Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project
HARDYVILLE PIONEER CEMETERY
BULLHEAD CITY, MOHAVE COUNTY
Revised August 2011
By: Kathy Block
Hardyville Cemetery is a historic resting place for early pioneers who set up transportation and roads both up the Colorado River to what became Hardyville and points beyond and east to Prescott. It now contains rock-covered mounds of at least 17 graves. None of these graves are marked with names. A Memorial plaque at the entrance lists 5 names.
Memorial Plaque at entrance to Hardyville Cemetery. Historic marker on top of monument.
The Find-A-Grave site lists 11 burials, with 10 known and 1 unknown. Many graves are unmarked because the University of Arizona hauled the markers away and apparently did not return them, and just circled the graves with stones. A heavy rain around 1961 washed out a few of the graves, sending the coffins and their occupants tumbling onto Highway 95. The bodies were restored to their graves and then the hill was coated with cement to prevent further disaster. Two graves near the edge were excavated in 1961 and removed to just inside the fence. These photos, courtesy of Mohave Museum of History and Arts, show the process.
Grave #1 before relocation. Exposed wood coffin, Grave #1 excavation.
Map of Hardyville Cemetery
Additions by Kathy and Ed Block.
Original map drawn in 1961 when some graves were relocated.
Insert 7 Insert 8
Insert 7. The 2 excavated grave sites for #1 and #6 were on edge where fence now located, between edge and remaining #2 grave on map.
Insert 8. The 2 relocated graves, #6 and #1, with 3rd smaller grave, #14 beyond, just to right inside fence.
Walkway from parking lot to entrance.
Hardyville was one of many historic Colorado River port and shipping towns, and served as Mohave County's first seat from 1867 to 1872. At Hardy Landing, boats ferried people across the river and the landing also served as a freight depot. At the most, Hardyville had about 20 permanent residents, but more were there at any given time due to people passing through. The post office was established January 17,1865 and discontinued Feb. 19, 1883. The town was founded by William Harrison Hardy in 1865.
During its lifetime, Hardyville was struck by two major fires, in 1872 and 1873. In 1883 the ferry was moved to Needles, California when the A & P Railroad was completed to that point. The port was deemed obsolete and the town was deserted. It was reborn as Bullhead City with the construction of Davis Dam on the Colorado River below Hoover Dam in the 1940s.
William Harrison Hardy
William Harrison Hardy, 1823-1906, taken in the 1880s.
William Harrison Hardy was born in Gainesville, Allegheny County, New York on April 25, 1823, the son of Samuel Hardy and Polly Parker. He was a pioneer adventurer, town builder and businessman. He went to California with a wagon train in 1849 and became "Captain Hardy" when elected captain of the company. Captain Hardy, as he was known for the rest of his life, was drawn to the new frontier of the Territory of Arizona and founded the town of Hardyville, in 1865, at the approximate site of the present day Bullhead City. He erected a cluster of adobe buildings for a mercantile store, hotel, and saloon. His stock, in1866, which he brought from California, consisted of flour @ $20 per hundredweight, bacon @ 50c per pound, coffee @ 50c per pound, sugar @ 3 pounds for @1.00, soldier's boots @$10 pair, and overalls @$3.00 pair, cash down, no complaining!!!
Hardy took an active, influential role in Territorial politics. He established the post office (and invented a riveted mail sack still in use today), and served as postmaster from Jan. 17, 1865 for a few months until June 7, 1865, when he was succeeded by his nephew, Woodster M. Hardy. He also established a ferry crossing at Hardyville, and a stage line and mail route to Prescott on a toll road. (Road toll rates were not cheap, ranging from 4 cents a mile for each wagon drawn by two horses, mules or oxen. Extra charges were assessed for each additional span of animals, each head of loose livestock, and any individual on horseback. Ferry tolls were even more exorbitant than road tolls.) However, Hardy was well-liked and generous and known to give complementary ferry rides to those who were "down on their luck."
In developing his varied business interests, Hardy traveled frequently, especially to Prescott, which was 165 miles from Hardyville via his Hardyville Toll Road, which cost $35,000 to build - a great sum of money in those days. He supposedly kept up repairs on his road “ by walking along and leading his horse and kicking out such rocks as he could with a pair of number eleven boots” (Account by Thomas Edwin Farish, History of Arizona, 1918.
In a letter to the Mohave County Miner, December 8, 1888, he wrote of some of his early experiences in Arizona.
In June 1888 Hardy led four men with horses and 3 pack animals thru the wilderness to Prescott. The third day out they reached the summit on Aztec Pass, since called Juniper Pass. The settlement of Walnut Creek and Fort Hualapai (originally Camp Tollgate) were later established near this pass. (See: www.apcrp.org) The men heard what they thought were some of the numerous wild turkeys in the area and wanted to go hunting. Hardy, suspecting the calls were Native Americans, scouted and found fresh tracks of bare feet and moccasin’s on their feet. When he reported this, it “took away their appetite for wild turkey.” After dark they all packed up and moved 20 miles east to open country. A few months later two of these men were waylaid and killed by the Indians.
Another experience that illustrates dangers travelers faced was described in Thomas Edwin Farish, History of Arizona, told how on one of his trips from Hardyville to Prescott Hardy rode one evening by mistake into a camp of Wallapais (Sic), who were at war with whites. He saw one Indian, whom he knew, and gave him his horse to take care of, and asked for a place to sleep for the night. He received the courtesy due to a brave man who had placed his life in their hands. The next morning he was permitted to resume his journey without molestation from the Indians.
In later years Captain Hardy was a member of the first board of prison commissioners who supervised the construction of the Arizona Territorial Prison at Yuma. He died of cancer, a man of modest means, at the home of his sister in Whittier, California on June 23,1906. His nephew, Wooster M. Hardy, who took over the post office from his uncle, was born March 13, 1844, in Erie County, Pennsylvania, died of consumption Nov. 14, 1883, at Mineral Park and is buried at Mineral Park, retaining an Arizona connection to Captain Hardy.
General overview of the graves looking east. Three graves in the N.E. Corner, #15, #16, #17 on map.
Capsule biographies of these 10 known burials, from several sources, including www.ArizonaGravestones.org offers a fascinating glimpse into life and death in the 1870s in a region of Arizona that was still the frontier. Here's a list of the people and sketchy information about them. (Note: there is only one female listed.)
Adelida Amaro. Born in California 1854, died in Mohave City 1870. She was a married white female who died in childbirth at age 16. Believed burial in Hardyville Cemetery.
Charles Atchison. Birth unknown. Death July 1891. Known to be buried in Hardyville Cemetery. One of 5 people listed on memorial plaque in cemetery.
Edwardo Bernol. He was a blacksmith born in Mexico in 1835. He was a white male known to be a victim of a homicide shooting, died at age 35, in 1870. Believed buried in Hardyville Cemetery.
Robert Keffin. He was born in Scotland in 1845. Died in May 1870 of accidental drowning. He was a white male laborer age 25, believed buried in Hardyville Cemetery.
John Killian. Some name confusion, also listed as John Gillian. Birthdate unknown. He was from Davenport, Iowa and was ambushed by Indians. He was "buried in Oct.1866 on a high bluff overlooking the Colorado River." One of the names on the memorial plaque in cemetery.
G.E. Mathew. He was born in 1852 and died just short of his 15th birthday in May 1867. His wooden grave marker was removed to the Colorado River Museum just north of Bullhead City and is "very hard to read." One of the names on the memorial plaque in the cemetery.
A.O. Perkins. One of the names on the memorial plaque in the cemetery. His wooden grave marker was moved to the Colorado River Museum and is "in very poor shape." His obituary from the Mohave County Miner, Jan.8, 1898 reads: "A.O. Perkins, who conducted a small store at old Hardyville, was found lying unconscious on the floor of the store, on Dec.31st, by a Mohave Indian. The Indian immediately reported the matter at Fort Mohave. Prof. McKoin and farmer Allison at once drove up to Hardyville, but the old gentleman only lived a short time after their arrival. His death was due to heart disease, from which he had been a great sufferer for many years. The deceased was about sixty years of age and for many years past had resided in Needles. Prof. McKoin saw that the remains had a decent burial. The deceased leaves several children in Los Angeles and Santa Monica."
William Taylor. He was a farmer, white male, born in Illinois in 1831, killed by Indians in 1870. Believed buried in Hardyville Cemetery.
Samuel Todd. One of the names on the memorial plaque in the cemetery. He was a white male born in Indiana about 1820, died Feb.24, 1873. He was a resident of Hardyville and was well known as a founder of Mohave City. When that City was closed down, he moved to Hardyville in May, 1871, and opened a store, the largest in the territory. When fire destroyed Hardyville in 1872, he and Hardy lost $150,000 due to lack of insurance. Todd rebuilt but died shortly thereafter. He also owned a store in nearby Mineral Park, Arizona, as well as a house in Chloride, Arizona, and a stake in Todd Mine in Mohave County. (Named after him?) At the time of his death, Samuel's mother Maria Todd was alive in Alameda County, California. The father is not mentioned in the probate records and was most likely dead at this time.
William J. Tuttle. One of the names on the memorial plaque in the cemetery. His birthdate is unknown, died May 1867. William was a stagecoach driver. When he arrived across the river from Hardyville, he was supposed to fire a shot to summon the ferry. Instead, a passenger fired a shot, hitting the back of his head and killing him!
Some of the information about these burials was found by research in death records and census records for Mohave County for 1870. What a lot of data these records can yield!
Miscellaneous Comments Relating to Hardyville Pioneer Cemetery
Hardyville Pioneer Cemetery is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places, site #01000905, listed Aug. 30, 2001.
Historic significance: event/settlement
Area of significance: exploration/settlement
Period of significance: 1850-1874, 1875-1899.
Owner: local government
Historical function: domestic
Historical sub function: single dwelling
Current function: domestic
Current sub function: single dwelling
On a web page, (www.johnnyjet.com) for February 2007, Laughlin, Nevada, "Carly's Corner" gives this description of a "Haunted Laughlin Tour."
"Our leader shared stories of friendly and not so friendly ghosts in the area, participants had the opportunity to use dousing rods - L-shaped pieces of metal that locate electromagnetic energy and which spin when spirits are sensed. Even non-believers had a difficult time not getting a little freaked out when their dousing rods mysteriously spun out of control as we walked thru the Hardyville Cemetery."
Insert 13. The Bullhead City sign at the turnoff to Hardyville Cemetery may have been adjusted to manage these “ghost tours” of the cemetery.
GPS Coordinates: (D,S. WGS84) LAT., N35.120839, LONG., W114.587333
Street address: 1776 Arizona 95, at Dorado Drive, off corner of Highway 95 and Plata Drive, on bluff top facing west towards Safeway Store across highway 95, in Bullhead City, Arizona, in the north end of old town, just south of the bridge to Laughlin, Nevada. Watch for brown "historic site" sign on east side of Hwy. 95 and arrows will direct you to the cemetery. The site is surrounded by homes and the shopping center across the highway from the bluff. A colorful mural decorates the slope below the cemetery along Highway 95.
Mural at base of slope below Hardyville Cemetery.
Map by: Neal Du Shane 01/11/09
Photos of Present Day Hardyville Cemetery by Kathy and Ed Block
Historic Photos and Plan of Hardyville Cemetery, Courtesy Mohave Museum of History and Arts, Kingman
Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project
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