Deadwood History Link

Thursday, 14 June 2012 23:33

Mt. Moriah Cemetery

What are all the changes going on at Mt.Moriah?
Mt. Moriah's restoration began in 1999 and will be completed by the end of 2003. The City of Deadwood is spending approximately $3.5 million to rebuild walls, refurbish monuments, restore ironwork and masonry work, and to repair streets. In addition, landscape work has been done, including the removal of trees in poor health that presented a hazard to the older monuments. In close cooperation with landscape architects from Wyss Associates and contractors from MAC Construction, Deadwood's Historic Preservation Commission is committed to the restoration of one of Deadwood's most prominent historical sites.

When did Mt. Moriah begin? 
Mt. Moriah was originally established as a Masonic cemetery in 1877 or 1878.  

How many people are buried here?
Records exist for some 3,627 people at Mt. Moriah, though the actual number may be higher due to lost or incomplete information. Numerous Chinese were also buried at Mt. Moriah, but most, if not all, were returned toChina for burial. The first cemetery in Deadwood was located in the Ingleside neighborhood. Over time, graves (including Hickok's) were exhumed and the remains moved to Mt. Moriah. Property for what would become St. Ambrose Cemetery (located in Deadwood’s Highland neighborhood) was deeded to the Catholic Church in 1883, though the earliest burials at St. Ambrose began in 1878.

Are there any famous people buried at Mt. Moriah?
James Butler Hickok (a.k.a. Wild Bill Hickok), Calamity Jane, Potato Creek Johnny, Preacher Henry Weston Smith, Seth Bullock, Blanche Colman (the first woman admitted to the South Dakota bar), journalist Edward L. Senn, Dr. Flora Stanford, Harris Franklin (of Franklin Hotel fame), and Col. John Lawrence (for whom Lawrence County is named) are but a few of the many people at Mt. Moriah whose lives added to the story of Deadwood and the Black Hills.

Are there any books on Mt. Moriah?
Mt. Moriah "Kill a man--Start a Cemetery” by Helen Rezatto is devoted to the history and evolution of Mt. Moriah. You can purchase this book at either theAdams Museum bookstore (across the street from the Deadwood VisitorsCenter) or at the Mt. Moriah information/ticket booth.

Can I buy a plot at Mt. Moriah?
No. All remaining available plots are held by various individuals and families for future use.

Why is Seth Bullock's grave so far away from the others?
Although you can walk to Seth Bullock's grave from Mt. Moriah, the site is actually not a part of the cemetery proper. A private business concern owns the site. Seth Bullock's request to be buried at this spot (which is some 750 feet above the main area of Mt. Moriah) was based, in part, on the fact that the Mt. Roosevelt memorial was visible from this area.  Bullock and Theodore Roosevelt were close friends, and Bullock was the leading force behind the establishment of the Roosevelt monument.

How many people visit Mt. Moriah every year?
Best estimates indicate that between 80,000 and 100,000 people visit Mt. Moriah every year.

Why are there so many children buried atMt. Moriah?
Scarlet fever and diphtheria epidemics from 1878 to 1880 caused the deaths of a great many children. Over 350 children are buried on Mt. Moriah.

Why does the American flag fly all the time at Mt. Moriah?
By permission of the U.S. Congress in 1917, the American flag flies round the clock at Mt. Moriah. The flag pole was recently moved from its original spot, which was on private property, to its present place on cemetery ground.

Who owns and maintains Mt. Moriah Cemetery?
In 1938, the Deadwood Cemetery Association, which began keeping records in 1878, determined it was no longer able to raise the money for maintenance of the cemetery. The City of Deadwood officially accepted both the deed and the responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery in December of 1938.