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Woman Unearths Mystery WWI Veteran's Gravestone in Backyard
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) It was one of the first things Annette Davis noticed when she moved in last month.
“I was walking around in the backyard and found these big, flat, strange stone rocks,” Davis told Local 15.
She didn’t think anything more of it until Monday when she decided to use one of the heavy, smooth slabs as a stepping stone.
“When we turned it over, we were shocked,” Davis said. Through a layer of dirt, Davis could see the distinct engraving of a gravestone. When she washed it off, it turned out to be a World War I Navy veteran’s grave marker.
The gravestone reads:
FRANK V SCHEUERMANN
US NAVY WORLD WAR I
FEB 6 1894 – MARCH 11 1957
Davis’ first thought was that someone might be buried in her backyard.
“I would like any surviving family members to know about it,” Davis said. “I wouldn’t want anyone walking on my relative’s remains.”
With the historic Catholic Cemetery a block away on MLK Boulevard, Davis had a second theory that someone had stolen the gravestone and dumped it in her backyard.
Local 15 checked with the cemetery’s director, who said a Frank Scheuermann was buried there, but his middle initial was “A” not “V” and he died more than two decades earlier than the veteran. The director said the government routinely sent gravestones to the families of World War I veterans, even if they didn’t necessarily need or want them.
There’s also a possibility of an error in the engraving, so it’s not entirely uncommon to run across an unused and abandoned military gravestone from that era. Pine Crest Cemetery in Mobile lists a Frank Scheuermann with the same date of birth, but the date of death is 1956 rather than 1957.
Mobile Police came out to take a look at the gravestone. They contacted Davis’ landlord, who told them he had just recently bought the house from the bank and had no clue where the gravestone came from. Since it isn’t a criminal case, police closed the investigation. However, there is a second stone slab in Davis’ backyard that has the size, shape and polished surface of a gravestone.
It’s a lot heavier than the veteran’s gravestone, so Davis has been unable to flip it over.
“Who knows whose name could be on it,” Davis said.