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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Boot Hill

Boot Hill

High on a hill, to the north of Daylight Gulch is one of Virginia City's most popular tourist attractions, "Boot Hill". The cemetery is the last resting place of the infamous five road agents hanged by the Vigilantes on January 14, 1864. The graves were not even marked until 43 years after the burial in October, 1907. The graves had gone unnoticed for so long that there was only one man that truly knew where they were, A. B. Davis. People began to recognize the historical significance of the cemetery and talk was going around encouraging the marking of graves. An offer was made in Butte to give $100 for the expense of grave markers.

Boot Hill

At that time, James G. Walker was mayor of Virginia City, so he took it upon himself to investigate Davis' claim. Most of the other former Vigilantes agreed, if Davis could point out the grave of "Clubfoot George," then the other graves could be identified, as they all knew the correct order of burial. Walker had the grave which Davis pointed out as that of Clubfoot George exhumed and it was easily identified by the misshappened foot.

Boot Hill

Contrary to the belief that the bodies of the outlaws were wrapped in blankets to be buried, they had been placed in coffins. The article in the Madisonian, telling of the disinterment, stated that "Mayor Walker opened the grave and casket, which was in excellent condition."

Mayor Walker took a part of the casket, to show how well preserved it was, and the deformed foot bones and placed them in a cabinet of curios at the courthouse. The bones, protected by a glass bell-jar, now are in the Thompson-Hickman Museum. Grave markers were then placed over the graves.

The ridge is also home to another cemetery; of course, the "respectable" folks were segregated in city plots to the east of Boot Hill.

Special acknowledgements to: John D. Ellingsen, John N. DeHass, Tony Dalich, and Ken Sievert, Tom Cook and Ellen Baumler of the Montana Historical Society.

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