The Fort Bowie Cemetery was established before the fort and remained active after the fort was abandoned in October 1894. The first burials were three California Column privates killed by Apaches about one months before the fort's establishment. The final burial was a murdered miner residing in one of the old officer's quarters about two years after the fort's closure. Rotation of military units, heavy campaigning, and years of relative peace are represented by those lying within its picket boundaries.
Originally the cemetery was not enclosed, enabling the post horse and cattle herds to damage headboards and graves as they grazed the area. Sometime between 1870 and mid- 1878 the cemetery was enclosed by a four foot high adobe wall erected on a rock foundation. With this improvement, the cemetery was kept in good order until 1881 when it was reported the walls were crumbling and the gates needed repair. The cemetery continued to deteriorate, and by 1884 it was reported that the gates were gone and livestock could once again invade grave sites. After Major Eugene Beaumont, post commander, requisitioned lumber for a picket fence, it was constructed in 1885, doubling the size of the existing cemetery. New headboards were replaced with marble head and foot stones quite similar to the ones in use today. By the time of the fort closure in 1894, the original portion of the cemetery was nearly full and may have contained 112 graves.