Boot Hill is actually a generic term for an old wild west graveyard devoted to gunslingers, strangers and paupers. The name derived from the phrase “he died with his boots on” (i.e., violently). The most famous one, though, is located just outside Tombstone, AZ. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I was visiting Tombstone and a visit there wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this most famous graveyard. I was surprised at how large it was. Over 300 souls are buried there and quite a number of them are simply marked “Unknown”. The many stories behind the known markers are varied and sad. Brother’s drowning in a river. Men shot because someone didn’t like the color of their shirt. Lepers in one grave and an unknown, well dressed businessman found shot down in the mine in another. One unknown cowboy died of smallpox and had a rope tied to his feet and dragged to his grave (since no one would touch him). The most surprising one, to me, was the marker for Lester Moore. I’d seen his epitaph on many an Halloween gravestone decoration, but I did not realize it was a real one.
That reminds me… the Epitaph was Tombstone’s newspaper. “Because every Tombstone needs it’s Epitaph”.