The American Old West bring to mind a slew of images: gunfights, saloons, stage-coach robberies, prostitutes, mining and railroads. The ‘Ole West has fallen victim to Hollywood and the exploits of the early settlers have become sensationalized. However, there is still interesting things to uncover. I stumbled onto an image of a grave marker today on Pinterest. When I researched it, I found out that it was only one of many fascinating markers located in the same area. The Boothill Graveyard is located in Tombstone, Arizona. Yes, the same town that was the center of classic Western movies and the location of the infamous 1881 “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” Boothill was the burial place for the pioneers of Tombstone starting in 1878. Its website paints the picture about the permanent residents at Boothill.
Because of the many violent deaths of the early days, the cemetery became known as Boothill Graveyard. It is possibly a true symbol of this roaring mining town of the early 1880s. Buried here are outlaws with their victims, suicides, and hangings, legal and otherwise, along with the hardy citizens and refined element of Tombstone’s first days. So much of the good and so much of the bad of early Tombstone lies buried here, and over the graves of both is growing–the true crucifixion thorn.
George Johnson – The photo that I saw was the grave marker of George Johnson. He was accused of buying a stolen horse and hanged. As most of these stories go, Johnson was innocent and his grave marker indicates the town’s regret.
Here lies George Johnson,
Hanged by mistake, 1882.
He was right, we was wrong,
but we strung him up and now he’s gone.
Lester Moore – As a Wells Fargo agent, Moore had a dispute with a man over a package. Moore did not survive the dispute, neither did the other man. I do not know if the other man has as epic of a grave marker as Moore’s…
Frank Bowles - The motion of getting thrown of his horse caused Bowles’ rifle to discharge. Shooting himself badly in his knee, he waited several weeks before getting medical help. Bowles’ friends took him to the doctor to get his leg amputated but it was too late and he died.
“In memory of Frank Bowles, born Aug. 5, 1828, died Aug. 26, 1880.
As you pass by,
remember that as you are,
so once was I,
and as I am,
you soon will be.
Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury – I included these three not because their markers bare a witty or funny statement but rather because of who they were. Clanton and the McLaury brothers were outlaws associated with a cattle rustlers and robbers group – The Cowboys. They went down in the history books because of their shootout with lawmen Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday during the infamous “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” Clanton and the McLaury brothers were the only ones who died during the gunfight. Virgil and Morgan Earp were injured, as was Holliday. Wyatt Earp was the only one who walked away unscathed.
Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury
Murdered on the streets of Tombstone 1881
Boothill Graveyard’s website