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Two more articles below… Enjoy!

Potter’s Field

Written by Judie Palmer – January 10, 2021

The Alhambra Cemetery’s Potter’s Field is immediately west of the cemetery. It consists of three acres and was operated by Contra Costa County until the City of Martinez took over the operation in 1992.

It was originally established in 1873, but records show others had previously been buried there before it was a potter’s field. Once established, it was considered a place for those who were too poor to afford a lot in the East end of the cemetery. Over the years, however, we have found records that show it was also the burial site for foreigners who lost their lives while in the area, immigrants that had no family, and people of color.

Many of the aforementioned that died in the Martinez County hospital such as Nicolas Glaros (21 years old from Ikaria, Greece) and Aaron Rice (former slave), were buried in the Potter’s Field section. On the other hand, recent discoveries show decedents were also brought from the Highland Hospital (Oakland, CA), such as Sidney Dearing, owner of the famous Creole Cafe.

During the busy time of Port Costa’s grain shipping years, accidents occurred on the Strait and more specifically loading and unloading trains. George Homan Johnson, who came from a wealthy family in Nottingham, England, was one such victim. He was a second mate on the James Kerr when it was docked at Eppinger’s Warehouse (Port Costa). He died at the age of 31 when H. R. Holl and George were returning to Port Costa from Crockett. Holl mentions that it was extremely foggy and windy that night on the tracks. They never heard the Southern Pacific train approaching. The Sailor’s Union of San Francisco purchased a headstone for him in the Potter’s Field and oversaw his services.

It is interesting to note that Reverend Strong from the Seamen’s Institute of the Pacific Coast, purchased a plot of land in the upper section of Potter’s Field for sailors who died from accidents while being docked at the wharfs. We believe the plot was secured in 1907.

Currently the Recreation Department and the Cemetery Commission of Martinez oversees the cemetery.

The original content of this post was taken from the previous website and updated for republishing in 2021.


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