Kalamazoo Michigan

Project Manager: David Anthony Taylor

Riverside Cemetery was established in 1862 as a city-owned cemetery. At the time, 26 acres of land were purchased from Jeremiah P. Woodbury. Riverside Cemetery was primarily used by the city's common folk, whereas wealthy families tended to use the city's other municipally owned cemetery, Mountain Home.  Expansions and land acquisitions took place in 1882, 1934, 1939, 1950, 1953, 1960, 1962, and 1984. Today the cemetery sits on 90 acres. 

Kalamazoo Michigan

Riverside Cemetery

Potter's Field:

Potter's field, also known as a pauper's grave or a common grave, is a term used to describe a burial site or cemetery where unidentified, indigent, or have no one to claim their remains for a proper burial. The term has historical and biblical origins, tracing back to the New Testament of the Bible, specifically the Gospel of Matthew, where a potter's field was said to have been purchased with the 30 pieces of silver returned by Judas Iscariot after he betrayed Jesus.

In modern times, a potter's field typically refers to a designated area within a cemetery or a separate burial ground where those who couldn't afford a proper burial. These individuals might include the homeless, individuals without family or next of kin, or those whose identities are unknown. Due to the lack of financial resources or social connections, they are laid to rest in these communal graves without the usual markers or individual headstones.

Potter's fields are usually conducted with minimal ceremony. The term "potter's field" can also carry symbolic meaning, reflecting the idea that these individuals are returned to the earth much like clay that a potter molds, creating a connection between the transient nature of life and the earth itself. While the term carries a somewhat somber connotation due to its association with people who have fallen through the cracks of society, it also reflects a sense of compassion and a recognition of the intrinsic value of every human life, regardless of their circumstances.There is no exact number of those buried in Potter’s Field, but of those approximately 2,276 have been identified by name. Of those names are, United States Colored Troops (USCT) from the Civil War as well as other military personnel.

Potter’s Field – Kalamazoo Michigan c. 1862 - c.1946 Burial ground for unknown, unclaimed, or indigent people: regardless of race or religion.  

List of those buried in Kalamazoo Michigan Potter's Field - Riverside Cemetery

Kalamazoo Michigan