The Hi Jolly Cemetery is operated and maintained by the Town of Quartzsite for the purposes of providing a cemetery, historic site and park. The Hi Jolly monument is in the pioneer section of the cemetery where Quartzsite’s pioneer families were and are laid to rest. There is a new section to the cemetery also for those who chose to be interred in Quartzsite. The cemetery sits at the west end of Town and has a wonderful desert vista in every direction. There are mountain ranges and foothills to be seen from every viewpoint. The Town is committed to beautifying the cemetery and preserving this historic site.
Hi Jolly wasn’t his name. The famed camel driver was born Philip Tedro, a Greek born in Syria. He converted to Islam and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, hence his first name, Hadji Ali. The American version of that became Hi Jolly. It was also a better name for a camel driver, which is what he was when he first came to this country as part of a U.S. Cavalry experiment in the 1850′s. He is by far the most colorful of the camel drivers because he remained in the desert southwest and became a prospector, scout and was a courier for what was called the Jackass Mail. He was a packer, hauling freight in the area also. Hi Jolly died in December of 1902, in what in now known as Quartzsite, Arizona. In his day the town was called Tyson’s Well, but the history does not stop there. In 1934 the Arizona Department of Transportation erected a monument over his grave. His grave became the beginning of the pioneer cemetery. The monument is a favorite of visitors to Arizona.