Welcome to the Woodlawn Cemetery Potters' Field. "Potters' Field" is a historical designation, going back to the time of the Bible, when a field outside of the settlement was set aside to bury travelers and strangers to the community. A field used for such a purpose would be a non-productive field with poor soil not suitable for crops, perhaps used by potters to dig for clay; thus the term "Potters' Field".
In America, Potters' Field is the final resting place of people who did not have family financial support or personal funds to afford a burial plot. There was no charge to be buried in Potters' Field.
The Woodlawn Cemetery Potters' Field was established when the cemetery was created, in 1863. Some 1200 people were buried here between approximately 1863 and 1939. Some graves probably never had headstones. Some might have had a simple, handmade wooden cross or marker that has long since disappeared. Some were people passing through, whose real names were never known. Many were immigrants and settlers who built lives here, far from their families in distance lands. A great many babies and little children are buried here, as infant mortality was very high, and medical care was lacking. There are many single graves here; lots of these people died impoverished and alone. There are also a great many people here who worked hard and raised wonderful families, the descendants of whom are still with us, enriching our town. These were the laborers, the shopkeepers, the domestic workers, the paperhangers, the stoneworkers and carpenters and trades people of a thousand talents who built our community. We owe them a great dept; they are a part of us. We honor their lives and their contributions and we maintain this lovely flowering hillside as our final tribute to them.
Because these were ordinary people, not much was written down about them and we know little about their individual lives, their struggles, their triumphs and their defeats. If you have an ancestor buried here and would be willing to share his or her story with us, we would be deeply grateful. We will safeguard and treasure that history; it is our history, too.