South Dakota Nature January 18, 2018
The Quaint Cemetery In South Dakota That’s Steeped In Wild West History
gold rush town of Deadwood is one of our favorite spots in the state. With its historic buildings, live staged shootouts in the middle of the street, and museums, shops and restaurants, we just can’t enough of this place. There’s one quaint spot that’s steeped in Wild West history here, and it’s one of the most interesting places in town.
The Mount Moriah Cemetery is located on a hill overlooking Deadwood.
The cemetery is open daily from 8 AM to 6 PM. There is a $2.00 fee to enter, which goes toward the continual maintenance of the property and graves.
The cemetery sits on a hill above the town. It was established in 1878, and contains the graves of 3,600 people, though some are buried in unmarked graves in a potter's field.
The graves are laid out in terraces along the hillside. You can spend hours exploring this pretty place of rest.
From the cemetery, you'll have a spectacular view of the town below.
Seth Bullock was a beloved Sheriff and businessman in Deadwood. He died in 1919, and is buried at Mount Moriah with his wife, Martha.
He arrived in Deadwood in 1876. Just a day after he moved in, Wild Bill Hickok was murdered, and it quickly became clear that Bullock had his work cut out for him. He restored peace and order to the town, and eventually built the Bullock Hotel, which still stands today. Seth Bullock is said to haunt his hotel, keeping an eye on the place.
Wild Bill Hickok's grave is one of the most popular sites in the cemetery. He was buried here after his murder in 1876.
Wild Bill had a crazy, exciting life. He was a soldier, scout and U.S. Marshall. In his later years, he earned money as a professional gambler, actor and showman. He was well-known for his marksmanship. On August 2, 1876, he was playing poker at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon when Jack McCall walked in and shot Bill in the back of the head, killing him. Apparently, Wild Bill had won quite a bit of money from McCall in a poker game the previous day, and McCall was insulted when Bill offered to buy him breakfast.
People often leave little memorials and mementos at Wild Bill's Grave. Here you can see the "Deadman's Hand," the poker hand Wild Bill reportedly had in his hand when he was shot.
If you visit Mount Moriah specifically to see Wild Bill's grave, allow at least a half hour for your visit - it can get crowded during summer months.
Martha Jane Canary, aka Calamity Jane, was buried here after her death from pneumonia in 1903.
Calamity Jane was quite the character. She worked a number of odd jobs throughout her life, as everything from a dishwasher to a prostitute. She may have been friends with Wild Bill Hickok (though rumors that he couldn't stand the sight of her are also common), and after his death, reportedly went after his murderer, Jack McCall, with a hatchet. She requested to be buried next to Bill after her death, and her grave is next to his at Mount Moriah.
Other interesting spots at Mount Moriah Cemetery include this Chinese Ceremonial Burner, which was used for cremation...
...this grave of a Jewish child...
...and the Children's Section, which is full of the graves of children who died from outbreaks of cholera, typhus and diphtheria.
The U.S. flag flies 24/7 at Mount Moriah cemetery, to honor the veterans who are buried here.
When you visit, please make sure to respect this final resting place. Though there may be many tourists present, it's still a sacred place, and should be respected.
Have you visited Mount Moriah Cemetery?