical grid during storms.

When the graves were discovered, work on the project was halted, and a team of archaeologists from the University of Tennessee began to respectfully recover the remains.

Over the next two years, archaeologists Brooke Person, Kate Crossan, Mary Davis, and others from the University of Tennessee used non-invasive techniques to learn what they could about the individuals who were buried at the Cruz Bay Cemetery more than a century ago.

Officials attending the ceremony included Mary Davis, University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Sharla Azizi, FEMA-Environmental and Historical Preservation branch manager; Preston Evans, St. John Administrator’s Office; Pastor Merle I. Malone of the Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church; Sean L. Krigger, V.I. State Historic Preservation Office director, and Kate Crossan, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. (Photo by Amy H. Roberts)

Pastor Merle I. Malone of the Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church presided over Monday’s ceremony, officially known as “The Recommittal Service for the Five Unknown Historical Individuals.” Representatives attended from FEMA, the V.I. State Historic Preservation Office, and WAPA, as well as members of the community.

Pastor Merle I. Malone of the Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church presides over the ceremony attended by members of the Nazareth Lutheran Church and others. (Photo by DPNR – V.I. State Historic Preservation Office, Sean L. Krigger, director)

The remains, wrapped in muslin and encased in wooden boxes, were placed in a newly built monument by Preston Evans of the St. John Administrator’s Office while members of the Nazareth Lutheran Church sang hymns and Emanuel “Mano” Boyd blew softly on a bugle.

The monument is sealed with bricks by workmen. (Photo by Amy H. Roberts)
Choir members sing hymns as the monument is sealed by workmen. (Photo by Amy H. Roberts)
Emanuel “Mano” Boyd plays the bugle during the reinterment ceremony. (Photo by Amy H. Roberts)

“We appreciate the collaboration of the community and all of the (above-named) agencies for ensuring that this project moved forward with the utmost respect for these unknown individuals,” said Kate Crossan, one of the archaeologists.

The archaeologists particularly wanted to thank Brent Squires of Stone Masonry LLC for building the monument at the site of an abandoned crypt and Jack Cayes of Coral Bay Carpentry for constructing the burial boxes.

 

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