Julius Johnson died on this day, February 12, 1899 and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery. There is no headboard for him, so don’t bother to look. His is one of the graves that the city magistrate back in the 1970’s wrote down when she did an inventory of the remaining headboards. It was not replaced when vandals destroyed many back in the late 70’s. His name was not on the Skagway Death Record either, so all that is left of him is the Magistrate’s record.
Of the 205 records of graves in the Gold Rush Cemetery that I have gathered over the years, there are only a few headboards and headstones left to view. Here is a good example of how folks who go to the cemetery and report on the graves, think they have the correct information when in fact, the headboards that were replaced had misspellings and wrong dates.
I am sure the same is true for other cemeteries in the country, but the Gold Rush Cemetery is probably one of the most visited ones in the world. On a summer day there are traffic jams of tour buses. The new walkway and modern outhouses are practical but oddly inappropriate for such a tiny cemetery. The commercialization and exploitation is sad. In the past few decades I can think of only one family that has replaced their ancestor’s headstone (Marshal Rowan). Why do families assume that others are caretaking their ancestor’s graves?
Well at least there is not an entrance fee such as the one in Tombstone Arizona!