History uncovered in Topeka Cemetery

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – There are 35,000 people are buried at the Historic Topeka Cemetery, but with the help of one Topekan, hundreds of unmarked graves are now being discovered.

MaryAnn Kester is the woman behind the discovery.

She finds the unmarked graves by “witching” for them.

Kester said when she was a child, her grandfather taught her how to witch for water.

She said while there are some differences between witching for water and witching for graves, there are many similarities.

She tells KSNT News she learned the technique from a genealogy class.

“I learned this a few weeks ago, so I haven’t known how to do this very long,” said Kester.

After finding the unmarked graves, a group known as Friends of Historic Topeka Cemetery decided to start a commemorative project called “Remember Me.”

People at the cemetery said it’s a way to give back to Topeka and remember those from the past.

“If not for this project, many others would still remain unknown and unspoken for,” said Kester.

The unmarked graves in the “Remember Me” *project are at least 75 years or older and many of them are for children.

The superintendent at the cemetery, Lisa Sandmeyer said most of the graves are from The Great Depression era.

“We’re looking back at that era, and we’re thinking of those families that were so strapped or so grieved that they couldn’t come back and put a gravestone on their child’s grave,” Sandmeyer said.

She said she hopes this will bring some positivity to Topeka.

“I hope this will help Topeka feel good about itself by learning about all the wonderful people out here.”

The project kicks off Memorial Day weekend.

For more information about the “Remember Me” project, you can visit the website at CLICK HERE.

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