Skeletal remains discovered beneath uprooted tree in New Haven - CBS 5 - KPHO

Skeletal remains discovered beneath uprooted tree in New Haven

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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

A passerby made a ghoulish discovery on Tuesday afternoon, when skeletal remains were found underneath the base of a fallen tree.

The tree, a large oak, fell when winds from Hurricane Sandy battered the coast all day Monday. According to local historians, the tree was planted by Adm. Andrew Hall Foote's Grand Army of the Republic post (the Union of the Republic).

The visible skeletal remains of a probable victim of yellow fever or smallpox who may have been buried between 1799 and 1821 were discovered by a woman who stopped to look at the tree, uprooted during the storm.

When the headstones were removed to the Grove Street cemetery, the bodies were never relocated.

Foote, who was born in New Haven, was one of President Abraham Lincoln's favorite Civil War admirals. He died in a naval battle and is buried in the city's Grove Street cemetery.

Dutch elm disease killed all of the majestic elms planted by James Hillhouse in the 1820s. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday in 1909, the oak tree was planted.

According to police, the green is home to between 5,000 and 10,000 souls buried hundreds of years ago. Members of the department's detective division responded to the scene and, working with the state Medical Examiner's Office, collected the remains.

Police have not launched a criminal investigation at this time.

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