Boothill Graveyard

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The first graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona, shows the violent side of the Old West. For the second time, Women Writing the West has brought me to Tucson, and Tombstone draws me like a magnet although it is seventy miles away. Last week I went twice. My only visit to this famous cemetery was just before Halloween.

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Boothill contains those who died in the first years of the silver-mining boomtown of Tombstone. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places, and visitors are given a pamphlet with details of the dead. Who says historical research is dull?

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Mr. Killeen was shot by Frank Leslie in a disagreement over Killeen’s wife. The recently widowed Mrs. Killeen married her husband’s murderer.

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Three-fingered Jack Dunlap was robbing a train when a guard shot him. Dunlap’s partners in crime left him, and he named them before he died.

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George Johnson did not realize the horse he bought was stolen.

Outlaws and respectable folk, prostitutes and strangers rest in peace. Margarita, a dance hall girl (who probably kept her last name secret), was stabbed by another, who went by the name of Gold Dollar. They had argued about a man.

Victims of diphtheria. Suicides, many of them women. Accidents, including in mines. One well-dressed stranger was found dead in an abandoned shaft.

Many murdered. Death by hanging, legally and illegally.

 

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Outlaws killed in the shooting at the O.K. Corral.

 

Tombstone is the site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral, where Wyatt Earp and his brothers, along with Doc Holliday, killed three outlaws in a gang. They rest here, together. Two were brothers.

They say that those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

I was shaken. I did not find it spooky, only sobering. I’ll leave you with a little graveyard humor. Lester Moore was a Wells Fargo agent and argued with a man over a package. Both died, but I’m sure Moore got the better epitaph.

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11 thoughts on “Boothill Graveyard”

  1. Poor George Johnson. Makes me think of The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. I imagine this was a common occurrence back then.

  2. We visited Tombstone and Boothill Cemetery last July what a neat place just like the movie about the town and Wyatt Earp had been on our Bucket List and it is a must see place

  3. Interesting how humor takes the edge off tragedy. I have been to Tombstone once and did not stop at this cemetery. I see we will have to return. Thank you for a fun tour.

    1. Same here, Judith. I did not stop here on my first visit to Tombstone. I did meet a man who asked if I’d seen it, and he seemed awestruck and sobered by it. I made sure to see it when I returned. Petra Burchard is right—it’s a desolate place.

    1. Hi, Porsha! I have an older post on Tombstone, with photos. Allen Street is preserved and looks cool! Tombstone is one of the categories, so you can find it easily. Keep up your writing! You have poems and stories within you.

      1. Thank you! I’ve been in the throes of a looong bit of writer’s block; but I’ve picked the pen back up again for a fresh-start coming with the new year. It’s wayyy overdue, and I have *much* to say! 😉
        Brightest Blessings to you and yours,
        ~Porsha

  4. And I thought the made-up tombstones at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion were wryly clever. Art imitates life…and death!

    On Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 1:49 PM Past and Present with Pamela wrote:

    > Pamela Tartaglio posted: ” The first graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona, > shows the violent side of the Old West. For the second time, Women Writing > the West has brought me to Tucson, and Tombstone draws me like a magnet > although it is seventy miles away. Last week I went twice. My o” >

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