East River Road

Park View Memorial Gardens

Yellowstone River View From The South

Welcome to the Shorthill Cemetery Picture Tour

For years, we assumed the Park View Memorial Gardens on East River Road, south of Livingston, Montana was the final resting place for most of the “Paradise Valley” early homesteaders.  Fortunately, we received a request to photograph the nearby Shorthill Cemetery.

So why visit Montana cemeteries you ask?  Beside the obvious reason that you can learn the history of a Montana town by visiting it’s cemetery.  A Botany professor told us long ago to, “Always check the local cemetery because they sometimes represent the last remaining patches of native range grass & plants in Montana.” Finally, the homemade headstones are as unique as the Montana people living in the surrounding area.

David R. Shorthill worked the gold fields near Chico, Montana from 1864 to 1866. Impressed with Montana, Shorthill gathered his family from Pennsylvania and became one of the early Homesteaders of the “Paradise Valley” in 1880. When David’s six-month-old grand daughter, Bertha, died in 1888. David R. Shorthill set aside five acres of his homestead for the cemetery.

As you enter the Shorthill Cemetery walk down hill to the first level of headstones. This is where you will find the graves of the early “Paradise Valley” Homesteaders.

The granite headstone in the foreground belongs to Thomas J. Shorthill (1853-1939). Thomas J. Shorthill’s father David R. Shorthill, was Union soldier from Pennsylvania that was left for dead on the battlefield of Antietam (September 17, 1862). Antietam was the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War.*

David R. Shorthill worked the gold fields near Chico, Montana from 1864 to 1866. Impressed with Montana, Shorthill gathered his family from Pennsylvania and became one of the early Homesteaders of the “Paradise Valley” in 1880. When David’s six-month-old grand daughter, Bertha, died in 1888. David R. Shorthill set aside five acres of his homestead for the cemetery.

Shorthill Cemetery Landmarks

1.) Green Sign – Thank you Pine Creek Pioneers 4-H.

2.) Caretaker cabin – The structure was originally an early Homesteaders cabin.

3.) Shorthill headstone – The granite headstone in the foreground (below) belongs to Thomas J. Shorthill (1853-1939).

4.) Shorthill headstone

5.) Shorthill Cemetery Stone – Hidden by the vegetation.

6.) Bertha George headstone – The first person interred in the Shorthill Cemetery.

7.) Third Level – Located at the top of the hill where you will find the location of recent grave sites.

8.) Logger – Inscription reads: “Here rests a woodsman of the world.”

9.) World War I veteran and member of the famous 91st Division – Powder River “Let’er Buck.” See the Powder River in SE Montana. Click here to read more about 362 Infantry, 91st Division. See Fort Assinniboine where General John J. Pershing was a First Lieutenant in 1896.

10.) 1stLt Lyle Johnson was born in Townsend, MT and  died in an IED explosion in Quang Nam Province, approximately 17 kilometers north northwest of the Danang Airfield. Lyle was posthumously promoted to Captain.