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UB holds memorial for remains of 372 unearthed during construction

Posted at 5:50 PM, Oct 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-11 17:50:07-04

Eight caskets stood in the UB Newman center Wednesday, where the stories of the three hundred seventy two unearthed men, women, and children who lived, and died, in the Erie County Poor House came to light.

They're stories Dr. Joyce Sirianni, a leader on the project, says she'll never forget.

I miss them already, because when you spend that much time... five years... with bones, They're no longer just a pile of bones.  They're individuals and they have character.

The remains were first unearthed in 2008 on South Campus near Bailey Avenue in Buffalo.  In 2012 the university remained a court order allowing them ot exhume, and examine the remains.

The poor house often became the last stop for the sick and disabled.  Dr. Sirianni says the memory of one man, who had displaced hips, has stayed with her.

"He became, I hate to say it, like our poster child for disability.  His number is 95. It lives in my heart forever.

The university believes there could be three thousand additional bodies located in the former Poor House cemetery.