HOPKINTON – Ed James of Hopkinton can’t forget the day last summer when he received a phone call from his father telling him, “They just found an old grave in the sandbank behind the barn.”
James got in his car and went up to the site, which his grandparents Harold and Barbara had purchased from Arthur Frink in the 1960s. The plot of land connects to the nearly 500 acres his great-grandfather Walter purchased along Tomoquag Road between the years of 1900 and 1936. James’ uncle now runs a dairy farm on the property and the small sandbank has been used for decades to haul out fill when needed.
Workers were digging sand from the side of the steep bank when a hole toward the top of the bank suddenly opened and the skeletal parts of two human feet tumbled out onto the ground. Peering into the hole, the men could see a long rectangular hollow, carefully lined along four sides with mortared red bricks, stacked four rows high. The top of the grave was covered over with two large slabs of granite which were about six inches beneath the surface of the ground. One of the slabs slid down the hill along with the bones.
“I flipped that piece over to see if there was anything written on it,” James said. “They were about seven inches thick and I’m gonna say they weighed about 70 pounds apiece because I had a hard time moving that one.”
The skeleton inside the grave contained the rib cage “which was spread out,” James said. It also contained all the leg bones, arm bones, spinal column, lower jaw and skull. The skull lay at the far end of the grave, about three feet from a stone wall property boundary.
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