Ghost Town Cemetery
The West, once the Wild West, is punctuated with ghost towns and ghost town cemeteries. In most, but not all cases, these abandoned mining graveyards represent a great deal of local, colorful history.
While that may true for many mining graveyards, there is one in California that reveals nothing of those who inhabited its community. The historic mining town of Tumco, located about 25 miles outside of Yuma, Arizona, was one of the earliest gold mining areas in California.
The cemetery is packed with the nameless bodies of those who came seeking their fortune. But who were they?
Unfortunately, none of the graves are marked and some people who have visited the site described it as desolate and eerie.
Tumco survived several periods of gold boom and bust. It was home to miners who soon gave way to mining companies that bought most, if not all of the claims others had made.
Records suggest that over 200,000 ounces of gold were taken from the mines. The town, originally named Hedges after the track walker who found gold there in the 1880’s, was eventually named Tumco. Its name came from the initials of The United Mining Company that worked the mine shafts until they ran dry in the early 1900’s.
It was a hot, desert place with water that had to be piped in from the Colorado River. In time it took on the more familiar signs of civilization, including stores and the Transcontinental Railroad.
We don’t know why there were no markers although we do know that a lack of tombstone or headstone carvers often meant that no one was available to perform that particular service. This was certainly the case with early pilgrim graveyards.
Some Wild West history buffs suggest that raucous characters, rich investors and con artists who came by the dozens were laid to rest in this mining graveyard. But no one knows for sure who they were.
Imperial Valley’s Tumco video