History Nebraska Blog

The gravestones with no names

By David L. Bristow, Editor

 

This headstone once bore a child’s name, but it has been chiseled off.

Names have also been erased from these military headstones.

Who would do such a thing, and why? Here’s a clue: it wasn’t vandals, and no bodies lie beneath the headstones.

Do you know where to find this strange cemetery? If you don’t already know, try to guess where such a place might be and then scroll down to find out.

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The grave markers stand in the old post cemetery at Fort Robinson. Even if you’ve visited the fort, you might not have seen the cemetery, which is tucked away on a back road. (The Fort Robinson History Center has driving tour booklets with directions, historic photos, and a fold-out map.)

Between 1875 and 1945, some 258 people were buried at the post cemetery, but the location is prone to flooding—it’s on bottomland near the confluence of Soldier Creek and the White River. In 1947 the Army disinterred the graves. The bodies were reburied under new headstones at Fort McPherson National Cemetery

The marble headstones shown here were left behind and the names chiseled off. The area is still labeled and fenced in recognition of its former role, and out of respect for any unmarked and unidentified graves that might remain.

The fort closed in 1948. Today a state historical marker tells the cemetery’s story. It is one of several markers on the grounds of what is now Fort Robinson State Historical Park.

A sign on the cemetery gate:

 

(Posted March 3, 2022)

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