Lyman man finds old graves

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LYMAN (AP) – A man who was digging with a backhoe on his property in southern Maine unearthed a War of 1812 soldier’s family plot.

“Somehow or another I wound up with a body. It was quite a shock,” said Roland Nadeau, who made the grisly discovery last summer.

Nadeau’s wife, Pauline, said the family had owned the York County property for 10 years. They had heard rumors that a soldier’s grave was in the area, but no one knew exactly where it was or what war he had fought in.

Nadeau’s backhoe found the site when it pulled up what turned out to be a man’s leg bone.

The Nadeaus notified the local police, who in turn called Maine State Police and the Medical Examiner’s Office.

They excavated the rest of the body and found an oval medallion in mint condition, about 3 by 6 inches, inscribed with the name Charles Kimball and his birth date.

A few days later, another body turned up, along with part of a casket and some lead lining.

The Medical Examiner’s Office returned and removed the additional remains, covered the area with a tarp and some soil and told Nadeau to stop digging.

Lyman Code Enforcement Officer Mike Polakewich believes that because the bones were near an old foundation, the house there probably burned in wildfires that swept through the area in 1947, destroying wooden grave markers as well as the family homestead.

Additional research revealed that an old family cemetery was indeed on the site.

It included burial sites of Gibbens Kimball, a soldier in the War of 1812, his wife and other Kimball family members.

Local officials and the Nadeaus have agreed to rebury the remains in the same location this spring after the snow melts. The town will maintain the site.

Ron Stewart, the commander of the local American Legion post, is working with the Veteran’s Administration to get a marker for Gibbens Kimball.

Pauline Nadeau said she and her husband always planned to rebury the remains, put up a marker and have a minister come say a few words.

“If they fight for us, then they deserve our respect forever,” she said.

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