Mesa County Genealogical Society

Potters' Field

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Active dates for this cemetery are not clear

This land was homesteaded by Joseph Harper in 1883 and then sold to William Palmer [deed recorded 23 June 1884] who owned the property until 1911. - Possibly 1936 ???? The Cemetery was sold to the City of Grand Junction in 1919. Copies of deeds have been located and will be added to this webpage.

A review of all the various articles, deeds, obituaries, etc. seems to indicate that there may have been several different cemeteries designated as Potters' or Pauper's Field. A lot of research will need to be tackled to separate the information into a coherent history.

Potters Field Cemetery Potters Field Cemetery- **Photo Credit: DRJ 2004

Potters Field History

The history of Potters Field's in Mesa County seems to be very convoluted. The 'Find a Graves' data seems to indicate that there may have been various Potters Field cemeteries in Mesa County. Kathy Jordan submitted a great deal of details that can be found here.

Joseph Harper homesteaded the property in 1883 and sold it to William Palmer [deed recorded 23 June 1884] who owned the property until 1911. There is nothing in the description that indicates there was a cemetery on the property. Kathy Jordan stated that there were no known burials during the time that Mr. Palmer owned the property. If that is the case, where were the following individuals buried? Thomas J Allison, 1905; Lawrence Gaffney, 1866; Nils Larson, 1892; etc.

Interesting article regarding purchase of a 'Potter's Field" from "Local Happenings" section of the Daily Sentinel 20 Feb 1894.

The following article could possibly refer to a 'Potters Field' in 1885, although it may also be related to one of the other cemeteries in the area at the time.

Potter's Field, GJ News, 04 July 1885, Sat, pg 3

Potters Field

20-30 Club Seeks Information on City's Forgotten Cemetery

Burials after Potters Field property was sold to C.L. Connely in 1911.[Two in 1911, and two in 1913. However Find a Grave shows five in 1913]. Last burial in 1936.

Cemetery sold to the City of Grand Junction in 1919.

This article appeared in the Daily Sentinel on 3 April 1919 addressed to the Mesa County Commissioners.

Eagle Scout Mark Ludwig was mentioned in an article on 14 Nov 1983 for his efforts to clean-up the cemetery and research some of the burials.

Potter's Field was also the center of a ghost search in 2007 and 2010.

'Talking to the Undead'; Free Press 31 Oct 2007.

"Hunting the Haunted"; Daily Sentinal, 23 May 2010.

"Hunting the Haunted" continued.

Several files been located named "Cemetery Potter" that includes research done by Harold Hawkworth, President of the Telephone Pioneers of America with details of research from 1894/85. They also include 'Historic Preservation survey forms. On line #18 of these forms there is the following note: "Disturbance: moderate; "Vandals have removed headstones, weathering has obscured headstones or destroyed them. Threats include Erosion, Neglect and Vandalism."; A note from Gladys Tovrea Brandstoettner regarding a contribution of information to the USGenWeb Archives; Several tombstone photographs; a copy of a telephone interview from January 1986 with Don Riggle of the defunct 20-30 Club; notes by Billie Richardson of the Mesa County Genealogical Society; land records; obituary copies; a list of 'pauper burials'; the application for registry on the Register of Historic Places, etc. The documents have been scanned and will be included here.

Find a Grave - Potters Field.

Additional information on this cemetery can be found here including individuals buried, tombstone photographs and a detailed cemetery history by local researcher Kathy Jordan.

Discussion with Marie Tipping at the Loyd Files Research Library in October 2022 indicates that research needs to be done to establish which burials in the Orchard Mesa Cemetery Lower Section A before 1906 (when it was purchased by Father Conway for the Catholic Cemetery section) might have been Pauper burials.

Gate Location Address: 26 3/8 Rd; Lat/Long; Status: Inactive

Directions: From Highway 50 take Canon St. (26 1/4 Rd) South to B 3/4 Rd. Turn West and go to 26 3/8th Rd, then South about 1/4 mile to Cemetery on left Side (East). Just north of Police firing range.

Potter's Field Burials/Obituaries

Burials from Find-A-Grave, 33 listed (**see note below). Additions of obituaries is in progress.

Apparently some of the names of the individuals are on the back of the cemetery sign although my understanding is that they are not correct. A photo would be a great addition.

One of the questions about the burials in this cemetery is when they may have first occurred. The land that is now Potter's Field that was homesteaded in 1883 was initially in the public domain. According to the newspapers there are some deaths that occurred before 1883 when this cemetery and Hope Cemetery were established. They are listed below:

  • The following burials which are listed on the back of the 'Potter's Field' sign are possibly not in this cemetery. In an article that was written by Kathy Jordan published in the Daily Sentinel on 04 Jun 2010 she mentioned that the following burials were noted to have been made in the "new town cemetery" although there was not description of exactly where this cemetery might have been located. The area where Potter's Field is located was public domain land when those burials occurred.

    • Baby Garland - December 1881
    • Benjamin A. "Ben" Scott - 1 April 1882; drowned in Grand River.
    • Patrick Henry Gordon - 01 Apr 1882 (?)

    The following is a list of some of the burials from Find-A-Grave. ** Note: It seems very likely that this list is a consolidation of several 'Potters Field' cemeteries, including the section within the Orchard Mesa Cemetery. Obituaries have been located and are being added.

    The following burials/obituaries are sorted by date rather than alphabetical. This may help pinpointing in which graveyard these individuals may have been buried.

    • James Bowman - Possibly June 1883.
    • Lettie Hammond- 20 May 1887.
    • Mrs Joesph Steele - 4 Aug 1888 - This death notice is for the 'Mother of Mr CW Steele. Is this the same individual? The notice places her burial at Orchard Mesa Cemetery.
    • Reither 30 Oct 1888 - This death notice is for a Mrs. Reither, wife of Joseph Reither. The notice indicates burial at Orchard Mesa Cemetery.
    • Nils Larson - 21 Jul 1892
    • Thomas Mullen - 26 Jul 1895, His death notice does not indicate where he was buried.
    • JB Scott - 9 Sep 1895
    • Jack Smith - 9 Sep 1895
    • Ira J Smith - 16 Feb 1896
    • Lawrence Gaffney 09 Nov 1896 (where was he actually buried?)
    • Mrs Seville Pacheco - 09 Aug 1898 (Death notice states that the family was very poor, but does not note actual burial place.)

    • Scotty Smith - 25 Apr 1902
    • The 22 May 1903 Daily Sentinel included a notice of the death of 'The Italian' who was buried in Potter's Field
    • Thomas J Allison - ????- 12 Jul 1905. Death notice mentions relatives in California.
    • John Sunshee - 17 Feb 1909
    • Frank Ryan - 19 Dec 1910

    • Elmer Price - 1911
    • Bertha Kaufman - 1908/1911: No obituary, death, or burial details located. 'Bada' Kaufman, daughter of Jacob and Maria Kaufman is listed in the 1910 US Federal Census [18 April 1910] as 1 year 10/12 months, born in Colorado. Father was a laborer in the beet fields. In 1913 another daughter was born also named Bertha. Neither Jacob or Maria Kaufan's obituaries mention the death of this daughter.
    • Frank Flannery - 17 Feb 1913
    • Monroe Loyd - 31 Mar 1913
    • John H Smith - 19 May 1913
    • Mary Middaugh 06 Jul 1913.
    • Alice Adelia Synder Middaugh - 25 Aug 1913

    • Samuel E "Cherokee Bill" Cowell Column 1; Column 2, - 23 April 1923 (possibly born in 1819?).
    • Clarence H. Adams - 1925
    • Pat D - 06 Dec 1927

    • Julian Pacheco - 28 Sep 1936 [last burial?]

    • Infant Lowe. There is an "Infant Lowe" born and died 14 May 1914 listed in the MCPLD Obituary index as buried in Rhone (Riverside). Is this the same child?
    • Infant Palmer. 19 Aug 1893. Obituary states this was the infant of Mrs. Charlotte Palmer "a stranger in the city".
    • Edward Russell

    Additional possible Potter's Field Burials found in 'Potter Field' files.

    • Garcia, Danarco, DOD May 16, 1926, Buried Paupers - paid for by D&RGW
    • Robert Pauley, DOD March 11, 1929, Buried Paupers
    • Junie Potter, DOD June 12, 1932, Buried Paupers - count paid (sic)
    • William Roberts, DOD Aug 27, 1932, Buried Paupers [Interestingly this individual is listed as being buried in the Mesa-Molina Cemetery on Find a Grave, but there is no tombstone photograph.
    • Unknown Englishman, obituary 16 & 17 Apr 1901, Daily Sentinel and 19 Apr 1901 possibly the Evening Sun?. obituaries indicates death at Star Lodging House.

    Back to Cemetery Alphabetical List

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