Stealing History from Arizona Pioneer's Cemetery

Someone took the plaque off Big Nose Kate’s grave

Mary Cummings, a.k.a. Big Nose Kate’s grave on Monday, Sept. 18, after the plaque was reportedly taken. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Mary Cummings, a.k.a. Big Nose Kate’s grave on Monday, Sept. 18, after the plaque was reportedly taken. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

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Mary Cummings (Big Nose Kate).

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Plaque missing from the gravesite of Mary Katherine Horony-Cummings also known as Big Nose Kate.

The gravesite of Mary Katherine Horony-Cummings, also known as Big Nose Kate, has been vandalized and a plaque was stolen from the grave marker at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home cemetery.

Kate, perhaps best-known as the common-law wife of gunfighter John Henry “Doc” Holliday, died on Nov. 2, 1940, five days before her 90th birthday.

She was buried four days later under the name “Mary K. Cummings.”

Dale Sams, the interim superintendent of the Pioneers’ Home, said the plaque was added to the grave marker at the request of a private citizen in 2008.

The plaque reads:

“Mary Katherine Horony-Cummings, also known as Big Nose Kate, or Rowdy Kate, born in Budapest, Hungary, November 7, 1850, died in the Arizona Pioneers’ Home, Prescott, Arizona, November 2, 1940.”

Sams said the plaque, which was placed in cement, said there might be some value in the metals, but that it’s not an antique.

“I don’t think somebody is going to get much value out of it, other than just looking at it and thinking, ‘Wow, I’ve got something neat from Doc Holliday’s girlfriend’s grave,’” Sams said.

The plaque’s disappearance was discovered by John Friedman. He said Tuesday, Sept. 19 that he had seen the plaque in its proper place at the gravesite about a week ago, but when he took some relatives to see it this week, it was gone with only a fresh dirt pile where it had been installed.

“Someone’s got it in their garden or on their coffee table,” Friedman said.

Sams said he was unhappy that someone would so brazenly remove a gravemarker and that a police report would be filed.