Search billions of records on


Potter’s Field or Escambia County Cemetery

In December of 1983, Pensacola Journal staff writer, Craig Pittman, penned one of his routine columns, which should have screamed louder than most. It began:
The problem of the countyís oft-neglected Potterís Field has haunted the County Commission for years. But commissioners may find a way to lay the Potter’s Field problem to rest, once and for all.
Since 1885, the county had used a large plot of land directly across Leonard Street from the Sheriff’s Departmentís administrative building for burials, according to yellowed newspaper clippings. The then-County Administrator, Rod Kendig, said that it was almost impossible to keep sufficient records of the burials. The county reimbursed the funeral homes $75 for a child and $150 for an adult burial, in exchange for which the dead were to receive a plain casket and full embalming. Pat Donnelly, county Director of Intergovernmental Relations said that no one knew who was buried where because the funeral home would dig and grave and bury the deceased without making a record. The county was hoping to find a solution to the problem by entering an arrangement with the Good Hope A.M.E. Church, which had owned an eight-acre cemetery on Barrancas Avenue (adjacent to the Warrington Elementary School playground) since 1852. Pat Donnelly met with Pastor K. David White and some of his deacons with a proposal: the county would fence off the Good Hope Cemetery and survey the property and the church would try to obtain an agreement with neighbor owners for a permanent access. In addition, the church would give the county a 50-foot-square plot of property to use as a new Potter’s Field. The outcome of that proposal is unknown.

In October of 1984, Pensacola Journal staff writer, Rob Alexander, followed up with the matter of indigent burials. Commissioner Willie Junior indicated there was a good policy in place, but the problem was a matter of insufficient funds for that policy. The County Commission finance committee unanimously approved higher payments for funerals, burials, and vaults for the county’s indigent. The county’s plan would then provide an increased reimbursement and a rotation list of funeral homes for hospitals and nursing homes to use when an indigent patient died.

Currently the arrangement for indigent burials is the same. Two local funeral homes are on a rotation call list and one will be called by the Escambia County Human Assistance Division. The dead are removed and prepared for burial by the designated funeral home and buried in one of two designated local cemeteries. The current system seems now to be much improved from the earlier days of poor record-keeping and an all-but-forgotten burial ground on Leonard Street.

Directions: Drive north on “E” Street to Leonard Street. Turn left on Leonard Street to “H” Street. Turn left on “H” Street to Cross Street and turn right on Cross Street. The cemetery is on the right side of the road at the top of the hill, about one block from “H” Street. This large cemetery covers several blocks. It has not been surveyed and no records have been located.

North “I” and Cross Streets
GPS = N300 26.375   W0870 14.020

Please send corrections or additions to Evan Strohl, Chairman, WFGS Cemetery Committee, or the Webmaster. All sources will be credited.