Though he was a victim of violence in early Dodge City, he was never buried on Boot Hill. However, he did have his own pair of boots at the Boot Hill cemetery, but they went missing for decades.
Harry T. McCarty, not to be confused with Dr. Thomas McCarty or his son Dr. Claude, was a jack-of-all-trades having been a painter, draftsman and surveyor. For two years he served as Ford County Surveyor and in 1878 he platted the new Prairie Grove Cemetery. Ironically, he was one of the first to be buried at Prairie Grove. That same year the U.S. Government appointed him deputy United States marshal - a role he filled for only three months.
At 4:00 am on July 13, 1878, McCarty was standing at the bar in the Long Branch as the early morning revelry was winding down. A drunken cattle camp cook, Thomas O'Haran, had started back to camp but, for some reason, he returned to the Long Branch where a group teased about his lack of intellectual skills. To prove to them just how smart he was, he grabbed McCarty's pistol from his holster. As McCarty turned to see who had so nimbly disarmed him, the cook shot the U.S. marshal with his own gun. McCarty died about an hour later and was buried that afternoon in Prairie Grove.
Prairie Grove did not last long as cemetery and, in another twist of irony, Harry McCarty's body did not make the transfer to Maple Grove. There are no records of him being interred anywhere.
That didn't stop the people of Dodge from "honoring" him by placing a pair of concrete boots and a grave marker at Boot Hill Cemetery. In 1932, the Rotary Club had a district convention in Dodge City and retired dentist Dr. O.H. Simpson made and placed grave markers and cowboy boots, including McCarty's, along with other trimmings on the site of Boot Hill Cemetery to entertain the Rotarians. These were such a hit; they remained permanently and became a tourist attraction and the precursor to Boot Hill Museum.
Around 1936, H.T. McCarty's concrete boots disappeared. An article in the Globe reported on the mysterious disappearance and noted that H.T. McCarty might want his boots.
May 2018, the mystery is solved! McCarty's boots have been returned to Boot Hill. According to the returner of the boots, they were taken "on a dare" by his late mother, Edith Yochem who was 15 at the time. The person who brought them to the Museum had known the story of the boots since he was young child and felt now was the time for them to come home.
Though we don't know where Harry T. McCarty's body is, at least he can rest a little bit easier knowing his boots are safe.