I often write about cemeteries, my fascination with them, and the discoveries that
have been made over the years. The allure of the cemetery has been with me since childhood, and countless hours have been spent walking among the stones while contemplating the untold stories. As I live in Kingman, Arizona, the cemetery here is one that I have explored extensively. Still, I find it quite fascinating and often make new discoveries.
The cemetery was originally located downtown along First Street, but as the high school developed it was located to its current location along Stockton Hill Road. So, my cemetery walks often begin with the southwest corner with its old head stones, some of which simply read “Unknown Skeleton” or “Skeleton Found In Crozier Canyon.” Mysteries without answers.
Not all of the stones stand in mute testimony to the forgotten, some are reminders of the brevity of fame. Consider the final resting place of George Farley Grantham at the Mountain View Cemetery in Kingman marked with a simple marker. Who is George Grantham, you may ask? Grantham is linked to Route 66 and major league baseball.
Born in Galena, Kansas, a Route 66 community, on May 20, 1900, he attended high school and played baseball in Kingman as well as Flagstaff, Arizona, both Route 66 communities. He attended what is now Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, played ball for this school, and was picked up by the Chicago Cuba. He made his professional debut in 1922 as the second baseman. In 1924 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that played in the 1925 and 1927 World Series. His career would later include playing with the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees.
Another larger than life figure whose final resting place in the Kingman cemetery is marked by a simple stone marker is Anson Hubert Smith. Smith is credited as being a founding editor of the Mohave County Miner, now the Kingman Daily Miner, a pioneering newspaper that he was associated with for more than fifty years. He was a a pioneering member of the Good Roads Association in what was then territorial Arizona. However, the greatest honor bestowed upon this now forgotten man was the title “father of the Boulder Dam.” As early as the 1890’s Smith began touting the potential of the Colorado River as a potential source for power, and the key to creating an agricultural empire in northwestern Arizona. Relentlessly he published editorials advocating the building of a dam in Boulder Canyon, and petitioned politicians in the county and state as well as nationally.
During the teens he had the opportunity to present his ideas directly to President Wilson’s Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane. Lane enthusiastically wrote that Smith’s ideas were “a wonderful dream of a wonderful undertaking.” Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, while presiding at the Santa Fe conference on the Colorado River Compact in 1922, called Anson Smith the “Father of the Boulder Dam.” In June 1933, Smith was privileged with an opportunity to stand in the dry bed of the Colorado River and look upon the rising concrete of Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam).
Cemeteries are filled with stories that begin with listening to the stones.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America.