Sam Radges

Many Topekans may not recognize his name, but they will recognize the story. Radges is the man who contracted with the newspaper to deliver the paper to his grave for 20 years after his death. Not only that, he installed a light in his tomb so that he might see to read it!

When Radges died in 1921, the Topeka Herald reported:

Sam RadgesColonel Sam Radges is an oddity. There are few who have lived in Topeka in the past thirty years but what know this. The colonel likes to be odd. He never tries to do things as others do them. He prefers to do them in a way all his own. . . .  He has been know to wear an overcoat in summer to keep out heat, but this adoption of Irishman's idea of scientific equation was mre of a joke than a desire to exploit new theory. While  Colonel Radges would hardly paass muster at an army recruiting station now, owing to his small stature, he has papers that prove that he made a good record as a soldier in the Civil War.


Radges was a native of England who followed his brother to America. His sibling's descriptions of Niagra Falls inspired the adventurous nature of Radges. “I knew then that I should never be satisfied until after I, myself, had seen that magnificent body of water,” said Radges. “That's why I came to America – to see Niagra Falls.”

It was that natural phenomenon that convinced Radges to make his home in America. He spent some time in New York and was making his home in Ohio when the Civil War broke out. In February, 1862, he enlisted in the 74th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served through much of the war, mustering out in Goldsboro, North Carolina, a couple of weeks before the war ended. He served as postmaster in Dodge City for a while before making his home in the Kansas capital. In 1869, he began publishing the Topeka Directory and did so until his death. Before phone books, the city directory listed people, addresses, and occupations. They were valuable resources then and invaluable resources for historians now.

About  Historic Topeka Cemetery

Historic Topeka Cemetery is operated by its lot owners, each of whom is a member of the Topeka Cemetery Association. Day-to-day operations are overseen by the association’s nine member board of directors and conducted by the superintendent.

As you walk the grounds or visit the website, know that your loved ones rest with ours. As they have been since its founding in 1859, Historic Topeka Cemetery’s caretakers are committed to respectful maintenance and preserving memories for generations to come.

Thank you for your support and patronage of Historic Topeka Cemetery, the oldest chartered cemetery in Kansas.


Historic Topeka Cemetery

1601 SE 10th Avenue . Topeka, Kansas 66607

(785) 233-4132