The Littleton Cemetery is the final resting place of Alferd Packer, a Civil War veteran, shoemaker, mountain guide, and cannibal.
Packer was born in Pennsylvania in 1842, a shoemaker by trade, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1862 amidst the Civil War. Less than a year after enlisting, he was discharged due to epilepsy and made his way west, working in the gold fields of the Colorado and Utah wilderness.
In November of 1873 Packer took a group of 21 prospective gold investors into the Rockies. In February 1874, Packer set out again with five of the prospectors. The winter was worse than originally anticipated; supplies ran low and sub-zero temperatures took its toll on the group. After spending the brutal winter months in the Rocky Mountains, Packer returned with the wallets and some possessions of the five men, and looking surprisingly fit. He claimed the men had died from exposure on the trail, and later admitted that some of the group did indeed die from exposure, but the other men ate their corpses along the way.
Packer claimed the last man with him went mad and he had to kill him in self defense. A search party was sent to recover the bodies and instead of finding five bodies strewn along the trail, five skeletons were found at their campsite. Packer was arrested but escaped his jail cell. He was found nine years later in Wyoming and was brought back for trial in Colorado. His story about what happened in the winter of 1873 changed again and he was convicted of 5 counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Packer was paroled after 18 years of prison and worked as a security guard for the Denver Post. He maintained his innocence until the end of his life. Because he was a veteran, the military paid for his funeral and standard veteran headstone.
Know Before You Go
From Denver International Airport take the A Line light rail to Union Station. From Union Station take the D Line to Littleton Downtown Station. The Littleton Downtown Station is located on S Prince St. Turn left on S Prince St, cross the train tracks & community college parking lot, and the Littleton Cemetery is on your right. Alferd Packer's grave is near the second to the right from the cemetery gate; in the closest row from the road. Look for the bench and wolfstone over the grave.