A veterans' memorial service will be held in Dunn County on Monday for six soldiers who have been buried in unmarked graves for more than 100 years.
In a field behind the Dunn County Highway Department garage, the remains of around 150 people rest in mostly unmarked graves. It’s called a potter’s field, and historian Sofi Doane said they were a common sight in the early 1900s.
“They are a burial place for the poor, the indigent, the unknown, the forgotten. There were a lot of potter’s field cemeteries associated with asylums back in the day,” Doane said.
Among the dead are six veterans: John Hannon, Fred Hutton, Andrew Johnson, James Mulligan, Paul Topp and Daniel Weaver. Doane said she and members of her group, Friends of Potter’s Field Dunn County, realized the veterans were there while going over U.S. Census records from the local asylum and poor farm.
On Monday, a nearby chapter of the American Veterans Organization will hold a full honor ceremony complete with 21-gun salute.
Doane said it’s the right thing to do.
“I think it’s important just for the recognition that there are these six veterans ... three served in the Civil War, three in World War I, and that it’s 2014 and they’re finally being given the recognition that every veteran deserves,” she said.
Greg Quinn, Dunn County Veterans Service Office director, said there will be a veteran flag holder placed at the cemetery although no one knows where the veterans lie.
“Sometimes, we don’t need to know everything. We just need to know that they served and did their job and they’re now being honored for that service,” Quinn said.
The memorial ceremony will be held behind the Dunn County Highway Shop at 2:30 p.m.