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Shorty Harris

Taps Sound for "Shorty"

Inyo Independent November 16, 1934

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.

Dean of Prospectors

“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 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 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 there had been many more who were buried there in shallow graves before, without Christian service.

Courtesy: David A. Wright

The graves of Shorty Harris & Jim Dayton

Rhyolite & Bullfrog

Bessie Hart

Reported by Shorty Harris

West Side Road

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