Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ceremony marks pioneer’s return to Gold Butte grave

Almost two years after his grave was disturbed near the ghost town of Gold Butte, Arthur Coleman is back where he belongs. About 30 area residents gathered at the remote grave site Saturday to remember Coleman and return his remains to the ground about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Authorities still don’t know who disturbed the small burial plot or why. Saturday’s gathering was all about setting things right. Logandale native Lindsey Dalley, who helped organize the reinterment, said the crowd included residents of all ages from the Virgin and Moapa valleys. People began showing up at about 9 a.m. with shovels and potluck dishes. They lingered until 3 p.m., swapping stories about Coleman and his longtime friend and business partner, William Garrett. The two men met in Gold Butte around 1916, after the mining camp had seen its post office close and its fortunes fade. Coleman and Garrett would spend the next four decades there, running cattle, scratching for gold and brewing moonshine around the home they shared in the ruins of the camp. They made for an odd team: Coleman, a 5-foot-1 miner, and Garrett, a notorious 6-foot-1 rancher out of Texas whose uncle may have been the famed lawman who shot Billy the Kid. Locals took to calling the pair “the long and the short of it.” The men lived at Gold Butte until Coleman’s death in 1958 at age 82. Garrett died three years later, at age 81, and joined his old friend in the ground behind their home. Years later, their plots were fenced and marked with engraved headstones.  Near the end of Saturday’s ceremony, Dalley spotted a truck rumbling down the dirt road toward them towing a rusted Model A Ford pickup on a trailer. It turned out to be Coleman’s old Model A. He had left it in his will to a neighboring ranch family almost 60 years earlier, so a member of the family towed it down from St. George, Utah, for the memorial. “You could have brushed me over with a feather when that thing showed up,” Dalley said. “It was like history had come alive and was standing there in front of you.”...more

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