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Surveyors searching for the graves of 3 lynched Lawrence men



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    LAWRENCE, Kansas (KCTV) — Isaac Smith. George Robertson. Pete Vinegar.

Geological surveyors are hoping to find the unmarked graves of these 3 men who were lynched by a white mob in Lawrence in 182.

The search for their graves started before the pandemic, but it was slowed down as offices began to close and work from home. However, it gave a city clerk some time to find a plot map of Oak Hill Cemetery, which showed where the bodies were buried.

Geological surveyors, along with historians and volunteers, are now using high tech equipment to pinpoint the graves of the 3 men. It’s a slow and tedious process, but the geological surveyor hopes in a few weeks the community will have more information on who is buried here, and where.

“I’ve always been curious about this potter’s field. It’s been kind of a mystery I’ve never looked into,” Kait McNeely, a volunteer with the project, said.

Last year, Ursula Minor, the president of the Lawrence branch of the NAACP, said lynching’s like this weren’t talked about.

“Out of fear. Most of the black community didn’t say much about it. It was more of a hush hush kind of thing,” Minor said.

Dr. Blair Schneider with the Kanas Geological Survey is leading the data collection. She says it might be hard to determine what’s below the surface after years of decomposition.

“My hope, my hope is that I can do something that goes directly to the community that it serves,” Schneider said.

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