Detective Work Leads Smithsonian Team to Give Unearthed Body a Name

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He was a sickly orphan who had died of pneumonia as a teenager and then was left behind when the cemetery where he was buried in Northwest Washington moved a decade after his death.

He lay lost and forgotten beneath the sprawl of the city, while six generations and 155 years passed by.

And when his body was accidentally unearthed by a construction crew in 2005 -- still clad in his fine white burial suit and encased in an iron coffin -- researchers at the Smithsonian Institution vowed to find out who he was.

Now they say they have.

This week, after a two-year project that unfolded like a detective story, experts at the National Museum of Natural History said that the mysterious boy in the iron coffin has been identified: He was William T. White, about 15, from Accomack County on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

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