What Are Some Facts About Boot Hill Cemetery?


Quick Answer

Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona, got its name because of the many gunfighters and other outlaws that were buried with their boots on. Some occupants, such as Billy Clanton and Tom McLaury, died at the O.K. Corral. Others were the losers in various gunfights or were caught cheating at cards and took a bullet right at the table. Once called City Cemetery, the burial ground was open between 1878 and 1884 and has between 250 and 300 graves.

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Full Answer

Boot Hill was left to the elements until the 1920s, when local residents cleared out the brush and brambles and made it into a tourist attraction. Many graves needed remarking and thanks to local records this was sometimes possible. Some graves are marked only by the piles of stone and markers that say "unknown." Tombstone was a wild boom town and strangers arrived daily. Some met their end without anyone knowing their identity.

One alleged bad guy, Johnny Blair, a member of the Double Dobe Gang, happened to catch smallpox while out rustling cattle. After he passed on, his outlaw buddies tied a rope around his ankles and drug him through the streets to his waiting grave at Boot Hill. His grave marker notes the death from smallpox and the hastily planned, unorthodox funeral "procession."

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