The hunt for history

Pure Nebraska
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 10:07 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Archaeological investigators, along with members of the Dakota County Historical Society, are hoping to finally uncover the whereabouts of a lost cemetery.

Dennis Reinert is the president of the Dakota County Historical Society. He says there was once a village called Omadi just south of modern-day Dakota City. “Omadi was a river town,” Reinert said. “It only existed for about ten years, from 1856 to 1866. give or take a year or two. The town in its heyday had 400 people. It had a newspaper, a post office, a saw mill, several other things, and of course, a cemetery. We did find where we think the town used to be. There’s nothing there now.” But, the Omadi cemetery has been elusive. Historical society members have been working to determine its location, which is believed to be the oldest in the area.

“Two years ago, we tried to find the cemetery,” Reinert said. “We think we missed the location of the cemetery by probably a half mile or so at that time. A man named Mike Huber, who is a collector of old maps, was studying old aerial photographs, and he said he ran across a photo that appeared to show an old cemetery plot about where the Omadi cemetery was believed to be.” This discovery gave the historical society new data on where to search.

Two investigators along with state archaeologist Dave Williams turned out to search for the cemetery in the new location. “They are using ground penetration radar,” Reinert said. “I’m not an expert on this, but I do know what they are not looking for. They are not looking for bodies, a casket, or old hinges. They are looking for changes in the dirt. They are looking for a dissimilar stacking of the dirt. When you dig a grave, the dirt will appear differently on the radar images.”

Members of the Dakota County Historical Society hope to have some results from this work in the next two weeks. We will keep you updated on what the researchers uncover.