John Blair

John Blair

Back to the Graveyard

John Blair was a cattle rustler and member of the Double 'Dobe Gang in southeastern Arizona in the late 1800s. As he participated in a rustling trip he managed to contract smallpox. This was discovered by his cohorts after he had returned to their camp outside Tombstone. His friends found a small shack at a safe distance from camp and quarantined him there. They also found a Mexican woman who had recovered from smallpox sometime earlier and was now immune, and they convinced her to take care of Blair and nurse him back to health.

A week later, the Mexican woman showed up in camp to announce "SeƱor Juan, he ees very dead."

One of Blair's friends rode to Tombstone, where he went to Boothill, selected a good spot for the grave, and proceeded to dig a hole much deeper than was normally considered acceptable. While he was busy digging the grave, another of Blair's friends went to the shack. While standing at the doorway, this man tossed a coiled rope inside the shack toward Blair until he finally managed to get the loop around his legs. Cinching the knot tight, he tied the other end of the rope to his horse's pommel, or saddle horn, and the funeral procession began.

Once Blair's body had successfully cleared the door of the shack and was outside, the rider coaxed his horse into a gallop and wasted no time as he hurriedly dragged the body over the rough terrain to Boothill Graveyard. Blair's body was unceremoniously dumped into the deep hole and the end of the rope that had been tied to the saddle was tossed in after him, then the two men swiftly filled the hole with dirt, sand and rocks.

Later that night as the gang sat by the fire getting drunk, one of Blair's cohorts was overheard musing out loud, wondering how John was going to manage to get the rope off his feet when it came time to stand before the Lord on judgment day.

Date birth and death not found.