Marker Monday: Boot Hill

Our Historical Markers across Nebraska highlight fascinating moments and places in our state’s past.

The first people buried at Boot Hill were a mother and child, but many of the others came to rest there by running afoul of the law.

Location

Boot Hill Cemetery, Park Hill Dr. & W 10th St., Ogallala, Keith County, Nebraska

Marker Text

Boot Hill was the final resting place for many early westerners who helped make Ogallala a booming cowtown in the 1870’s and 1880’s. These people, the cowboys, settlers, and drifters, came to Ogallala when the railroad and the Texas Trail opened a new market for the Texas Longhorn. Although one of the first burials here was mother and child, many came by running afoul of the law — some for stealing another man’s horse. Others were killed by re-fighting the Civil War or for questioning the gambler’s winning hand. In July of 1879 three cowhands were buried in a single day, victims of the sheriff’s guns. Another man, “Rattlesnake Ed”, was buried here after he was shot down over a nine dollar bet in a Monte game in the Cowboys Rest, a local saloon. Most were buried with their boots on, thus the name Boot Hill. Their bodies, placed in canvas sacks, were lowered into shallow graves and marked with a wooden headboard. Some of the bodies have since been removed, only the unknown or the unclaimed remain in this western cemetery.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

The Massacre Canyon Oral History and Archeology Project

The Massacre Canyon Oral History and Archeology Project

Lest We Forget:  The Lynching of Will Brown, Omaha’s 1919 Race Riot

Lest We Forget: The Lynching of Will Brown, Omaha’s 1919 Race Riot

Portraits of Omaha’s 1898 Indian Congress

Portraits of Omaha’s 1898 Indian Congress

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.
Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.