Sunday, August 3, 2014

Boothill: Tombstone's famous cemetery

The view from Boothill

Many towns in the Old West had cemeteries referred to as Boothill, but none are probably as famous as the Boothill cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona.

Poor George!
The cemetery is filled with gunslingers who met their end in Tombstone, including three members of the Clanton gang who died at the gunfight at OK Corral. Some of the dead were killed by Indians, while others are infants and children. Some of the tombstones are marked “unknown.” That’s because people frequently used aliases or didn’t carry identification like we do today.

Tombstone’s Boothill was basically used as a cemetery between 1878 and 1884, though some grave markers have dates of death several years after that.  About 300 people are believed to be buried at Boothill, but not all graves have markers. For example, the graves of Chinese are mostly set aside in a separate area in unmarked graves.

In its heyday, about one gunslinger a day was buried at Boothill, so named because the gunslingers died with their boots on.  You can get Boothill Graveyard, a booklet that lists details about who's buried here, at the gift shop.

The cemetery sits on a hill overlooking the desert below. It’s a gravel cemetery, with some trees and mostly cactus for decorations. The graves are covered with large stones.
Clanton gang members who died at the gunfight at OK Corral

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