What better way to spend Friday the 13th than a place called Deadwood? This Wild West town is infamous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the murder of Wild Bill Hickok (August 2, 1876) and as the site of his final resting place (Mt. Moriah Cemetery). I was absolutely thrilled to be able to visit last fall, and while pictures just don’t do it justice, I hope you’ll enjoy experiencing it through just a few of the few *cough* hundred pictures I took during my stay there.
Deadwood, South Dakota
The famed Mt. Moriah Cemetery (founded 1878) is the final resting spot of “Wild Bill” Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Deadwood’s first lawman, Sheriff Seth Bullock.
Seth Bullock was Deadwood’s first sheriff and was later appointed U.S. Marshall of South Dakota by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Beautiful Mt. Moriah Cemetery overlooking Deadwood, South Dakota
Wild Bill Hickok’s grave marker reads in part “Died Aug 2 1876 by pistol shot aged 39 years Custer was lonely without him.” Upon his death, he was originally buried at Deadwood’s Ingleside Cemetery. When Ingleside filled, Bill’s best friend Charlie Utter paid to move Bill in 1979 on the third anniversary of his burial to the new Mt. Moriah Cemetery, where he remains to this day.
The Bullock Hotel (1885) is widely reported to be haunted by Sheriff Bullock himself. Though we brought our RV and weren’t in need of accommodations, I totally would have spent the night here if they’d had any vacancies. (They didn’t).
The Black Hills are an ever-present backdrop in Deadwood, which lines a narrow valley lodged in the mountainous terrain.
The Silverado Franklin Hotel (1902) has hosted Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, as well as a number of famous folks including John Wayne. It’s also rumored to be haunted.
“Deadwood has been known the world round for over half a century. It is the smallest ‘metropolitan’ city in the world, with paving and public and other buildings such as are seldom found in cities less than several times its size.”
John S. McClintock
Pioneer Days in the Black Hills, 1939 (source)
A re-enactment of Wild Bill’s murder at the Old Saloon No. 10. He never sat with his back to the room, but on this day Charlie Rich had his usual spot. After a brief and heated argument, Bill gave up and took the fated seat. Shortly thereafter, Jack McCall shot him in the back of the head, killing him. Bill’s poker hand – a pair of Aces and a pair of Eights (fifth card unknown) has ever since been known as “Dead Man’s Hand.”
This is the original site of Wild Bill’s assassination by Jack McCall on August 2, 1876. Note the sign near the lower right that marks the location.
This one is for the fans of HBO’s Deadwood. I have no idea if this is near the original site, but as it stands, it serves as a front to the parking garage for the First Gold Hotel and Casino. This representation of Star and Bullock Hardware may just be for looks, but it’s a very exciting find nonetheless!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Deadwood and its history. (I, for one, am now dying to go back. What’s 1,900 miles in the car with six kids? LOL.) While I do have a Deadwood-eque plot building in my head, thus far my historical romances all take place during Colonial MA’s Salem witch trials. (Yes, Puritans can be sexy. I promise!) Please click here to learn more.
ABOUT SARAH BALLANCE
Sarah Ballance is a multi-published author of contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense. She’s been married to her own romantic hero for what he calls a “long, long time” (and no, he’ll never hear the end of saying that). Together they have six children … and clearly too much time on their hands. She currently writes for Entangled and has upcoming releases from both Entangled and Samhain Publishing. Click here to see other posts by Sarah Ballance.