Friday, August 8, 2014

Discovering Deadwood and Sturgis, South Dakota - Part 1 - Mt. Moriah Cemetery

Thursday morning, Michel and I took off early for the cities of  Deadwood and Sturgis, South Dakota, presumably to check out all the festivities and activities during the 174th Sturgis Rally. And we weren't disappointed. I had truly never realized there were so many motorcycles in the whole United States until seeing hundreds (thousands?) of them of different brands, colors, types, and age in just these two cities alone. And that's not counting the many we saw on the highway. But more about them later.

We first drove up the winding, very steep road from Deadwood to the Mt. Moriah Cemetery, overlooking the city. After paying our $1.00/person admission fee, we began a fascinating walk through this beautiful cemetery. Here is the resident we saw first.

What a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.
The following information is from "Your Walking Tour Guide to Mt. Moriah Cemetery," and gives a general description of the cemetery and it's residents.

Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Deadwood’s Historic ‘Boot Hill’

“Deadwood, so named because of the dead timber on the surrounding hills, is not unlike many frontier towns with interesting histories. The discovery of gold in the Black Hills brought thousands of hard-working people to the Deadwood area. However, some residents proved to be quite colorful and many were buried here at Mount Moriah or at its predecessor, the Ingleside Cemetery which was down the hill and to the left of the present cemetery.

“The area of Ingleside Cemetery is presently a residential section of Deadwood. Many buried in this old cemetery were later exhumed and reburied in Mount Moriah. However, some were not, and even today residents enlarging their homes or digging for other reasons may unearth remains from the old cemetery.

“Mount Moriah has numerous sections. At one time a large number of Chinese were buried in a section in the upper left portion of the cemetery. For religious reasons, the bodies were later exhumed and returned to China for reburial. Today only a few graves exist in this section.”

There is a Jewish section, complete with headstones inscribed in Hebrew as well as a Masonic section, “one of the most attractive sections,” located in the center of the cemetery. Many of the roads throughout the cemetery   also have names connected with Masonry.

“Children’s graves are fund throughout the cemetery, and there are also three Potter’s Fields, final resting places for a number of early-day indigents, prostitutes included. Most of these graves are unmarked. There are over 3,400 people buried in this cemetery.

Next: People Buried Here

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