Family uncovers disheveled grave of WWI soldier; finds lost family in Bismarck

Published: May. 27, 2020 at 4:33 PM CDT
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On Memorial Day, a Bismarck family uncovered a hidden grave at a Morton County cemetery.

They took to social media to find the man’s family, and solved a decade-long mystery.

While visiting lost relatives on Memorial Day, Darlyn Kunz and Jadelynn Dahl came across a buried grave underneath a lilac bush.

What they uncovered was a long lost soldier from World War I.

In a field of graves, Joe Fisher was waiting to be found.

"I proceeded to walk around the grounds and I uncovered this grave underneath the lilac bush," said Dahl.

While wiping the dirt away, his story was slowly uncovered.

"As she's scrapping a little at a time, we we’re seeing it’s a World War I veteran and he was a private in the Army, and born in 1895," said Kunz

With a single rose left over from other visits, Kunz laid the flower on Fisher's grave.

"I saw what is was and I thought you just have to have this, this rose was meant for you and I thanked him for his service," said Kunz.

Soon after, Dahl took to social media to find more answers.

"I was hoping to find some relatives, that may still be out there that maybe didn't know he was buried out there," said Dahl.

That's when they found Linda Thomsen.

"I sent her a thing on Facebook and said, I think it’s my great uncle. It was my grandma's brother and his parents are buried out there," said Thomsen, Fisher’s great niece.

She said Fisher was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia, and moved to Mandan from Ohio.

The family never knew he was laid to rest at St. Johns.

"I've seen him off and on, you know, with my grandparents and different things," said Thomsen.

The next time someone visits Fisher, his headstone will mean more than just his name.

"Instead of a mystery grave he now has a story," said Dahl.

A decades-long story coming to light under the shade of a lilac tree.

Family said they're now going to make a tradition to come out and visit Fisher and drop off flowers at his grave every time they're out here at the St. Johns Cemetery.