Hi Jolly and The Red Ghost of Quartzite

We are spending a week in Quartzite Arizona during the big RV show. There is only so much to keep our interest at the show so of course I started doing a little research. Saw a sign for Hi Jolly Monument so off we went.

During the mid-1800’s when much of the southwest was still uninhabited desert, the government got the idea to hire camel drivers to carry their goods across the rough terrain.

Hi Jolly was a Greek, born in Syria, named Philip Tedro. As an adult he converted to Islam, made the pilgrimage to Mecca and took the name Hadji Ali.

After this pilgrimage the U.S. Calvary contracted Jolly to become one of their first riders in the Army Camel Corps. In America at that time Islam names were rare so ‘Hadji Ali’ became ‘Hi Jolly’ pretty quickly, that name stuck.

Eventually the camel corps was disbanded because the camels frightened the local livestock and horses. Jolly remained in the southwest and died in Arizona in 1902.

In honor of him the local cemetery was named Hi Jolly Cemetery, where he is interred under a pyramid of rocks.

The Red Ghost is local lore from the 1880s about a giant red horse with a devil on its back. Supposedly this horse trampled a woman to death and otherwise wrecked havoc in the area. At the scene of these happenings were large hoof marks and strands of red hair. Stories of the Red Ghost lasted for about a decade until a local farmer came across a red camel grazing with a skeleton strapped to its back. Whether the man died in the saddle or was strapped up there after his death is unknown, either way quite a story.

A lifesize camel statue made of junk and painted red, named Georgette, is somewhere in town but we were unable to find it.

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