Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tombstone Road Trip ~ Tombstone Day One ~ Nov 9, 2012

Guests gather in the dining room about 7:30 for coffee, conversation and a delicious homemade breakfast. Each morning we meet a different group of travellers: from a bike tour groups to travelers like us exploring the region.

First thing we decided to check out was Boot Hill, a graveyard rich with the town's storied characters. Most of the graves are from the early 1880's. It's a great place to wander about with a camera and look into history. We found out later in the day, however, that all who are purported to be buried there are not. It seems that history sometimes takes a back seat to a good story. Boot Hill Cemetery was closed in 1884 when the new City Cemetery was opened on Allen Street to provide a last resting place for the "proper" residents of town. 

FYI: Lester Moore was a Wells Fargo agent from Naco, AZ. In the movie Tombstone, when the Earps arrive in Tombstone 1881, they ride past Boot Hill Cemetery. Plainly visible is this tombstone, one most famous epitaphs ever written. The problem is that Lester Moore wasn't killed until 1884 ~ Think they call that a continuity error.

George Johnson made the mistake of purchasing a stolen horse and was hanged by mistake: an "oops" moment if I ever heard of one.

 One thing for sure though, the view of the Dragoon Mountains from Boot Hill is spectacular.

We came back up to town in the late morning to find town archivist Nancy Sosa and do research on my great grandfather Stanley Chipman Bagg. She and her assistant Jessica spent three hours with us going through old books and ledgers, city council minutes and photographs, making copies for us along the way. We knew he had started the Tombstone Prospector and bought out the Tombstone Epitaph, but had no idea he had owned a retail business, Bagg and Barrow, or that he had been so deeply involved in town politics.  She did some further microfiche sleuthing after we left and sent us more information including the masthead from the Prospector with his name on it. More on his colorful story later.

Nancy is the one who told us not believe everything you read. She is this field for the love of the chase and finding the truth. She does a lot of research for writers and historians, but there are two subjects she won't touch: Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Too many people have their own versions of history on these two and once in the bully pulpit they won't back down. She said she'd been to research conferences and wondered if presenters should be checked for side arms at the door. We had so much fun we took Nancy to lunch.

Off to Bisbee, another historic mining town, about 25 miles south on Hwy 80, to meet up with Auntie Betty. We did a little exploring, some window shopping and stopped for ice cream before parting ways. 

The drive back from Bisbee was gorgeous: storm clouds, sun, wind, red dirt, and mesquite. We had dinner with my aunt and uncle at the Crystal Palace and then dropped them off for the evening. They head home tomorrow and had to be up at o'dark thirty. We're here another night and have a map of places to explore tomorrow.