Boot Hill Cemetery ceased operation in 1874 and the intention was for the bodies buried there to be moved to Mount Allen Cemetery. However, unmarked graves and remains continued to be unearthed well into the 1900s, and only around 30 of those interred in Boot Hill were able to be named.
To further explore this subject, the Hays Public Library and the Ellis County Historical Society (ECHS) are presenting “Dowsing for the Dead” as the Haunted Boot Hill Special Event for 2013.
Tonight, Vince Marshall of Valley Center, Kansas, will use homemade tools to locate unmarked graves at the site that was the Old Boot Hill Cemetery from 1867-1874. The public is welcome to attend Boot Hill Park at 18th & Fort Streets from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Admission is free.
Donald Westfall, ECHS Executive Director, told Hays Post that Marshall has visited the cemetery as a trial run of his equipment and believes me may have already discovered the locations of at least 2 unmarked graves. He added that after “Dowsing for the Dead,” attendees are invited back to the ECHS Museum for Halloween treats and to view the new special exhibit Hallowed by History: Cemeteries of Ellis County.
The Ellis County Historical Society Museum is located at 100 West 7th Street in downtown Hays and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 1:00 to 6:00 pm. For further information, contact the museum at (785) 628-2624.