The oldest section of Greenwood Cemetery comprises land purchased from the federal government by Dr. Ziba Swan of Albany, New York, in 1821. The first interments on the one-half-acre parcel set aside by Swan for a cemetery occurred in 1825 when Polly Utter and her daughter Cynthia were murdered. Twenty-one years later twenty-one local citizens including Dr. Ebenezer Raynale, a member of Michigan's first senate, purchased the cemetery property and an additional one and one-half acres from Swan. Martha Baldwin, founder of the Ladies' Library Association, organized local women into a group that in 1885 incorporated as the Greenwood Cemetery Association. Between 1846 and 1904 the cemetery was enlarged three times, increasing in size to eight acres. In 1946 the city of Birmingham took over operation of the cemetery.
Created in 1825 on the property of Dr. Ziba Swan, Greenwood Cemetery contains the remains of some of Oakland County's earliest pioneers and most prominent citizens. The oldest graves, those of Polly and Cynthia Utter, date from 1825. Dr. Swan was interred in 1847. Birmingham's only Revolutionary War veteran, John Daniels, was buried here in 1832. Additional interments include: Michigan State Senator Ebenezer Raynale (1881); Martha Baldwin, for whom the Birmingham library is
named (1913); Birmingham Eccentric publishers George Mitchell (1929) and Almeron Whitehead (1926); U.S. Congressman Roland Trowbridge (1881); George Gough Booth (1949) and Ellen Scripps Booth (1948), who established the Cranbrook Educational Community; and Pewabic Pottery founder Mary Chase Stratton (1961) and her husband William Buck Stratton (1938).