Cooney’s Tomb and Cemetery
Alma, Catron County, New Mexico Nov. 17, 2007
By Nancy E. Brown, Catron County Genealogist, and Arlena Boggs
Return to Catron County Cemetery Page

Update:  Cooney Tomb Cemetery: 2008
There has been a native stone Memorial added to the little cemetery behind Cooney’s Tomb.  I found it recently while showing a family member this site.  The memorial was for William L “Bill” May, Jr. who was born Oct 6, 1911, in Cooney, New Mexico to William L. May Sr. and Ollie Belle (Clark) May.  He died Jan 10, 2008 at his home in Camp Verde, Arizona.  He had lived in Camp Verde for 30 years, coming from Bakersfield, California where he worked for Arco Oil Company.
I thought the above was very interesting since the little (boy) Elza E. May, who died in 1905, is buried in this cemetery.  For some unknown reason, some would-be genealogists have labeled him as little Elza May, daughter of Charlie Clark.  I challenge them to show me the name “Clark” on his headstone.  There is a plaque with a picture of a little boy on it, giving his name and dates that is placed by his headstone.  It is a shame they will not admit their error and correct the mistake.  I am enclosing the new pictures. Nancy E. Brown

Update, by Kevin O'Cooney 2/8/2012
My Uncle Hugh and Cousin John were both put in the tomb after their untimely deaths. My Uncle died of Diphtheria. His Father was my Grandfather Thomas. My father was Thomas’ third child, William Weatherby. I do not know what caused John’s death. He was the son of Michael. My father was also involved in the search for his Great Uncle Mike. My Grandfather moved from Ontario Canada to New Orleans to live with Michael when Michael was in charge of the Port there. He followed Uncle Mike to New Mexico after the news of the death of James. One of the Mines in the area is named after my Grandmother, Maude. I plan to repair the Tomb and clean the area in the near future. Thank you for the great web site!

Cooney’s Tomb and Cemetery is about 5 miles east of Alma, New Mexico. It is in Cooney Canyon on Mineral Creek. The Tomb is on the right hand side the road going east. For many years there were four graves in front of the Tomb enclosed in a low wrought iron fence and the boulder was a good hundred feet or so from the creek. During one of the great hundred year floods, the raging torrent took out all the dirt and rock right up to the Tomb and almost cut under it, washing away the graves that were in front of the Tomb. Two large marble stones with J.C. Cooney’s name and the two Cooney children’s names were also washed away. Material had to be hauled in to rebuild a road by the Tomb.
In April of 1880, Sergeant James C. Cooney, Jack Chick and a Mr. Buhlman were riding to Alma to warn the settlers of an Indian attack at the Cooney mine when all three men were killed. Victorio and his band also killed three men and wounded another at the mine. James C. Cooney was interred in the boulder, when his brother Michael Cooney and miners from Pinos Altos drilled, blasted and chipped a cavity for his remains.

Cooney's Tomb after the flood of 1986. Photo  Headstones that washed away  Photo   1955 Photo  Poster

James Cooney in tomb  Photo

1. Cooney; James C; b 1840; d Apr 29, 1880; Killed by Victorio’s Apaches; Interred in Tomb. Photo

2. Chick; Jack; d Apr 29, 1880; Killed by Victorio’s Apaches; Buried in front of Tomb.

3. Buhlman; Mr. d Apr 30, 1880; Killed by Victorio’s Apaches; Buried in front of Tomb.

4. Cooney; Hugh C; b Oct 3, 1898; d Jan 7, 1900.
  This was a child of one of James Cooney’s brothers.

5. Cooney; John D; b Aug 20, 1880; d Dec 15, 1891.

This was a child of one of James Cooney’s brothers.  

Graves behind Cooney’s Tomb.
1. Clark; Charley; b Oct 2, 1868; d Aug 29, 1910  Photo   Photo #2
  Former deputy and saloonkeeper in Mogollon, NM. He was killed by Mounted Police when making an arrest.
2. May, Elza E; b June 29, 1896; d Sept 5, 1905  Photo   Photo #2
----Son of William and Madie May, who were living in Cooney, NM. This grave has been mistakenly said to be Elza May, daughter of Charley Clark.
3. Unknown; small rock enclosure with small plain cement block at head.   Photo
4. Unknown; large rock enclosure with small wooden post at head.  Photo
5. Unknown; post and pipe enclosure; no names or dates.   Photo