Memorial Planned To Honor People Buried In Unmarked Graves In Spencer

Spencer, Iowa — There are thousands of unmarked graves in Iowa — and two retired northwest Iowa men have embarked on a project to honor nearly two dozen people buried decades ago in unmarked graves in Spencer.

The graves are in an area of Riverside Cemetery in Spencer called Potter’s Field where unknown or indigent people were buried between 1922 and 1954. Bob Rose, who was the long-time director of Spencer’s Chamber of Commerce, and retired Clay County Deputy Sheriff Mark Harleman are heading up the project.

Harleman has drawn up plans for a memorial.

The price tag for the memorial is just over 11 thousand dollars and the two men are raising money to cover the cost. There are other volunteer efforts around the state to acknowledge people buried in unmarked graves. This summer, a group identified the graves of 28 black Iowans in a Cedar Rapids cemetery. Two volunteers in central Iowa have identified and put new markers on the graves of dozens of veterans buried in the oldest cemetery in Des Moines.



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