A few days ago I rode along with a friend of mine, who is a volunteer of the Pioneers' Cemetery Association, to go take a look at the Shawmut Cemetery. The Pioneers' Cemetery Association, which accepts donations, and needs new members by the way, helps to preserve, protect, and record the condition of cemeteries all over Arizona. It's been my privilege to see some of these cemeteries, and many are very small, very old, and in very rough condition, but I had never imagined anything like Shawmut. To put it bluntly, it's underwhelming.
There are five (5) mounds there, with rocks on top of them. If there were ever any markers there, during the burials between 1900 and 1940 (sorry, I can't be more precise than that, there are no records), they are long gone. The crosses that you see there, especially the white painted ones, are modern.
I wish I could tell you more about the community of Shawmut, or even where the name came from, but I can't. My "Arizona Place Names" book from 1935 has no mention of it, which makes me think that it may have been gone by then. Or maybe it just wasn't worth mentioning, I don't know. My railroad history friends have explained to me that it was just like a lot of other little communities along the railroad tracks, back before diesel engines, when trains needed a little community every few miles. What kind of a community was there I can't say, whether there were even any permanent structures. There's nothing left of Shawmut except a name on a map and the five graves.
Finding this cemetery took some doing, and a lot of walking, and I promised my friend not to reveal its exact location, except of course that it's near Shawmut, which you can find on Google maps. It's in the Sonoran Desert National Monument, which is protected, so hopefully the former residences of Shawmut will always continue to rest in peace.
The Sonoran Desert National Monument, which is south of Phoenix, is open to hiking, and even if you don't visit Shawmut, I recommend going there. Take some water and a camera, and of course take only photos and leave only footprints.
Thank you for walking with me.
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