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Famous Boothill Cemetery, the burial grounds for residents of Tombstone, Arizona, is located just down the street from the town proper. Almost everything you’ll find (at least on the Internet) describing Boothill starts with a description similar to this one, “A name given to the frontier cemetery because most of it’s early occupants died with their boots on.” However, the truth is that the cemetery was actually named ‘Boothill” after Dodge City’s pioneer cemetery in the hopes of attracting tourists in the late 1920’s.

The first Tombstone cemetery was built in 1879 and was known as the “City Cemetery.” In 1884, a new cemetery was built on the west end of Allen street and was named the “Tombstone Cemetery.” The existing “Boothill” became known as “The Old Cemetery” and was largely neglected until the 1920s. By that time, many of the old wooden grave markers had rotted away. A group of local citizens went through the trouble and painstaking research to re-mark the graves, leaving the graveyard we visit today.

The cemetery has a separate section for Jewish graves and Chinese graves. The Jewish section was far down the hill away from the rest of the graves. I’m not sure why yet.

I don’t know why I have such an unnatural fascination with death, but I found a list of the graves on the Clanton Gang website and was so intrigued that I decided to organize the list by cause of death. There’s very little information in terms of the date of birth or any other details about these former Tombstone residents, but clearly, Tombstone wasn’t the safest place to live and judging by the date of death, it seems to have visited the residents pretty quickly after their arrival in Tombstone.

Of course, Boothill is best known as the cemetery that holds those killed in the gunfight at the OK Corral:
Billy Clanton Oct. 26, 1881—Murdered behind the OK Corral
Frank McLaury Oct. 26, 1881—Murdered behind the OK Corral
Tom McLaury Oct. 26, 1881—Murdered behind the OK Corral

There are those who were hanged
John Beather 1881
Bill Delaney Mar. 8, 1884
Comer W. “Red” Sample Mar. 8, 1884
Dan Dowd Mar. 8, 1884
Dan Kelley Mar. 8, 1884
Halderman Bros. Nov. 16, 1900

Those who committed suicide, why I wonder when Tombstone was such a cheerful place:
Verone Gray 1880’s
Delia William 1881—Suicide by arsenic, colored lodging house proprietress
Malvina Lopez d. 1880–Suicide, with lover John Gibbons

Those who died a natural death:
W.C. Bennett 1882—Heart trouble, native of England
Mrs. R.L. Brown 1882—Natural death
Miles E. Kellogg 1882—Natural death. Saloon keeper, age 44
Pat Byrne 1882—Pneumonia
Malcolm Campbell 1882—Pneumonia
Thos. Cowan 1881—Diphtheria, 11 months old
May Doody 1881—Diphtheria
Alfred Packrel 1882—Inflammation of the bowels, 24 year old English miner
James McMartin 1881—Rapid consumption
William Carpenter 1881—Nephritis, Baptist minister in Tombstone
Brady, Brother, d. 1883—age 11, Drowned in the San Pedro River, when one brother tried to save the other
Brady, Brother, d. 1883—age 12, Drowned in the San Pedro River
Eva Waters 1880’s—3 months old

Those who died through accidents:
Daniel Owyer 1881—Drowned
John Martin 1882—Killed working on Huachuca water line, native of England
M. Lopez 1880—Charcoal fumes in a closed room
G. Renacco 1882—Fell from a cliff
James Tulley 1881—Fell 250 feet to the bottom of a mine shaft, Grand Central Mining Co.
Hilly Hickson 1882—School boy died of injuries after falling off a pair of stilts
John Wickstrum 1882—Crushed and suffocated while digging a well.
George Whitcer 1882—Cable snapped sending his miners cage down a shaft
William Alexander 1880–Killed by a premature blast while prospecting
Simon Constantine 1882 –Killed with Thos. Kerney during a blast
Thos. Kearny 1882—Killed with Simon Constantine during a blast
Marshal Fred White Oct. 28 1880—Accidentally killed by Curly Bill Brocius on Sixth Street
John Gibbons 1881—Wagon accident crushed his skull
Douglas Lilly 1881—Wagon accident driving for the Sycamore Water Co.
John Gibson 1882—“He climbed the Golden stairs on the fumes from a pan of Charcoal”
J.D. McDermott 1882—Horse accident fractured his spinal column
Freddie Fuss 1882—Small boy who drank stagnant or poison mine water
Wm. Summers 1882—Found dead with a blow on his back that ruptured his liver
C.O. Ridgeway 1882—Found dead in a wagon along side the road
James K. Johnson “Jim” May 1881— aka Henry Johnson and George Johnson. Boothill Graveyard, accidentally shot himself at Galeyville, died of his wounds a few days later. Miner and resident of Charleston
Kansas Kid 1880’s—Killed in a stampede, cowboy’s real name unknown

Those who died fighting over the land or mining claims and land. Land? Really? It’s desert for one, and two, isn’t there an awful lot to choose from?
Bobby Jackson 1882—Shot with Hart and Serroux over mining claim.
Frank Serroux 1882—Shot with Jackson and Hart over a mining claim.
Frank Hart 1882—Shot with Jackson and Serroux over a mining claim.
J.W. Houten 1878—aka Van Houten—Killed by unknown assailants at Brunckow Mine, November 1878. Frank Stilwell and James Cassidy were arrested but acquitted. Allegedly beaten to death over a disputed mining claim. Nice.
M. McAllister 1882—Sustained a lung injury when shot during a fight over a piece of land. Went to Tombstone to recover, but died of the injury. Aka Happy Jack. (Well not after that, he wasn’t.)

Those who died from tangling with the law:
Judah Florentine Mar. 22, 1882—aka Florentino Cruz & “Indian Charlie”, murdered by Wyatt Earp.
Deron 1880’s—Shot by Slaughter while resisting arrest for his Part in a train robbery.
William Grounds “Billy” 1882—Shot in the face with a shotgun by an officer questioning him about the Martin Peel murder.
Dick Toby 1880’s—Shot by Sheriff John Behan.
Guadalupe Robles 1880’s—Shot by officers trying to arrest robbers who were seeking shelter in his house, one of which was his brother.

Those killed by Indians:
Albert Bennett 1883—Teamsters Bennett and Scott were ambushed by Indians.
Ben Scott 1883—Teamsters Scott & Al Bennett were ambushed by Indians.
Jos. Wetsell 1882–Stoned to death by Apache Indians.
Holo Lucero 1882—Killed by Indians.

Then, there was everyone else, who died through violent means:
Billy Kinsman 1883—Shot by a woman who was jealously in love with him. (oops!)
Louis Hancock 1879—Shot by John Ringo in bar room brawl in Stafford, Arizona, the fight allegedly started over a disparaging remark about a lady.
Mrs. R.B. Campbell 1882—Suspect poisoning.
Billy Clairborne Nov. 15, 1882—Shot by Leslie.
Bronco Charlie 1880’s—Shot by Ormsby, real name unknown.
Red River Tom 1880’s—Real name unknown, Shot and killed by Ormsby (never figured out who Ormsby was).
Harry Curry 1882—Killed with Seymour Dye while hauling hay.
Jack Dunlap 1880’s –Shot by Jeff Milton during an attempted train robbery. Lived long enough to squeal on his friends who left him to die. Aka 3-Fingered Jack.
Thos. Fitzhugh 1882–Found dead in a water closet in the back of Mrs. Kings lodging house on Toughnut Street, where he roomed.
J.J. Gardner Jan. 11, 1882—Shot in railroad camp on Babacomari and died in Tombstone at age 42. Wagon master, born in Ohio.
John Alexander Gillespie March 1882—Cochise County Sheriff less than twelve hours when killed at Chandler Milk Ranch trying to arrest Billy Grounds and Zwing Hunt, suspected killers of Martin Peel. He died instantly when Hunt shot him in the head.
Charles Helm 1882—Horse rancher in Dragoon Mountains, Age 34. Shot by Wm. McCauley.
James Patrick Hickey Sept 1881—First resident on Stowe St. in Charleston. Allegedly shot by Wm. Clairborne in Charleston.
John Hick 1878—Killed by Jeremiah McCormick at Watervale July 6, 1878 following a card game argument with William Quinn. Buried in the only white shirt found in Tombstone, belonging to Dr. D. S. Chamberlain, a visitor. Lucky Cuss Mine manager.
Margarita 1880’s—Dance hall girl, real name unknown, stabbed by another girl.
H. B. Mead 1881—42 year old blacksmith found dead in rear seat of a coach.
Lester Moore 1880’s—Gunfight over a package, both men died. Wells Fargo agent in Naco). Famous epitaph read: “Here lies Lester Moore, four slugs from a 44, no Les no more.”
Martin Ruter Peel Mar. 25, 1882—Mining engineer shot at work. Zwing Hunt & Billy Grounds were both suspects of the murder.
Tom J. Waters July 1880—Shot to death by his prospecting friend and cabin mate Edward Lyter Bradshaw after an argument over a blue and black checked shirt, Bradshaw was acquitted in Sept.1880.
Six Shooter Jim 1885—Shot by Burt Alvord real name unknown.
Ben Olleney 1881—Shot by Chacon.
Peter Smith 1882—Killed by Thos. Doland during a fight.
Charlie Storms Feb. 25, 1881—Shot in a gunfight in front of the Oriental Saloon by Luke Short.
Joseph Ziegler 1882—Shot through the left breast by fellow miner Ed Williams behind the old ice house near the corner of Toughnut and Fifth Streets.
Jos. Thomas 1881—Allegedly shot by Indian Joe, a fellow teamster wagon driver.
Ernest Brodines 1882—Murdered. A miner, native of Germany.
Alfred Cantrell 1881—Murdered by a man named Brown who was later hanged for his crime.
M. McCarthy 1882–Shot by a man named Poplin, miner.
McNemony 1882—Shot, full name unknown.
Bill King 1880’s—Shot by Burt Alvord, aka Cowboy Bill King. saloon keeper.
Jack King 1880’s—Shot by Cherokee Hall.
Jim Riley 1881—Murdered.
Johnnie Wilson 1880’s—Shot by King.
William Whitehill 1878—Shot.
Jasper Von 1882—Shot.

In a way, I wish we could go back to these wild old days. I’d love to be able to put a few bullets in the Red Sox fans at Camden Yards. I bet they would shut their loud mouths then. Is that a bad thing to say, because how can it be wrong when it feels so right?

My pictures of this excursion.
American Jewish Historical Society
My Cochise
AZ Central
Hub Pages
Arizona Leisure
Legends of America
Tombstone Web

June 2008