Monday, June 29, 2009

Boot Hill Cemetary Sign

In 1865 Fort Dodge opened on the Santa Fe Trail to protect wagon trains traveling west and U. S. mail service, and to supply troops involved in Indian wars. In 1872, Dodge City, Kansas was founded five miles west of the fort, and the railroad reached the town. Dodge City became the largest cattle market and the shipping center of the Southwest.

Dodge City was notorious for violence. In the first years of the town, there was no law enforcement and shootings were common. The violence created a need for a local burial ground, Boot Hill. The name Boot Hill originated because it was where gunfighters and those who died violently “with their boots on" were buried. Many other towns in the American West also had Boot Hill cemeteries.These cemeteries were also used for burying those too poor for a funeral.

The Boot Hill Cemetary plot in Dodge City, Kansas is “a monument to those who died with their boots on, and were buried with their boots on.” The sign pictured on this postcard has a quotation from a poem by Josephine McIntire that appeared in her 1945 book, Boot Hill. The following words were quoted by Stanley Vestal in Dodge City--Queen of Cowtowns.

To any traveler who may pass this way,
And climb this lonely Hill to pause and say
A prayer for us who early found our rest
Upon the prairie's wind-swept, ageless breast:

Weep not for us who early made our beds
Wrapped in our blankets, saddles for your heads,
For we are happy here, secure and still,
Locked in this rock-strewn, silent, sun-baked Hill.

Ours was an age when strong men's blood was red,
And hurtled through their veins like molten lead!
Although our history's page was smudged with crime,
We built an empire on the plains of time,
And while we slumber in this snug retreat,
It ebbs and flows around our booted feet.

Weep not for us who early made our beds
Wrapped in our blankets, saddles for our heads;
We tamed the west when this, our land, was young,
And sank into our graves unknown—unsung!

This post was written for
A Canadian Family
A Festival of Postcards Blog Carnival

3rd Edition, July 2009: Signs


  1. Very nice, Lynne - yours is the first official Festival entry this month!
    Evelyn in Montreal

    p.s. can't wait to know your Scavenger theme for July


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