Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2021: Get Help Now!

EFFECTIVE AUG. 16: At all state offices/facilities, employees and visitors will be required to wear face masks indoors logo

DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: September 4, 2012


NEW CASTLE (Sept. 4, 2012) - The Baylor Potter's Field between the Baylor Women's Correctional Institute and DHSS' Herman Holloway Campus will host a public service of dedication Sept. 12 to honor the memory of the more than 600 Delawareans buried there. The service also will mark the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

During the past two years, the Baylor Potter's Field has been undergoing a renewal, which has included the addition of low-maintenance plants and decorative fencing, the planting of trees and grasses, and the creation of a sign, "State of Delaware, Potter's Field, Est. 1979." The sign will be unveiled during the ceremony.

The Rev. William Boatwright, chaplain for the Delaware Psychiatric Center, will officiate at the ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m. Sept. 12. Music will be led by Scott Ward, honorary minister of music for the First Unitarian Church in Wilmington. Speakers will include DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf and Steve Dettwyler of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. The ceremony is open to the public.

Approximately 646 individuals are buried in Baylor Potter's Field, including clients of the former Delaware State Hospital, now known as the Delaware Psychiatric Center. Individuals who do not have families, were indigent and who die while living in state facilities are buried there. The cemetery is the responsibility of DHSS.

"As public servants, it is our responsibility to honor the individual citizens interred in Baylor Potter's Field and to hold them in our memories," Landgraf said. "This ceremony indicates the reverence we have for their individuals lives and for the grounds in which they are buried. As we pause to remember those lost on 9/11, we also take time to remember those souls interred in Baylor Potter's Field."

The renewal of Baylor Potter's Field is a community project, led by a committee of employees from the Departments of Health and Social Services and Agriculture, and a Master Gardener. Community donations include 100 American flags from Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Bear and mums from the Delaware Psychiatric Center Greenhouse. AmeriCorps Delaware, which has contributed funding for landscaping and other improvements, also will have its members beautify the grounds on Sept. 10.

Additional funds are needed for a bench, more landscaping and an historic marker to acknowledge the grounds as the place where many residents of the former Delaware State Hospital were buried without ceremony. Donations can be made to the Friends of the Potter's Field Fund, c/o Delaware Community Foundation, 100 W. 10th St., Suite 115, P.O. Box 1636, Wilmington, DE 19899, or online at

Committee members include Dana Chant, cemetery manager, from the Division of Social Services; Steve Dettwyler from the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH); Clare Garrison with the state Office of Volunteerism; John McDermott, DHSS Facilities Operations; Dara Schumaier, DSAMH; Faith Kuehn, Department of Agriculture; and Bill Horne, Master Gardener.

For more information about Baylor Potter's Field, contact Dana Chant at (302) 255-9539.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.