Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 8 - Deadwood Rest Day

Day 8 - Deadwood Rest Day

 Mt. Moriah Cemetery

This morning we hopped on our bikes and headed into the town of Deadwood to see the sights. Not long after we started we saw the sign for Mt. Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried. So we decided to ride to the cemetery to check it out. I think the name Mt. Moriah should have been a clue, but alas, off we went. I should say, UP we went. Boy, it was a steep climb. I had to walk part of the way. My legs were jelly. Not to mention that we are "at altitude". But never the less, I made it to the top and it was quite interesting.

James Butler Hickok (Wild Bill) was murdered in Deadwood on August 2, 1876. Wild Bill came, as many others did, to the Deadwood gold camp in search of adventure and fortune. While pursuing what others often said was his only true passion, gambling, he was shot in the back of the head and killed instantly by a local rogue, Jack McCall. A hastily convened miner's court found McCall innocent, but he was later tried by a regular court, found guilty and hanged. Wild Bill's friends buried him in the Ingleside Cemetery, but 2 years later he was reburied in Mt. Moriah. Wild Bill's colorful life included service as a marshal, an Army scout and numerous other tasks that called for a fast gun and no adversion to bloodshed.
Martha Canary (Calamity Jane) was 53 years old when she died. She worked on a bull train, performed in a wild west show and was a prostitute of little repute. Most historians claim it was a figment of her imagination that she was Wild Bill's sweetheart. Her acts of charity and her willingness to nurse the sick attest to a warm, soft side of this rough and ready denizen of the Old West. In 1903 she died in the mining camp of Terry from a variety of ailments, chief among which was acute alcoholism. Her place was called the cat house because of all the cats she had.

John Perrett (Potato Creek Johnny) was one of Deadwood's most colorful characters. The small, bearded man was a familar sight along the steams of the Tinton area where he may (or may not) of found one of the largest gold nuggets every panned in the Black Hills. Some older area residents claim this huge nugget was actually several nuggets melted together.

Dora Dufran, the most famous madam, a sporting house proprietor. Miners, or anyone else down on his luck were fortunate that Dora, like many early day prostitues and madams, apparently had hearts of gold. Dora's industry spread beyond Deadwood. Her brothels were found in Lead, Rapid City and Belle Fourche. Perhaps her most lasting claim to fame was that of befriending Calamity Jane whom she occasionally employed as a maid. After living 60 years in the Black Hills, Dora and her parrot, Fred, were laid to rest next to her husband, Joseph.

After riding around town, we stopped at the Bulffalo Saloon for lunch and ate in the Stockade.

Then it was off to ride the Mickelson Trail. It is a wonderful ride along the creek but it was a steady climb up to the town of Lead. I stopped about a mile before Lead and turned around and rode back down to Deadwood, but Marnie, ever the rider, continued on and rode up to the Lead trailhead and then down into the town of Lead and then back up to the trailhead and then down back to the hotel.

After I reccuperated some, we got in the truck and drove over to Spearfish. Spearfish got its name from the Indians who used to spear the fish in the creeks. We followed the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. It was an absolutely gorgeous ride. We stopped and checked out Bridal Veil Falls and then found our way to the filming location for the last scene in 'Dances With Wolves". Then we stopped at the Latchstring Restaurant which was across the street from the Spearfish Canyon Resort, for a wonderful dinner.

Then it was back to the hotel for a good night sleep so that we can continue on our journey to Missoula, MT via many interesting historical and tourist venues.

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