Story by:  Sharon Newton Burnes

Growing up in the semi-rural area of St.Clair County in the 1950s life was quite different for children. We didn't have video games or a lot of organized activities to keep us busy. We had to use our imaginations and create our own pastimes. Living close to Falling Springs everyone knew everyone else and the bluffs by McBride"s Tavern were a favorite area to explore. People were always climbing the trails and exploring in the numerous caves. It was not the least bit unusual to find arrowheads while digging in the caves.

One particular day my brother and I were chastized by our mother for staying gone too long while out rabbit hunting. Being the rebellious boys we were, we told her we would just go exploring in the caves and dig up old bones-----that couldn't hurt anyone.

Several hours later we returned home with a gunny sack full of bones we had dug up in one of the caves. We took that sack straight into the kitchen and dumped the bones right out on the table. Mom and Dad didn't know what to think, "could this be the result of an unsolved murder or what?" The St.Clair County Sheriff was called. They came and took the bones. Extensive study proved the bones to be from a time period of long ago of an Indian. The skeleton was taken to a museum in Springfield. The local paper, The East St.Louis Journal did a feature story about us and our amateur archeology.

Richard and Dale were the youngest of Claude and Dessie Burnes seven children and this is how they recall their adventurous childhood to their grandchildren.

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