8. Potter’s Field

The term Potter’s Field has been long used to describe the section for burials within cemetery’s walls often housing those too poor to pay for burial in the general sections. It is believed that the term “Potter’s Field” originated from the Bible. In Matthew 27:1-8, Judas gives the money he received for betraying Jesus to the chief priests. The chief priests decide not to keep the money, for it has been tainted with Jesus’ blood, and instead use it to buy a potter’s field to bury strangers.
Potter’s Field at the Old City Cemetery is located on the east side of the main cemetery road. It runs along the sloping edge down to the resaca, the most unstable portion of the land. Potter’s Field was designated for the burial of the indigent, but many others are buried there, including the unclaimed bodies of bandits and criminals, victims of disease epidemics and war. In fact, several “Villistas”, men from Pancho Villa’s army, can also be found in Potter’s Field. Burials in Potter’s Field were thought to have ceased after this period, but there are burial dates as late as 1984, the same year in which an official order was made to cease burials in Potter’s Field.