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Mt. Moriah: Rev. Henry Weston Smith

Preacher Smith

 

“Rev. Henry Weston Smith came to Deadwood Gulch on his own accord to spread the word of God. … In 1876, he left for the Black Hills to spread gospel in the mining camps. On Sunday, August 20, 1876, Smith was murdered en route to the mining camp of Crook City and was buried in the first cemetery without a Christian service. … In 1883, Smith’s body was exhumed and given a Christian burial in Mount Moriah.”

In 1883, Smith’s body was moved from it’s original location and reburied in the cemetery with a Christian Service. “Eight years later, Deadwood resident Lucien Stilwell began a capital campaign to raise funds to place a suitable monument on Preacher Smith’s grave. In 1891, New York sculptor James H. Riordan was hired again to carve a monument for the grave. Upon its completion, the monument portrayed a stoic, life-sized statue of Henry Weston “Preacher” Smith delivering a sermon. The new monument was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday, Nov. 1, 1891, in front of a large crowd.”

“Unfortunately, Riordan’s sculpture of Preacher Smith also succumbed to repeated vandalism by tourists, including the removal of Smith’s head in 1945. … Three years later on July 22, 1948, the monument finally toppled… On August 23, 1987, members of the Black Hills Regional United Methodist Historical Society placed a new granite marker on his grave.” That is the marker you see in Mt. Moriah today.

Text excerpts from “Images of America: Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery”, by Michael W. Runge, published by Arcadia Publishing. This book is available for purchase year-round at Deadwood’s History and Information Center.

Please remember, Mt. Moriah Cemetery is a sacred place and should be treated with respect. Please take only photographs and leave nothing but memories.

There is a $2.00 entrance fee to Mt. Moriah Cemetery. Funds generated from this entrance help with the ongoing maintenance and beautification of the cemetery.

Text excerpts from “Images of America: Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery”, by Michael W. Runge, published by Arcadia Publishing. This book is available for purchase year-round at Deadwood’s History and Information Center.

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