Ancient graveyard
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Posted by Kenny Vail (+116) 19 years ago
Have any original gravesites for Miles City been preserved?

Kenny Vail
Santa Clarita, Ca.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 19 years ago
The first Miles City cemetery in now under a medical office complex. It was moved at the turn of the century but they still found one coffin they missed when they built the building in the '50s. My father thought it might be a madam's because it had an ornate coffin plate and was lined in RED silk. We used to have the coffin plate--rectangular, about six by four, with curly edges, very Victorian--around the house but I have no idea where it went over the years.


They moved the bodies to the current cemetary in the mid-1880's. I have the cemetery index put together by the genealogical society. Looking for anyone in particular? It is pulled from the sexton's records so has mistakes but works for finding most folks.


There is also the old Catholic and new Catholic cemetery, although both are full. They are still extant.


The bodies at the Fort Keogh cemetery were moved to the Little Big Horn battlefield back in the '20s or there abouts.


There are also seven bodies buried behind Pine Hills left from the early days. I suspect the current administration has NO idea they are there. Should be fun when they hit them in the midst of all the new construction out there.

--Amorette
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Posted by Kenny Vail (+116) 19 years ago
You have the cemetary index? Is it published, by chance? I actually would like to see everything for 1879. But, it probably is alphabeical, isn't it?

Kenny
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 19 years ago
Yup, alphabetical. It was published but I think is out of print. I can have a looksee if there are any notes about early burials. Sometimes the term "old book" turns up, which means just what it sounds like--record from an earlier book. Problem is the sexton's book sometimes lists date of internment, NOT date of death. I'll have a look this afternoon.

--Amorette
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Posted by Jack McRae (+360) 19 years ago
I can't find my copy right now, which is not an unusual circumstance, but I think it is printed from a data base or a spread sheet.

If you can find out who has it on their computer, they should be able to sort on death date and give you a list of the earliest burials.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 19 years ago
Well, I went through it and the earliest death date listed is 1883, although it was supposedly where they moved the bodies from the old Maple Tree cemetery (the one now under a clinic building.) I know for certain that in the case of my uncle, his ashes were buried three years after his death and the book lists the date of internment as the date of death. So, there are probably errors like that but there are no deaths as early as 1879 in the index for Custer county cemetery.

Lots of folks were sent "home" after they died and there are surprisingly few burials prior to about 1910. I know several prominent families, like the Strevells, are all buried "back east" somewhere.

I could search for a name but by date, I come up blank. I suppose you could search the old stones but some of the graves were marked with either wooden markers or unmarked, especially among the older graves. The book lists "no marker" or "no sign of marker or grave" for several plots that list a name and "death date" although that date may be when the plot was purchased. The sexton figures there are at least 100 empty graves that someone bought before 1900 that are "owned" but empty.

--Amorette
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Posted by Kenny Vail (+116) 19 years ago
Great work, Amorette.

I really appreciate you looking into this. The records may be gone but whys and wherefores on this matter are also valuable to me in my project.

At another dicussion board that caters to my exact area of interest(Old West history), there was recently a post from a Texas researcher who found out the very records he needed had been thrown in the dumpster the week before he showed up on his search. They needed to make space for the more modern stuff. That is sad news for a researcher. Oh well, it's still rewarding once in a while in spite of the disappearing info.

B.T.W. I have virtually completed scouring through my copy of "This Last West" that you provided me when I was in M.C. last April. Since my search was narrowed to a three-year span, I was able to breese through a lot of it. But sometimes I found useful items where I wasn't expecting it. Best of all, I found something that helped support a part of my story that took place in Saint Louis! Go figure.

Best, Kenny
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Posted by Robin Gerber (+34) 19 years ago
There's also what appears to be an abandoned cemetery (now being used as a pasture) out past the Baker interchange. The stones are gone, but people remember the graves and I talked to one person who remembers playing there as a kid when the stones were still in place. Apparently a number of years ago all the stones were removed and a large amount of dirt was trucked onto the site to level off some sunken graves. I don't think there are any records on this...

As per Amorette's story about moving the graves from the site that was to become a medical building...an old timer told me he was just a kid when this happened, and he remembers one collapsing casket that contained a skeleton that had a rope still around its neck. Probably a victim of vigilante's...maybe Rigney???
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