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Mount Moriah Cemetery
Lawrence County, South Dakota

Deadwood, SD 57732

Lat: 44° 22' 15"N, Lon: 103° 43' 44"W

Transcribed by Maggie Rail, © Oct 18, 2002, last edited Jun 07, 2017 [mrail@asisna.com]. Total records = 3,626.

No one really needs directions to Mount Moriah. Once you enter the city of Deadwood drive north on the main street and you will spot it off to your right, on the hillside, as you get toward the edge of town.

Mount Moriah is built on a rather steep hillside, thus one will get a very good workout if you visit. It is situated amid evergreen trees, and seems well planned. After the new contruction, which was going on when I was there, it will no doubt be very different from the first Mount Moriah Cemetery, in many ways. It is scheduled to be completed in 2003.

The first Deadwood cemetery was on lower ground, in Whitewood Gulch, later known as the Ingleside area of Deadwood, thus it was called Ingleside Cemetery. I did not find a year for it's beginning, I guess perhaps mid 1800's.

A group of the townspeople had meetings concerning a new problem in Deadwood. A need for new homes to accomodate the people moving into the area to work the goldmines. It was finally decided to create a new cemetery on the hillside, then move the burials from Ingleside, one of which was Wild Bill Hickock, to this new location. By doing this they were allowing the use of the flatter cemetery land for new homes.

The name of the group formed was Deadwood Cemetery Association, est. 1878, according to the first page of the record book. It is possible the cemetery was in use before the formation of the Association. Some accounts say it started in 1877. A large amount of the formation of Mount Moriah can be credited to the Masons.

At one point the Deadwood Cemetery Association had financial failure. The city of Deadwood took over the management of Mount Moriah in 1934. I am not sure how long it sat abandoned, before the city acquired it.

All of the burial plots are now sold for Mount Moriah, so the only burials in the future will be those previously purchased. There is an admission fee to enter the cemetery, which is used to maintain it, since there are so few funds for this purpose. The last burial was in 1995 according to those listed.

There is so much rich history involved with this cemetery I find it hard to know what to say. When I read a cemetery, I consider each person buried in it as important as the others. Buried in this cemetery are many prominent people of South Dakota history, so they kind of take the limelight, and you notice this when you visit the cemetery.

Most famous perhaps James Butler Hickock (aka Wild Bill Hickock), Calamity Jane, Potato Creek Johnny, Preacher Henry Smith to name a few. One area that caught my eye was a mass burial at the top of the hill where the victims of a fire were buried. One marker named some of them, but I notice not all victims were listed on that marker. There is more than one Pauper Section. These had very few markers.

When I was there it was somewhat difficult to read all of the stones due to the construction going on, but mostly because there are many unmarked graves. I was able to acquire the records from the city for all buried here. So my problem was solved and we have here a complete accounting of all buried in Mount Moriah, at least all that are recorded.

I took digital photos of all I could manage in the limited time I was there. I was unable to get photos of every headstone, but will share those I do have. Most of the names without an asterisk are the ones I have a photo for.

If anyone finds an error or knows of another name, please let me know and I will be happy to add or correct it. I walked this cemetery on Sep 22, 2002.

- Maggie Rail

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