Friday, September 25, 2009

Jennie Bauters—Jerome’s most famous and loved madam The football stadium at White Cliff Middle School in Kingman, AZ gives an entirely different meaning to the term “team spirit”. This football field was built on what was once the Pioneer Cemetery. The Pioneer Cemetery was used as the original cemetery in Kingman from 1900 to 1917.

In about 1903, Jennie Bauters—Jerome’s most famous and loved madam—left Jerome, AZ and headed for a new boom town called Acne (now known as Goldfield). Jennie’s gambling suitor, Clement C. Leigh, followed her there. After a time, Jennie began to feel he was somewhat of a threat. In September 1905, Leigh needed money to settle a bad debt. With anger and a gun in his hand, he headed to Jennie’s place and demanded she hand over her cash. An argument ensued and Jennie tried to flee from the building. He chased after her, firing several shots which wounded her as she ran into the street. He approached the paralyzed woman and fired a fatal shot to her head. He then pointed the gun to his chest and fired again. He lay down beside her to die. But, instead, Leigh survived the suicide attempt and was carted off to jail. Jennie was mourned by all and laid to rest in the Pioneer Cemetery in Kingman. In 1907, justice was served and Leigh was hung. He too, was buried in the Kingman Pioneer Cemetery.

In 1917, the county began the task of moving the graves of the dearly departed to the new Mountain View Cemetery. Mohave County did not pay for your loved ones to be moved to the new location. That was the family’s responsibility. So, some of the not so dearly departed, whose relatives would not come forward, were not moved. They were left behind at the deserted cemetery.

Mohave County donated the old Pioneer Cemetery property to the school board to build a new high school. A stadium and parking lot replaced the hallowed grounds. They say that in the 1940’s, a group of youngsters playing on the football field began to unearth bones of the bodies that were never moved to Mountain View Cemetery. Many organizations were alarmed and took action to have the existing remains exhumed and placed in a solitary grave on the property. There is a plaque dedicated to the unknown buried pioneers on the school grounds. The old high school is now a Kingman middle school.

And as fate would have it, Jennie Bauters and her murderer, Clement Leigh, are now buried in the same grave and entombed forever in the end zone of a football field. So if you are ever attending a big football game at the old stadium and the excitement begins to magnify—beware the rising spirits might be more than just the cheering crowd.

Related: Jerome Arizona: Seventh Annual Ghostwalk

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