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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Boot Hill and BillionGraves

Genealogists have an interesting relationship with cemeteries. For us, they are hardly the spooky places depicted in both books and movies. They are mostly a prime area for genealogical research and discovery. Boothill is a prime tourist attraction located in Tombstone, Arizona. It is also a real cemetery with actual graves.

It is a typical, old, desert cemetery and is missing all the usual sorts of gravemarkers, grass, and trees associated with some cemeteries. I have visited Boothill on several occasions over the years, but this time was different. While visiting the cemetery, I had my iPhone and decided to check out whether or not the cemetery was on

The Boothill Cemetery has several rather famous graves and these graves are all shown on the map. The map gives the visitor the convenience of being able to find the interesting graves without walking back and forth through the cemetery. However, these are all my own photos and not from

You might have to click on some of these photos to see the detail. Here is another famous burial.

Some people question as to whether or not people are really buried in this cemetery. Here is a summary of the history of the Cemetery from Wikipedia:
The most notable use of the name "Boot Hill" is at the Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona. 31°43′11.6″N 110°04′13.6″W Formerly called the "Tombstone Cemetery", the plot features the graves of Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury; the three men who were killed during the famed Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Located on the northwest corner of the town, the graveyard is believed to hold over 300 persons, 205 of which are recorded. This was due to some people (especially Chinese and Jewish immigrants) being buried without record. There is a separate Jewish cemetery nearby with some markers restored, and there are also marked graves of Chinese. However, most of the loss was due to neglect of grave markers and theft of these wooden relics as souvenirs. For example, when former Tombstone Mayor John Clum visited Tombstone for the first Helldoradocelebration in 1929, he was unable to locate the grave of his wife Mary, who had been buried in Boothill. 
The Tombstone "boothill" cemetery was closed in late 1886, as the new "City Cemetery" on Allen Street opened. Thereafter, Boothill was referred to as the "old city cemetery" and neglected. It was used after that only to bury a few later outlaws (some legally hanged and one shot in a robbery), as well as a few colorful Western characters and one man (Emmett Crook Nunnally) who had spent many volunteer hours restoring it.[4]
Currently, the Boothill Graveyard is open to the public for a $3 fee, and is a popular stop for tourists visiting Tombstone.
Here is Nunnally's grave marker.

It is also probably the only cemetery I have visited where I paid an entrance fee. Here is another interesting person buried in the Cemetery:

We got to the Cemetery late in the day and you might have to click to see the inscription. This is not the famous Texas John Slaughter of TV and movies, this is John Swain Slaughter. But his life was also interesting. Here is a short description:
Boothill Cemetery
Cochise County, Arizona
Jun. 18, 1845
Feb. 8, 1945
John was born a slave. His mother was hired as domestic help by John Horton Slaughter, the famous western lawman and rancher. He became an expert tracker and excellent shot. Later he worked the mines around Tombstone until the boom ended. He was employed as the janitor of the Cochise County until 1931. He died in the Tombstone Hospital just over four months shy of his 100th birthday. See
As is the case with any cemetery, you are likely to see the tragic as well as the interesting.

If you look closely, you might see another interesting custom. There is money scattered all over some of the graves. Apparently, there is some idea that when there were lost people, people would put money on the graves. According to
Humans have been leaving mementos on and within the final resting places of loved ones almost from the beginning of the species. Excavations of even the earliest graves uncover goods meant to serve the deceased in the next world, such as pottery, weapons and beads.
It probably has some of the same motivation for throwing money into ponds and fountains. The money is not collected by the operators of the Cemetery and some of the coins and bills seem to have been there a long time.

I guess I can never be "just a tourist."

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