LAST ONE - The Burial 12 x 15" Fine Art Print


Ultra Limited Edition (5 total) The Burial 12 x 15 inch fine art print on elegant 310 gsm matte paper with a half inch border.

Each print is signed, numbered and includes a certificate of authenticity.

Free pick up or delivery for Livingston MT residents (or transients). Enter the discount code LOCAL at checkout.

A recent study in the Friends of Sidney Edgerton Anthropological Society Newsletter found that from 1864 - 1889 83% of all caucasian graves in Montana were dug by women (more specifically widows of the deceased). The high number of widows surviving in the territory after 1864 comes as no surprise, with Montana being renown for ushering irresponsible adventurers full of beans and lacking foresight into the region as early as 1804.

Women’s grave digging skills at the time were so admired that digging graves became an official competition at Independence Day Ranch Rodeos throughout the state. Naturally, this was the closing event, as the field would be littered with open graves by the end, and no other activities or competitions could safely take place. Controversy began in Big Horn County in 1883 when it was discovered that the sponsors of that year’s Ranch Rodeo, the Devine Prairie Methodist Episcopal Church had purchased the plot of the festivities with the intent to turn it into a graveyard and circumvent burial labor by using the 63 graves dug by local widows during the event. For perspective, the winner of the competition, Willa Linstrum (digging a 3x8x6’ grave in a record breaking 2 hours 53 minutes) was presented with a tin thimble for her efforts.

Linstrum did not mind. “I’ve dug lots of graves for real. Truthfully, digging a grave for the sake of it was a pleasure. I didn’t have to build a coffin or anything. Just mindless busywork, a perfect way to spend Independence Day,” she said. “I’d be happy to do it even without the thimble.”

Objections came from recent Big Horn County residents Sherman Porter and Howard Merrett, who had made significant investments in developing the west’s first Undertakers Labor Alliance. Both men were notably connected and it wasn’t long after July 4 1883 that women were outlawed from digging graves for burials or recreation.

Although seldom enforced, the law exists to this day.