Fort William Henry Seeks Return of Remains
Fort William Henry officials have requested that the remains of 18th century soldiers unearthed at the site in the 1950s be returned to the place where they died.
According to Bob Flacke, Sr., the president of the Fort William Henry Corporation, the skeletons have been in the possession of forensic anthropologists since 1993, when the bones were finally removed from public display.
“Apparently, some of the people in that profession are quirky; they carry the remains with them as they move from job to job. These remains have been traveling around the country,” Flacke said.
The time has come for them to be returned to Lake George, Flacke said.
“We feel responsible for them,” said Flacke.
The plight of the soldiers’ remains became international news this month when it was reported that the remains of several soldiers were never interred during a burial ceremony held at the Fort in 1993.
Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais was quoted by the Associated Press as being surprised by the discovery, asking, “Most of them aren’t there?”
But Fort William Henry officials and archeologists never made a secret of the fact that forensic anthropologists removed several skeletons for study and analysis.
At least four of the skeletons studied by the anthropologists appear to have been victims of the August 1757 massacre, archeologist David Starbuck wrote in his 2002 book, “Massacre at Fort William Henry.”
During the massacre, which became the basis of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel, “Last of the Mohicans,” Indians aiding the French attacked the survivors of Montcalm’s assault on the fort, killing 69 people and taking 200 prisoners.
At least one soldier had been decapitated, Starbuck wrote.
New technologies may enable anthropologists to learn more about the identities of the soldiers and the causes of their death, Flacke said.
But should scientists at the New York State Museum in Albany have no further interest in studying the skeletons, they will be reburied at Fort William Henry, said Flacke.