Volunteers Work to Place Markers on Hundreds of Forgotten Children’s Graves


A woman in Nebraska is heading up an effort to place markers on the graves of numerous babies and children who were laid to rest without them.

Mary Spencer leads the Littlest Angels Project at Wyuka Cemetery, created 15 years ago by an auxiliary group that eventually merged with the Wyuka Historical Foundation.

Its goal is to honor the many forgotten little ones, according to the Lincoln Journal Star: 

When Nebraska lawmakers established Wyuka Cemetery and Park in 1869, the legislative act included the promise the cemetery would provide free burials for orphans and castaways, babies from families too poor to afford a stone, and state wards — up to the age of 18. When the auxiliary started the Littlest Angels Project, it found graves scattered across the 124-acre cemetery. The group raised money for a marker here. Another there.

Mary and other volunteers on the foundation’s board are working on Babyland first, then will move to Section 3, and Home of the Friendless later.

“It’s a daunting task, finding those graves marked only with a number on those concrete discs that have sunk below the surface over the decades. The record books give a number: 2,850,” the article read.

Six hundred and ninety-nine of those are known as “infant of” or “baby girl or boy” which leaves 2,151 named without a headstone, according to the foundation’s website.

Mary and her husband, Lorre, have discovered many buried discs and money raised by the project has paid for markers that cost $225 each. Cemetery workers plant the markers engraved with WHF and have so far placed around 200 of them.

Mary believes the project is extremely important.

“Everyone has the right to the dignity of a burial,” she commented, adding, “The dignity of a stone there to mark their soul.”

Ten of 47 areas at the cemetery have unmarked graves of babies and children, so the volunteers with the project have a way to go, but Spencer is up to the challenge.

“This is my baby. I was made for this,” she said.


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