Potters Field

Shelby Forest/Frayser, Shelby, Tennessee, United States

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Description

More than 30,000 people, rich and poor alike, the 1878 victims of yellow fever epidemic, murder victims, stillborn babies, bodies used for medical research, and paupers were buried in the old Shelby County Cemetery on North Watkins between 1890 and 1965. There were no permanent markers placed for the interments only a slab of wood with a number. In the mid-1960s the property was sold for use as Ed Rice Community Center. The remains were not removed. In 2003 the "Frayser Memorial Garden" was erected as tribute to those who had been interred at the site. Margie Glover Daniels Nine-tenths of those who are buried in potter’s field sleep in unknown graves. Those which are known were marked by friends who were present when the bodies were brought out, and simply wrote the name on a piece of plank and placed it at the head of the grave for future identification. There were no trenches dug at the potter’s field, but everybody taken there was placed in a separate grave, which was dug 5 feet deep. The largest number of pauper funerals in one day was one hundred and nine. Mr. Walsh buried in all, as a pauper undertaker, from August 15, 1878, to Oct 1 1878, two thousand bodies. During this period he also attended to five hundred calls on private contract. The establishment employed, during the period above given, about one hundred and thirty hands. They paid their grave diggers two dollars per day, and twenty cents per hour extra for night work. They lost by fever fourteen grave diggers, one coffin trimmer, one stable man and two coffin makers. A History of the Yellow Fever: The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878, in Memphis John McLeod Keathing Howard Association, 1879
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Potters Field, Created by BillionGraves, Shelby Forest/Frayser, Shelby, Tennessee, United States