The Tombstone Cemetery plot was set aside in 1878 and was where the town’s first settlers were buried until approximately 1884 when a new burial plot was located further away from town. The old cemetery location was naturally called the “old cemetery”, where it lay unattended for years. Nature slowly reclaimed the land through neglect, but in the late 1920’s, through the diligence of Tombstone Citizens, the cemetery was restored and the grounds have been kept ever since. Though, the possibility remains that there might still be unmarked graves which have long since been reclaimed by the desert brush…Boothill remains a symbol of the old mining towns of the early 1880’s, many of which, dotted around the southwest United States, are now ghost towns. It is probably the most well kept graveyard from that period of westward expansionism and the site also has great historical value as well– much of early Tombstone’s good and bad lies buried on the side of this hill.
A visit to Tombstone, Arizona’s “Boothill” cemetery won’t take all day. There’s a little visitor center with a historical marker out front that reads:
This Tombstone Cemetery gives mute testimony to the hardships of Western frontier life. The people buried here were housewives, painted ladies, outlaws, gamblers, miners, business men and women, blacksmiths, cowboys and those “who died with their boots on”. Among its occupants are Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank Mclaury of OK Corral gunfight fame, Dutch Annie, the “Queen of the Red Light District”, Quong Kee and other famous and not so famous residents that contributed to Tombstone’s early history. By the 1920’s Boothill had fallen into ruin. It was restored from early burial records by Tombstone citizens in the late 1920’s.
A $2 donation will get you a pamphlet containing some of the more detailed information dredged up by the Tombstone Historical Society. This donation goes towards the upkeep of the cemetery grounds.