Introducing Greenwood Cemetery's Potter's Field Monument and Interpretive Plaque Project

Welcome to the place where the present and the past meet,  the start of a community effort to honour its history and its forgotten citizens. 

Greenwood Cemetery in Owen Sound, Ontario, is home to a Potter's Field where at least 1242 vulnerable people from our community lay in their final resting place completely unidentified, without any visible marker to note a life lived or an individual's story. Hundreds of newborns/stillborn/toddlers, orphans, seniors, the working poor, the homeless and hundreds of members of Owen Sound's black community including those who escaped on the Underground Railroad and their descendants. 

Potter's Field (also known as the "Indigent Lot") became operational in 1860 and was in use for more than 100 years. The definition of Indigent is "suffering from extreme poverty."

In 2018, an anonymous donor came forward at the City of Owen Sound's Doors Open cemetery tour and generously offered to support the creation of a permanent monument to honour those in Potter's Field. The City of Owen Sound supports this plan and has agreed to provide a complementary interpretive plaque and website for this project. 

Between December, 2018 and the end of February, 2019, the public is being asked for input to help contribute to ideas for the future design of the Potter's Field monument. Please take a a few minutes of your time to contribute your thoughts. 

At the end of the survey, you will be provided with a contact email and more information about a forthcoming spring 2019 open house.

To review the list of all known persons in Potter's Field, you may visit this link.

On behalf of the donor and the volunteer committee, thank you.

Aly Boltman

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* 1. Did you know that Greenwood Cemetery held a Potter's Field?

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* 2. Check all that apply: I would prefer to see a...

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* 3. What types of design elements or features would you like to see in a monument to honour those in Potter's Field?

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* 4. Do you know of any similar monuments anywhere in the world that you would like the committee to look at for inspiration? If so, please refer to it by name in the box below (or include a link) and we will research it.

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* 5. In the spring of 2019, we will host an open house at Grey Roots to try and seek more information/details from Greenwood Cemetery's Potter's Field descendants and local researchers about those buried there. Grey Roots has generously donated their space and staff support from the Archives for this event. The information we uncover may be used in a website and complementary interpretive plaque to support the project which will eventually be installed along-side of the monument. 

If you may have information or would like to be personally updated about this open house, the monument unveiling or other events related to this project only, please enter your email in the box. Your email will ONLY be used to contact you about this project and will be destroyed when the project is finished.

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* 6. Do you have anything further you'd like to add that you feel is pertinent information for the committee prior to moving forward with this project? If you would like to send us a personal email, please contact us at