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Local Landmarks and Personal Favorites in Inyo County
 
I’ll never have to quit you now, Jim Dayton
"Bury me beside Jim Dayton in the valley we loved. Above me write: 'Here lies Shorty Harris, a single blanket jackass prospector.'"
Epitaph requested by Shorty (Frank) Harris, beloved gold hunter, 1856-1934
Here Jas. Dayton, pioneer, perished, 1898.

To these trailmakers whose courage matched the dangers of the land, this bit of earth is dedicated forever.

Shorty Harris Grave in Death Valley National Park
 
20 February 2007
(Click Photos to Zoom)
Shorty Harris Grave
West Side Road South of Hanaupah Canyon Road
Death Valley National Park
 
From the Inyo Independent dated November 16, 1934, as reported by the website Digital-Desert:

While the sun sank slowly into the purple haze that filters over Death Valley at twilight and taps sounded in the clear air of this mysterious land he knew so well, “Shorty” Harris, miner, Good Samaritan and friend to all who knew him, was laid to rest in a dusty grave on the valley floor last Sunday afternoon.

He was laid beside the grave of his old pal and friend, Jim Dayton, long a respected pioneer prospector of Death Valley region.

“Shorty” Harris, dean of all desert prospectors, died at the age of 74 years in a cabin at Big Pine, where he had sought rest and health following an illness about a year ago. He passed away in the restful sleep that he had sought.

In deference to his request, he was buried at the “bottom of Death Valley”, beside his partner. He had prospected with Jim Dayton many years ago in search for the yellow metal.

The simple service, when the last rights [sic] were pronounced, was beautiful in the quiet solitude of the great valley. Chaplain Henry of the C.C.C. camp at Cow Creek, officiated at the open-air burial service. One hundred and fifty C.C.C. boys were present, bowing their heads out of respect to the grand old man of the desert, whose stories of early Death Valley, of burro-prospecting days, have been chronicled far and wide by writers of national repute.

The body was lowered in the grave exactly at sunset and more than 300 people stood quietly at attention as taps sounded.

Arraignments [sic] for the funeral ware [sic] made by Wm. Carruthers of Ontario and Supervisor Chas. Brown of Shoshone. The body was taken to Death Valley by Dewy Albright.

Many old timers of the valley were present at the services, including Mr. Zabriskie of Pacific Coast Borax Co. and Bob Montgomery, who originally located Rhyolite and the Shoshone mine, and had not been in the valley for some 30 years.

The burial of “Shorty” Harris went down in history as the first Christian burial in Death Valley, altho [sic] there had been many more who were buried there in shallow graves before, without Christian service.

 

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