Erie County Genealogy  
Cemetery Records

OLD ALMS HOUSE CEMETERY

DOBLER FARM, BLAIR ROAD, FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP, ERIE COUNTY, PA


  contributed by William Klauk

 

  THE STORY AS RECORDED ON THE MONUMENT

[front side of monument]

THE HISTORY OF THE

OLD ALMS HOUSE CEMETERY

 

WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THIS CEMETERY LIE MORE THAN

1500 OF ERIE COUNTY'S SONS AND DAUGHTERS

DATING BACK TO THOMAS JEFFERSON'S PRESIDENCY.

WHAT STORIES THEY COULD TELL!

THOSE BURIED HERE CAME FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, FROM ALL RACES,

AND FROM MANY DIFFERENT RELIGIONS. THEY WERE AS DIFFERENT FROM

ONE ANOTHER AS ARE THE ENUMERABLE SNOWFLAKES YET WHEN THEY

PASSED AWAY - FROM NATURAL AND UNNATURAL CAUSES - THEY

SHARED ONE COMMON FATE

THEY EACH LEFT THIS EARTH AS PENNILESS PAUPERS.

WE WILL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW DETAILS OF THEIR LIVES.

BUT WE DO KNOW THAT MOST WERE EITHER OCCUPANTS OF THE OLD ALMS

HOUSE (POORHOUSE) ONCE LOCATED AT WEST 23RD AND PITTSBURGH AVE.

OR THEIR BODIES WERE SENT HERE

WHEN OFFICIALS COULD NOT FIND NEXT OF KIN.

THIS PAUPER'S CEMETERY, OR POTTER'S FIELD AS IT HAS BEEN KNOWN,

WAS NOT ALWAYS SO KINDLY-REMEMBERED

OR SO CHERISHED AS IT IS TODAY.

 

IN THE MID-1800'S, BODIES FROM THE POORHOUSE - MANY OF THEM

INFANTS OR YOUNG CHILDREN - WERE BURIED IN UNMARKED GRAVES IN THE

OLD ALMS HOUSE CEMETERY. THE PRACTICE CONTINUED UNTIL DEC. 2, 1920

WHEN A 72-YEAR OLD MAN BECAME THE 690TH PERSON TO BE BURIED

AT THE ALMS HOUSE. THE NEXT ALMS HOUSE DEATH, A 61-YEAR OLD MAN

WAS BURIED AT DOBLER FARM - THE PRESENT LOCATION OF THIS

CEMETERY IN FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP.

OVER THE YEARS, THE ORIGINAL POTTER'S FIELD WAS SIMPLY FORGOTTEN.

BUT IN 1977, WHEN AN INDUSTRIAL PARK WAS PROPOSED FOR THE AREA,

THE ERIE MORNING NEWS USING AN OLD COUNTY MAP DISCOVERED THE

CONSTRUCTION WOULD INTRUDE UPON AND DISTURB

THE GRAVES OF THE 690 LONG-FORGOTTEN PAUPERS.

AS A RESULT ERIE COUNTY CORONER MERLE WOOD, WORKING WITH A

DOWSER OR DIVINER, UNEARTHED THE REMAINS OF 443 PEOPLE.

THE REMAINS OF ANOTHER 247 SOULS, BURIED UNDER UTILITY LINES

AND ROADWAYS, WERE LEFT BEHIND BY COURT ORDER ON SEPT 7, 1977.

SEVEN VAULTS CONTAINING THE REMAINS OF THE 443 WERE INTERRED

HERE AT DOBLER FARM CEMETERY ON BLAIR ROAD WITH

APPROPRIATE RELIGIOUS SERVICES.

[rear side of monument]

 

EXACT IDENTITIES OF THE 443, AS WELL AS THE 247 LEFT BEHIND

WILL NEVER BE KNOWN. THE NAMES OF THOSE BURIED HERE SINCE 1921

HAVE BEEN RECORDED IN THE ALMS HOUSE RECORD BOOK.

THIS PROPERTY, OWNED BY THE COUNTY OF ERIE, WAS GIVEN ONLY

MINIMAL MAINTENANCE UNTIL AUGUST 1991 WHEN ANOTHER MORNING

NEWS SERIES ON THE POTTER'S FIELD TRIGGERED COUNTY GOVERNMENT

INTO TAKING A COMPASSIONATE LOOK AT THE CEMETERY.

A COMMITTEE COMPOSED OF COUNTY OFFICIALS, POLITICAL, BUSINESS AND

CIVIC LEADERS AND ADMINISTRATORS FROM NEARBY PLEASANT

RIDGE MANOR BEGAN MEETING MONTHLY TO CREATE A FORMAL

CEMETERY, ONE THAT WOULD BECOME A DIGNIFIED FINAL

RESTING PLACE FOR THOSE BURIED HERE FOR ALL TIME.

 

THIS NEW CEMETERY WAS DEDICATED MAY 27, 1994

 

SINCE MOST OF THOSE BURIED HERE CANNOT BE IDENTIFIED

ACCORDING TO PLOT, WHAT YOU SEE HERE IS NOT A TRADITIONAL

CEMETERY OF LONG ROWS OF GRAVESTONES BUT A BEAUTIFUL MEMORIAL

GARDEN THAT COMBINES THE AURA OF HISTORY, NATURE, AND

SPIRITUALITY. THE ASHES OF THE RECENTLY DECEASED PAUPERS HAVE BEEN

SCATTERED AMONG THE TREES AND THE FLOWERS SO THAT

EVEN IN DEATH THEY WILL BECOME PART OF NEW LIFE.

THIS CEMETERY RECOGNIZES THAT NO MATTER THE RACE,

RELIGION, CREED OR STATION IN LIFE, ALL HUMANS ARE EQUAL,

AND SHARE IN THE SAME FATE. THIS NATURAL CEMETERY HAS BEEN

CREATED TO COMFORT THE LIVING IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT

THOSE BURIED HERE WILL NEVER AGAIN BE FORGOTTEN, THAT THEY

WILL REST HERE IN PEACE WITH DIGNITY. - FOR ETERNITY.

To The Dedication Page

 


 

This page was last updated on  Saturday, December 02, 2000 .

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