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Former governor’s grave found in central Louisiana

June 24, 2021 GMT

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — After being missing for 60 years, the gravesite of Louisiana Gov. Joseph Walker has been found in Rapides Parish in the central part of the state.

Walker was the 13th governor of Louisiana, serving from 1850 to 1853.

Local historians found the gravesite off Bayou Rapides Road in the city of Alexandria after searching for the landmark since the 1950s, KALB-TV reported.

They are hoping a historical marker will be placed at the site.

“The fact that the graveyard had been missing for so long is because the tombstone or the markers that we know from that time period are not where they used to be,” said Benjamin Fuselier, a metal detectorist.

When Walker died in 1856, he was buried in a family graveyard located on his property in Rapides Parish. In 1864, his home burned to the ground. A century later, nobody could find the grave.

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“Something happened around 1960 in which the graveyard was plowed under to use for cultivation of plants. It is a great loss to our state’s history,” said local historian Michael Wynne.

Historians said that aerial maps, artifacts and witness statements helped pinpoint the location of Walker’s burial site several weeks ago.

“The finding of this grave for Governor Walker is very important in our state’s history,” Wynne said. “In fact, he is the youngest governor that we never knew where the grave was. His graveyard has been missing for 60 years, and we have now found it.”