Poor Farm Cemetery

Photo added by Robert John Chudek

Poor Farm Cemetery

Also known as Potters Field Cemetery, Sunrise Poor Farm Cemetery

Sunrise, Chisago County, Minnesota, USA
Memorials 28 added

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A financial section article in the 10-Apr-1869 issue of the Taylors Falls Reporter. newspaper shows the purchase of 80 acres of land at the cost of $320 to be used for construction of the county poor farm. This real estate transaction was recorded on 4-Sep-1868.

Chisago County government records show the Sunrise Poor Farm began operation about 1871. The 1885 MN state census lists 6 residents under the supervision of Oscar and Hannah Erickson, the caretakers who lived there along with their daughter Elida, age 3.

The death records in the Chisago County Government Center show that no fewer than 11 persons are buried in this original Chisago County Poor Farm Cemetery location. The possibility exists that as many as a dozen or more people are buried here. This burial site was also used by the second Poor Farm (Green Acres near North Branch), prior to 1905, after which they established their own on-site cemetery to bury their dead.

Today (2015) there are no markers or any physical evidence of a cemetery on this Sunrise site. Aerial photography shows a cultivated field. Only the single sign shown above, erected by the Historical Society, announces the existence of the burial grounds.

Burials of the dead from both Poor Farms were made in Sunrise Township, Section 16, on the east side of Chisago CR 9, one-half mile north of MN Highway 95. The Sunrise Poor Farm buildings were located on the west side of the road.

All of the interments listed here were transcribed from the Chisago County Historical Society records. This information was reconstructed using US and Minnesota Census records and county death certificates. All probable interments have been listed.

Legal documents show "Potter's Field" is still owned by the county. It is listed as a tract of land six rods wide by eight rods long (99 ft x 132 ft), situated in the North West corner of the South East quarter of the North East quarter in Section 16, Township 35 or Range 20. This parcel is "land locked" by private properties on all sides.

This site was one of several Poor Farm histories featured on a Minnesota Public Radio documentary in 2002:

Over the Hill to the Poor House

This radio broadcast reveals examples of the almshouse system in other parts of Minnesota, but used throughout the United States in the 1800's and early 1900's. The program is narrated by Earl W. Leaf, a retired teacher, renowned Swedish historian, and a prolific author of many Chisago County Historical Society Research Library materials.

The following website is dedicated to the hidden stories found in the poor houses across the United States:

The Poor House Story Website

Cemetery established: 1873
Cemetery status: Inactive
Cemetery type: Poor Farm
Location: Sunrise
Township: T35N
Range: R20W
Section: 16

Cemetery bio: Robert.Chudek@gmail.com

GPS Coordinates: 45.5203, -92.8471

  • Added: 1 Jul 2008
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2266886