Hello again. I want to thank all of you for your replies and suggestions. They are all appreciated. But I especially need to thank the person who suggested I contact the Winnetka Historical Society. In hindsight, that falls under the "why didn't I think of that" catagory!
Well anyway, since I apparently stirred up some interest here, I thought I would share what I found out. The person I talked to on the phone at the historical society knew exactly what I was asking about, and in today's mail, I received copies of the information that she said she would send.
When the Lady Elgin sank, hundreds of bodies washed ashore, and were laid out on a hill near the shore for people to come and claim. A rumor has existed since then that the bodies that were unclaimed or unidentifiable were simply buried at the site, but a lack of records makes that rumor unable to be proven or denied.
Fast forward 131 years, to 1991, and a construction project unearthed a couple bones. Archeologists were called in, and two skeletons and the remains of wooden coffins were uncovered. An Illinois law that protects unmarked grave sites prevented any archeology being performed beyond recovering the two sets of bones that had been accidentally unearthed.
Examination of the bones and of available historical records lead to the official opinion that the bodies were not from the Lady Elgin, but rather date from Winnekta's very early pioneers who had been buried in what had once been a churchyard.
--- In MidwestCemeteries@yahoogroups.com, "superior1980" <superior1980@...> wrote:
> Hello all. I am doing some reseach into the wreck of the steamship Lady Elgin, which sank in Lake Michigan off of Winnetka, Illinois, in 1860. A couple newspaper articles report of there having been a mass burial of about 80 victims in Winnetka. Does anyone happen to know where? Thank you for your time.