December 04, 2019
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Longfellow’s tomb is totally empty. We went looking for the bodies.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Bangor Daily News presents this short documentary by award-winning journalist Troy R. Bennett about the missing family of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

In 1986, the city of Portland went to brick up the Longfellow family tomb in its historic Western Cemetery to protect it from vandals. But when they did so, they discovered the tomb completely empty — no sign of the six family members, including Henry’s parents, who were interred there in the late 19th century.

As a local historian looked into the case more at the time, the mystery deepened.

In his new investigation into the curious case, Bennett retraced the steps of historian Bill Jordan and discovered some new leads.

Bennett was recently honored for his video series on local history by the group Greater Portland Landmarks, which gave him one of its annual Preservation Leader awards in a September ceremony. Additionally, he has won more than three dozen awards for his photography and multimedia journalism work from the Maine Press Association, New England Newspaper & Press Association and the Associated Press.

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