Human remains in Yorkville unearthed by utility crew at historic cemetery site

A contractor crew doing utility work in Yorkville on Wednesday, May 15, inadvertently unearthed human remains from a cemetery that had been located on the site in the 1840s and 1850s.

The crew located the remains while doing utility work in the 200 block of Park Street. An examination of the excavation site was finished on Friday, May 17.

“With the wonderful assistance of the Kendall County Historical Society, it was learned that in the 1840s and 1850s a cemetery occupied the site,” the Yorkville Police Department and Kendall County Coroner’s Office said in a joint statement on Thursday. “According to available information, sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s, the headstones at this site were relocated to Elmwood Cemetery in Yorkville. The disposition of the remains was not mentioned.”

Members of the Kendall County Coroner’s Office, the Yorkville Police Department, the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services Section and a Loyola University anthropologist examined the excavated soil and the construction work site to ensure proper and respectful treatment of the early Kendall County resident who was inadvertently disturbed.

A map from 1871 illustrates the location of the cemetery at the time.

According to a news release from the Kendall County Coroner’s Office, skeletal remains will be examined by the Loyola University Department of Anthropology before being returned to the custody of the Coroner’s Office, at which time the Coroner’s Office will work with the appropriate authorities to ensure that a reinterment is completed at a proper location.

“The Coroner’s Office wishes to emphasize that this person was a cherished member of someone’s family and a pioneer of Kendall County,” according to the release. “Our commitment is to ensure that everyone under our care receives the highest level of compassion and respect. Despite this unintended occurrence, we remain steadfast in honoring this individual with the dignity they deserve.”