Mount Moriah Cemetery

This is Deadwood’s “Boot Hill”.  The Final resting place of some of Deadwood’s most famous residents.

Mount Moriah was established in 1877 or 1878, it was need as the Ingleside cemetery (which was located just down the hill from Mount Moriah) was more useful for building houses.  Most bodies from the Ingelside cemetery where exhumed and reburied at Mount Moriah.  However, human remains have been found recently in the residential neighborhood of Deadwood where the Ingleside cemetery once was.

There are numerous sections at the cemetery.  The Chinese section only has a few remaining graves, as most bodies were exhumed and returned to China.  There is a Jewish section in the upper portion of the cemetery.   The Masonic section is located in the center of  the cemetery and has some of the most elaborate grave stones.

Several unmarked grave are located in the cemetery as well.  Potter’s Fields, as they are called, are the final resting place of many of the early workers of Deadwood.

How do you get to Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood SD?

The easiest way is to take one of the many bus tours offered in downtown Deadwood (usually from about mid-May through September).

The road is steep to Mount Moriah, so driving RV’s and trucks with trailers is not recommended.  From Sherman Street, you turn on to  cemetery street at the stop light.  Cemetery Street will take you to Lincoln Street in Presidential neighborhood of Deadwood.  Take Lincoln street straight up the hill to Mount  Moriah.  There are several signs pointing the way.

Who is buried at Mount Moriah?

James Butler Hickok “Wild Bill” – Murdered August 2, 1876.  He was shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall.

Potato Creek Johnny – Died February 21, 1943. He claimed to have the largest gold nugget ever found in the Black Hills.  Many believed he melted several nuggets together.  No matter the case, he was a colorful character.

Martha Canary “Calamity Jane” – Died 1903.  Her dieing wish was to be buried next to Wild Bill and she is.

Henry Weston Smith “Preacher Smith” – Murdered August 20, 1876.  He was traveling from Deadwood to Crook City, he’d left a note on his door “Gone to Crook City to preach, and if God is wiling, will be back at three o’clock.”   There is a monument to Preacher Smith just north of Deadwood on Highway 85.

Seth BullockBullock’s grave is 750 feet above Mt. Moriah, he requested that he be buried facing Mt Roosevelt.  It is strenuous hike to the grave, if you are going make sure you have good shoes and plenty of water.

There are many more of Deadwood’s important historical figures buried here, be sure to grab a guide to the cemetery at the entrance.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Francis Dvorscak April 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm

How did Mount Moriah Cemetary get the nickname “Boot Hill”?

My wife and myself were there, recently. The tour guide mentioned something about the deceased rising from the dead on judgement day with their boots on ready to enter heaven. There was also mention of which direction the bodies were placed in the graves. Can you clarify this for me?

The only other explination that I have goten for “Boot Hill Cemetary” from Dodge City was: “Boot Hill Cemetery; Buffalo hunters, railroad workers, drifters and soldiers scrapped and fought, leading to the shootings where men died. The people killed were buried so quickly that undertaker dug shallow graves and buried the people with their boots on, so when it would rain you would see the boots sticking up through the ground from the soil erosion”.

Fran D.


Josh April 15, 2013 at 4:29 am

Good question,
I’ll see if I can find anything.


G Chleborad April 15, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hi, I’ve lived here mostly my whole life. I am interested in taking my family out hiking this summer. Can you please tell us where we can get maps, trail ideas etc? I’ve never been to Mt. Roosevelt! I can’t wait to go!! Any suggestions you have, would be greatly appreciated!



Josh April 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm

You can get some ideas by visiting my hiking page here.  Or, check out the hiking related posts on my blog Enjoy the Black Hills.  There are some many great options, for family’s checkout the Top 7 Black Hills hikes.


Leave a Comment

{ 11 trackbacks }