Did you know there were once camels in Arizona? I didn’t know until I spent some time in Quartzsite.
According to http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11284
In 1856, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (later President of the Confederacy) had a novel idea: transporting freight and people across the desert Southwest on camels. He eventually imported over 70 of the beasts. Along with the first batch came a Syrian caretaker, Hadji Ali. His American masters called him Hi Jolly.
The locals were so fond of him that, after he died, they spent several weeks building Hi Jolly a special pyramid tomb, made of multicolored petrified wood and quartz. It was dedicated on Jan. 4, 1903. Thirty-three years later the Arizona Highway Department came along and cemented a bronze plaque to the tomb, telling Hi Jolly’s story, and topped the pyramid with a metal camel silhouette.
In those long-ago days the Quartzsite cemetery was remote, just bare ground and a few scrubby sagebrush at the edge of an obscure desert outpost. Now you have to drive through the very busy Quartzsite flea market to get to Hi Jolly. Still, his tomb is the biggest thing back in its tiny patch of desert solitude.
The camels, by the way, outlived Jefferson Davis, Hi Jolly, and even the cementing of the plaque. Their last reported sighting was in 1942.
Hi Jolly is not the only person buried in this cemetery. Many of the graves are very old, the final resting place of many Quartzsite pioneers. During my first visit I picked up a booklet with a map of the graveyard. The booklet (found in a nearby informational kiosk) also offers biographical information about many of the people buried in the cemetery. One day I hope to go back to the cemetery when I have a lot of time and a hat and a bottle of water and the booklet so I can read about the old-timers buried there.
I-10 exit 17. North side, about a half-mile east on Business 10/W. Main St. Turn north at the Hi Jolly Tomb sign and drive through the flea market to get to the town cemetery and the monument.