Cemeteries focus of history symposium
Reading engravings on old tombstones may not be
everyone’s idea of a great way to spend a day, but for historians and
family researchers it’s more fun than a trip to Disneyland.
Cemeteries are the focus of the third annual Deadwood
History Symposium scheduled for the first weekend of April.
Tours of three historical cemeteries, conducted by
Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Jim Wilson, will highlight the
Mount Moriah, final resting place of Wild Bill Hickok,
Calamity Jane and Preacher Smith, is the best known of area cemeteries.
It isn’t where James Butler Hickok and Henry Weston Smith were
originally interred, however. For the first two years, gold camp burials
took place at Ingleside, now a residential area several hundred yards
down the hill, until Mount Moriah was founded in 1878 and the bodies
Nearly as old as Mount Moriah, Saint Ambrose’s
Cemetery is only a few blocks from Main Street, but may be one of
Deadwood’s best kept secrets. Established in 1880 on a hillside in the
north part of town, St. Ambrose’s is just off
Burnham Avenue. It is currently slated for restoration by
Deadwood Historic Preservation.
Located in a quiet residential area at the top of
Mill Street, the South Lead Cemetery is a study of Lead’s melting-pot
population. Many of the headstone inscriptions, particularly in the
Catholic portion of the graveyard, are in native languages of the
Italians, Finns and Slavonians who settled in ethnic neighborhoods of
Cemetery tours will start at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Friday, April 1.
Friday’s agenda also includes hands-on genealogy
and headstone restoration workshops.
Dr. Kevin Britz opens Saturday’s symposium with a
comparison of Deadwood cemeteries to Dodge City’s famous “Boot
Other Saturday presentations include an overview of
Victorian-era cemetery symbolism, iron crosses in North Dakota, cemetery
planning and Chinese oven excavations at Mount Moriah and stone masons
of the late 1880s.
Mike Runge, city archivest, will discuss the
IMS project which makes Deadwood cemetery information available
A panel of area historians will wrap up the day with
a discussion on Black Hills cemeteries.
Registration takes place at the Deadwood Masonic
Temple from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and from 7 to 8 a.m. Saturday.
Call the Deadwood Historic Preservation office,
605-578-2082, for additional information about the history symposium.
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