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United States Army and Navy

Officers and Volunteers






There are many veterans of the Mexican War, of the Civil War, and of the War with Spain, whose graves are in the Lone Mountain cemeteries--some with individual monuments like Colonel E. D. Baker, Judge Timothy H. Rearden, Captain Joseph L. Folsom, William S. Clark, R. C. Rogers, Richard Realf, and Colonel Cremony.  Others, and all the unknown soldier dead, are remembered by the tall shaft in the Grand Army plot near the foot of Lone Mountain, erected "To the Memory of California's Patriot Dead."  Their last long sleep is epitomized in the brief inscription on their monuments: "Mustered Out."




U. S. A.

Capt. Joseph L. Folsom

Died July 19, 1855 Age 38 Years


Captain Folsom's large plot, Number 101, on Greenwood Avenue, stands in the name of Gustavus Decatur Folsom, who was his young nephew.  The history of the Folsom family is recorded at length by Reverend Nathaniel S. Folsom of Boston in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, beginning with John Folsom, who came from England to America in 1638, and located in New Hampshire.  Passing over the intervening generations, and the story of their service in the Revolutionary War, Captain Folsom's father, Abraham, died while his sons were still young.  Joseph was sent to West Point, where he graduated in 1840 and went at once to Florida serve in the Seminole War.  He was promoted to the grade of Captain, and in March, 1847, arrived in San Francisco as quartermaster with Colonel Stevenson's regiment.  He became chief of the quartermaster's department on the North Pacific Coast, also was made collector of the port of San Francisco.  He had faith in the future of San Francisco, and made investments in town lots.  Later he acquired the estate of William A. Leidesdorff, and became a wealthy man.  Folsom Street was named for him.


At Mission San Jose Captain Folsom died at the age of thirty-eight years and two months.  He was a bachelor, and rumored at the time said he was engaged to a Senator's daughter.  Four years she mourned his loss and never married.  Captain Folsom's biographers have said that "in manner he exhibited a slight formality through the influence of his military education," and that "he was a man of stainless character, and irreproachable integrity."





Edward Gilbert



Edward Gilbert, printer and writer, came to San Francisco in March, 1847, on the Loo Choo, with Colonel Stevenson's Regiment, Company H., of the New York Volunteers.  For a year or more he acted as Collector Joseph L. Folsom's deputy.  He made a census of San Francisco, in January, 1849, became the first editor of the Alta California.  He was a deligate to the Constitutional Convention which met in Monterey in September, 1849, and in November of the same year he was elected the first United States Congressman from California.  In a duel near Sacramento he was killed by General James W. Denver whom he had challenged.  Buried first at Yerba Buena Cemetery, he was removed May 2, 1863, to the plot of the Typeographical Union in Laurel Hill Cemetery.






William S. Clark, whose forebearers served in the Continental Congress and fought in the Colonial Wars and the Revolution, was born on the Pennsylvania-Maryland frontier, October 3, 1807.  Ever a frontiersmen, the opening of the year 1846 found him on the Kansas River outpost preparing for his trek to the Pacific Coast.  There he assisted the Indian Commissioners in their negotiations with the Kaw Indian tribes for their title to lands Kaw and Kansas Rivers.  He smoked the pipe of peace with Chief White Plume (Nom-pa-wa-rah).  In negotiating the terms for it to his tribe, the old Chief stipulated that the annuity should be continue "so long as the Kansas River flows and grass grows on its banks."  The treaty he was signed January 14, 1846, by which several million acres were ceded to the United States.


On May 10, 1846, William S. Clark left Independence, Missouri, with an ox-team in advance of the wagon train bound for the Pacific Coast.  He crossed the alkali plains and climbed over the Sierras before winter set in, arriving at San Francisco,"then called Yerba Buena, in October, 1846.  The town was then under military governorship, and on his arrival William S. Clark volunteered for military duty.  His wagon was commandeered by Captain Fremont's men for transporting heavy guns.  As number 69 of the volunteer company, under commanding officer Ward Marston of the marines, he was summoned to report at the Yerba Buena Marine Barracks.  With the mounted volunteers he rode down the peninsula in the Santa Clara Campaign.  This was the last engagement between the Spanish-Californians and Americans in Northern California before the treaty with Mexico was signed.


John Henry Brown, in his "Reminiscences" (The Grabhorn Press, 1933), tells about the explosion of the heavy coffee pot with a loud report, which brought out the volunteers in force.  He says: "William S. Clark came from Clark's Point to the Barracks, which, owing to the roughness of the roads, was considered a pretty good walk."  Captain Hull, hearing the explosion, ordered his men to beat the long roll.  When the volunteers responded he ordered them to form a line and be prepared for attack.  He sent out marines as scouts, and signaled the men on the ship to be ready to land if called upon.  When Captain Hull discovered the cause of the explosion, which had seemed to him like a firing of an enemy's gun, he promptly turned to his company, thanked them profusely, and formally discharged them from further duty.  This was the last call to arms in Yerba Buena. 


"When I reached Sutter' s Fort," wrote Pioneer Clark, in a pencil manuscript that is now faded in and worn but still decipherable, "I was not sufficiently rested from my long journey to join their recruits for San Juan; so I sold my oxen to Captain Sutter and embarked on a launch bound down the Sacramento River to the town of your Yerba Buena, on the Bay of San Francisco.  This was October, 1846.


"I landed off the point of rocks at the northern end of your Yerba Buena Cove.  This was the only landing place at low tide.  There was another landing place further south, but on account of the mud it was accessible only at high tide.  The point of rocks at which I landed was at about the intersection of Broadway and Battery streets.  Soon afterward I purchased this land from the authorities and built on it a warehouse.  This location is known as Clark's Point, and is so marked on the official maps.  As soon as I secured title to the land I began the construction of the wharf at the foot of Broadway street.  At this time the port was under the command of Captain Montgomery who commanded the sloop of war Portsmouth.  He brought his instruments ashore and ran the line of Montgomery Street, which was named after him.  The plaza was named Portsmouth Square after his vessel.  Our alcalde, or mayor, was Washington A. Bartlett, an officer aboard this man-of-war lying in the harbor.


"The day after I landed at the Point I was overhauled by the Provost Marshal, the country being under martial law.  He examined my effects.  Everything being found satisfactory he placed me on the muster roll and I was required to do military duty.  I did not enlist in the United States service as many of the emigrants did, but I volunteered to do guard duty and to take my place in the ranks when called upon.  I just retained my liberty for business enterprises.  Not having regularly enlisted I was not entitled to pay for my services.


"My first enterprise was to locate lots favorably for commercial business.  Selecting the place at the point of rocks where I first landed, afterwards called for me Clark's Point, I proceeded to build myself a cabin, making use of such materials as were readily obtainable.  I used some adobe, with pieces of lumber and sods, and tacked up bullock skins on the outside to prevent the winter rains from washing it down.  I was occasionally called off from my work to join a scouting party when there was danger of the attack from the enemy, but had no particular engagement until later in the season.


"One night the explosion of the coffee pot, with a loud noise, brought out the marines.  The long roll was beaten and the sleeping volunteers, thinking the enemy had made an attack, turned out with their guns, and lined up at the barracks, ready for action.  The sloop of war at anchor in the bay, by signals, let it be known that she was prepared to the land a party of blue jackets.  However, nothing took place, and we all returned to our war beds considerably disappointed that there was no fighting.  Whenever shots were heard in the night the guard at the barracks would give the alarm, and the volunteers belonging to the military company would hasten out and armed and equipped, ready for battle.  At the slightest warning sound the cry would go out 'The greasers are coming,' and the United States volunteers, armed with their Kentucky rifles, were ready to repulse the enemy's attacking force.  In those days we slept on our guns and were prepared to defend our country."




The Story of the Battle of Santa Clara as told by

William S. Clark who was One of the Volunteers


In December, 1846, the Spanish-Californians had become so insolent that the butchers could not furnish us with beef, which was our principal food.  Beef being cut off, we were fast coming to the point of starvation.  Our alcalde, Washington A. Bartlett, a naval officer who was conversant with the Spanish language, on learning of the difficulty, proposed to go out himself and get what beef cattle was required.  He took with him six men to drive the cattle in.  Upon arriving at Francisco Sanchez's rancho, near the place now called Millbrae, he had no difficulty in negotiating for the desired beef cattle, but at the moment of mounting their horses to return with their herd, Alcalde Bartlett and his men were surrounded by a party of armed Spanish-Californians, and ordered to dismount and surrender.  Our men, being without arms, were forced to submit.  They were marched into the foothills to a place in the Coast Range at the head of the Franciscquito Creek, where the Spanish-Californians were encamped about four hundred strong.


At Yerba Buena we waited impatiently for our party' s return.  Ten days elapsed before we heard of them, when news came of their capture.  Commander Joseph B. Hull, of United States sloop of when war Warren, had succeeded Captain Montgomery of the United States sloop of war Portsmouth in command at San Francisco.  His quarters were on shore.  Commander Hull at once ordered ten artillery men from his ship with a two-pounder, which was mounted on a handcart, and thirty marines from the Marine Barracks at Yerba Buena, to be put under command of officer of the marines Captain Ward Marston, to join Captain Weber's party in pursuit of the Spaniards.  Commander Hull called on the citizens of Yerba Buena for volunteers, sixteen of whom join the party.  We volunteers furnished our own arms and ammunition, for the government had none to supply us with.  Our whole force now numbered one hundred.  The next day we received marching orders from our commander to proceeded against the Spanish-Californians' camp and release Alcalde Bartlett and his men.  Our appearance was not very imposing as a war-like party.  Captain Weber's company was composed of old men and boys with their Kentucky rifles.  The led.  The marines and artillery followed in government equipment, the volunteers bringing up the rear.  The first night we camped at the Sanchez rancho (now Millbrae) where we found plenty of beef cattle.  The next day' s march brought us to a little valley at the foot of the mountains about three miles from camp of the Spanish-Californians.  They broke camp as soon as they were warned off our approach.  This was New Year's Day, January 1, 1847.  We followed in full pursuit.  We overtook the enemy at ten o'clock the next day about six miles from Santa Clara Mission, or the fight began.  This was January 2, 1847.  The Spanish-Californians fought desperately for a time, their four-star outnumbering ours.  Notwithstanding their numbers, however, they were intimidated by our advance and soon began to fall back.  They rallied again before reaching the Mission, hoping to prevent us from securing shelter there.  Here we had a sharp encounter but we soon succeeded in reaching the Mission walls when the firing ceased, for night was upon us.  The Spanish-Californians withdrew to the westward about two miles, and made camp.  That night I was on picket guard, stationed far out in the direction of the enemy's camp.  I heard a horseman approaching.  On his coming closer I discovered that he was waving a white flag of truce.  I marched him to our commander's quarters.  He brought a message from Sanchez asking for a suspension of hostilities for a few days.  In reply Commander Marston sent a message back that he, with his interpreter, would meet Commander Sanchez at an elevated point about halfway between the two camps.  At this interview our commander peremptorily demanded a surrender of all their arms, munitions and prisoners, and demanded that their commander should go with us to Yerba Buena, and there signed an agreement not to take up arms again during the war now pending between Mexico and United States.  This agreement was signed.  The surrender was conducted in the following manner: Our forces, one hundred in number, were formed in line, the cannon placed in the center with a small United States flag waving over it.  The hostile forces, numbering about four hundred, were marched up in double column in front of the cannon and filed off on each side and dismounted.  Emigrant wagons drawn by oxen started from each end, and passed in front of the line.  The Spanish-Californians' arms were received by the proper officer and placed in our wagons.  The prisoners were now pasted over into our line, headed by Alcalde Bartlett, amid shouts and cheers.  The arms were sent to the Embarcadero of San Jose (now called Alviso) and were shipped on a man-of-war launched to Yerba Buena.  The horses and men were liberated.  Captain Weber returned to San Jose with his men.  The marines and the military men went to the Embarcadero of San Jose and returned to Yerba Buena by water.  We volunteers returned by land with our Alcalde and his men.  Sanchez returned with us.


Before leaving the Mission of Santa Clara we supplied ourselves with beef and bread and tea, as we had to camp out one night.  All of these provisions we lashed on pack horses that were driven ahead with our loose horses.  Darkness came on as we approached the locality now called Belmont.  Unexpectedly we fell in with a band of wild horses that snorted and took fright at our approach.  Their fright was communicated to our pack  horses and before we could secure them they join the stampede band--pack-horses, meat, bread, and tea, all disappearing from our hungry gaze into the darkness.  We turned up the canyon a few hundred yards where we found plenty of water and there under the noble old trees we made camp for the night, destitute of provisions, but still a laughing, merry, victorious party.  Early the next morning we broke camp and at San Mateo we breakfasted on fresh beef slaughtered for the occasion.  Upon our arrival at the Marine Barracks at Yerba Buena we were received with great rejoicing.  With military music the band from the vessel welcomed the return of our Alcalde.




The Story of the First Wharf in San Francisco

Bay as told by William S. Clark


Yerba Buena in 1847 began to assume some life.  Early in that year under Alcalde Bartlett the town took the name of the Bay--San Francisco.  Yerba Buena had been originally named under the following circumstances: There lived in the locality a widow named Juana Briones, who gathered herbs on Telegraph Hill from which she concocted a very palatable tea.  The local territorial officers in making their periodical excursions to the Embarcadero always partook freely of this delicious beverage--yerba buena, or "good herb" tea.  Hence the name Yerba Buena was given to the locality.


I was firmly convinced that California at the end of the war would be ceded to the United States, hence I saw the importance of the site of San Francisco.  Its location on the bay made its superior to all the other towns on the Coast as a commercial point.  Therefore I proceeded at once to make permanent improvements.  I first looked around for building materials, as I desire to construct a warehouse and a wharf.  There were no materials at hand hence I was obligated to cross the bay to a stretch of timber land lying north of Angel Island on the mainland.  There I cut down trees and prepared the lumber and piles necessary for such structures.  I was occupied for about two months on this work in the redwoods.  I succeeded in engaging a launch from General Sutter to convey the lumber to Clark's Point at the foot of Broadway Street, and there I immediately began the construction of my warehouse.  After the land was surveyed I was able to obtain legal title by securing an alcalde grant to the lot at Clark's Point, where I had already built my cabin and was living.


In the construction of my wharf a great difficulty presented itself.  I had no pile driver, and no suitable material was at hand out of which to make one.  No pile driver had ever been used in the vicinity of San Francisco Bay before this date.  But necessity being the mother of invention and circumstances favoring my plans, I found on visiting a whale ship anchored at Sausalito on the opposite side of the bay that it was ballasted with pig-iron.  I got some blocks of this pig-iron, and binding the pieces together with iron straps, I made a hammer of about twelve hundred pounds weight, which answered the purpose of the pile driver.  As for machinery, my raising apparatus was a gin or windlass power worked by two men.  Khis windlass I obtained from the salvage of a wrecked vessel; I paid one hundred dollars for it.  My assistants, a carpenter and a blacksmith, had never seen a pile driver in operation; hence some of difficulty was encountered in getting it in the proper working order.  With this crude machinery and with the assistance of these rough workmen, I proceeded with the construction of my wharf to the extent of one hundred fifty feet.  It was the first wharf built on piles on the Pacific Coast north of Panama.  Before the wharf had been planked and finished the brig Belfast from New York, loaded with merchandise, DeWitt and Harrison, owners, hauled up alongside and discharged her cargo; this was the first vessel docked at a wharf in the harbor of San Francisco.


The weekly Californian of September 23, 1848, under the heading "Marine Intelligence, Port of San Francisco", announced:


ARRIVED--September 22nd, brig Belfast, (Jorden) 163 days from New York.


In Editorial paragraph September 30, 1848, the weekly Californian announced:



An era in history of California has occurred since our last publication, which we lose no time in placing upon record.  The event to which we allude is no less than the appearance of a square rigged vessel, the brig Belfast from New York, at the wharf at the foot of Broadway, actually fast to and lying peacefully alongside the said wharf, the like of which we believe that venerated individual "the oldest inhabitant" has no recollection of ever beholding before in San Francisco, or even in any part of the Territory.  We have been credibly informed that as soon as the Belfast was seen lying at the wharf, foot of Broadway, and discharging her cargo, goods fell 25 per cent and real estate rose 50 to 100 per cent.


When Pioneer Clark began his work on the shore of San Francisco Bay there was no piled ship-wharf on the whole Pacific Coast North of Panama.  That enormous body of water, the Bay of San Francisco, lay idle, unvexed by man.  An occasional Indian craft ventured to cross from the "Contra Costa shore," as the Spaniards called it, to the peninsula tip where lay the primitive boat-landing of Yerba Buena.  Standing on the rocky point which jutted out into the bay Pioneer Clark looked south to another point--Rincon Point--across the tidal marsh.  There was little sign of life before him, save for the gulls that flew across the cove.  That was all most men saw--the vast bay, the uninhabited islands, the encircling and mountains, the lesser bays into which great rivers ran, the flapping sea-birds with their raucous cries.  Yet Pioneer Clark had vision, he saw more.  He saw a city rising out of the sea of mud, towering into the sea of mist and fog.  He saw great fleets of ships replacing the Indians' craft.  He saw scores wharves and docks lining the great bay, where other men saw only mud and see gulls.  He had slowly crossed by covered wagon the wide continent, on the eastern side of which he was born.  He had traversed it from north to south, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf.  And now he had crossed it from the east to the west.  He could go no further under the American flag, and he stopped at this point of rocks--his point--Clark's Point--for he bought it from the government and other men gave it his name.



The Wharf at Clark's Point described by

Artists and Writers


Toward the end of 1848, and English artist, William Redmond Ryan, in search for adventure under balmy skies, arrived in California by way of Panama.  After spending the early part of the winter in the vicinity of Monterey he took passage on a brig bound for San Francisco, and thus described his landing at Clark's Point:


"The landing place appeared to have been constructed less for the convenience of foot-passengers then to afford facilities for the disembarkation of luggage and goods from on board the vessels, for which purpose it stretches out a great distance into the water, being a kind of platform upheld by ponderous wooden pillars.  On landing I had to clamber up a steep hill, on the top of which and opposite to where I stood, was a large wooden house, two stories high, and scarcely half finished.  In the rear of this rose another and steeper hill, whose slopes were covered with a multitude of tents.  To my right ran a sort of steep, or precipice, defended by sundry pieces of cannon, which commanded the entrance to the harbor.  I next came to the Point, and crossing it, found myself within the town."


This description of Telegraph Hill is unmistakable and the sundry pieces of cannon spoken of are the five cannon guns which were brought ashore to a few days after the American flag had been raised over Yerba Buena.  With the help of sailors from his ship, Lieutenant Misroon had leveled off a narrow terrace on the bluff north of Clark's Point, and fair he placed the guns, pointing out toward the bay whence  hostile ships might approach to attack the town.  It was this imposing battery of guns which gave the name to Battery Street.


To an Englishman the construction of a wharf on piles running out into the bay was a somewhat novel idea.  The English seem to favorite docks indented into the shoreline, while Americans build wharves running out into the water.  An American would never have thought of describing a wharf built on piles as "a platform upheld by ponderous wooden pillars."


In July, 1849, San Francisco Bay was full of of ships.  Five hundred square-rigged vessels lay in the harbor, wrote a contemporaneous scribe; and there was but one wharf, the Broadway wharf, to accommodate this fleet.


An artist sent by the London Times to report the gold discovery in California, was impressed by the vastness of San Francisco Bay.  "A channel five miles long," he said "bearing for a pompous name of the Golden Gate, forms the entrance to the Bay of San Francisco.  At its extremity is San Francisco, facing, not a harbor or a lake, but a Mediterranean in miniature.  The Bay of San Francisco will easily contain all the fleets of the world.  The town is built upon a hill, the houses reaching nearly to its summit.  You land without difficulty upon a pier at the foot of the old Spanish fort."


Here again an artist speaks of landing at the Broadway wharf built by William S. Clark.  This was the only wharf, or pier, at that time.  The battery of guns on the bluff overlooking Clark's Point, to an artist’s eye, assumed the dimensions of a fort.


One of the narratives concerning early California which attracted much attention in its day was "El Dorado," by Bayard Taylor, then a clever young writer on the New York Tribune.  On July 28, 1849, Bayard Taylor, with notebook and pencil, left New York by steamer, down for the Pacific Coast, and fifty-one days thereafter, he says, he arrived at anchorage in Yerba Buena Cove.


Thus he describes the appearance of the San Francisco waterfront on August 18, 1849, when he left his steamer, the Panama, in one of the boats of United States ship Ohio, in company with Lieutenant Edward F. Beale: "the Ohio's boat put us ashore at the northern point of the anchorage at the foot of a steep bank, from which a high pier had been built into the bay.  A large vessel lay at the end, discharging her cargo.  We scramble up through the piles of luggage.  The barren side of the hill before us was covered with tents and canvas houses, and nearly in front a large two-story building displayed the sign: 'Fremont Family Hotel'."


The high pier at the foot of the steep bank up which Bayard Taylor scrambled was the Broadway wharf at Clark's Point.  His companion Lieutenant Edward F. Beale, U.S.N., was subsequently surveyor general and for many years a resident of California.  For him Beale Street, near the waterfront was named.


The rarer old lithograph entitled "the port of San Francisco June 1st 1849," showing the wharf at Clark's Point, it is from an original drawings by George H. Baker, made for the New York Tribune, and published in the that paper' s issue of August 28, 1849.  About two hundred vessels were then detained in port, their crews having left for the mines.


When William S. Clark began driving piles for his wharf at Clark's Point on the waterfront of San Francisco, there was no other wharf on the California Coast.  There were no piles on which to lay its beams.  There were no timbers out of which to construct its floors.  There was no pile driver with which to drive its piles.  So Pioneer Clark crossed the bay, felled great trees for his piles, sawed logs into lumber for his floors, and floated all the material to Clark's Point.  He built a pile driver out of trees he had sawed into lumber, and out of ballast pig-iron he fashioned a mighty hammer.  And his wharf went on. His wharf was the first structure in San Francisco Bay, and it was builted out of trees that grew on its own shores.


Not long after Pioneer Clark had began to build his wharf other men began to talk of bridging the bay.  Cities were going up on both sides of it.  The talk went on for three-quarters of a century.  Finally the first bridge was built across the southern bay.  It has been followed by others, until in 1937 there are five bridges, including the colossal span across the Golden Gate.


During the first five months after the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, on November 12, 1936, over three and a half million vehicles crossed it.  The tolls have amounted to more than four hundred thousand dollars a month.  There is no pedestrian way over this bridge.


The thirty-five million-dollar Golden Gate Bridge, on the other hand, has been provided with two sidewalks, each ten and a half feet wide, one on either side of the sixty-foot roadway for vehicles.


Following naval maneuvers in Pacific waters, a huge fleet of United States vessels entered the Golden Gate to be in San Francisco Bay for the opening of this gigantic span on May 27, 1937.


The appearance in San Francisco harbor of the United States battleship fleet is a sight that no one has seen it can ever forget.  The advent of the fleet is announced by flights of airplanes.  Following the airplanes usually come the fast the destroyers and dispatch boats.  Then the majestic battleships enter the port in single file.  They preserve their specific intervals as they round the city's shore line and as each one approaches its berth in man-of-war row it leaves the line and takes its position.  After the battleships follow the cruisers, the destroyers, the submarines, the airplane carriers, the hospital ships.  The air overhead is full of airplanes.  This great procession is conducted in silence, for salutes between the ships and the forts on the shore are suspended by order.  It is early in the morning when the first airplane roars over the Golden Gate, and late in the afternoon when the last ship has taken her place in man-of-war row.  As the whaleboats and the clipper ships were the forerunners of these leviathans of the sea, so was the little wharf at Clark's Point in 1847 the predecessor, the pioneer, of these gigantic engineering feats, the colossal bridges that span the San Francisco Bay today.


In 1847 William S. Clark was also the active member of San Francisco's first town council in the matter of building a schoolhouse.  The contract was let to Daniel Stark, a house builder, for $851.  Additional items such as painting, hauling, and building a chimney, brought up the total cost to $1,117.60, according to the entries in the Town Journal.  At a meeting of the town council William S. Clark made a motion that $400 be appropriated toward the teacher salary.  And thus the school was launched.  For a few weeks it prospered; then it was suddenly suspended when the general hegira to the mines began.  Even the weekly newspaper suspended publication while editors, printers, subscribers, readers, the schoolmaster, and town council men, all rushed off to the mines.


General William T. Sherman, in his "Memoirs" (volume I, page 80), tells about making an inspection trip to the gold mines with Colonel Mason in the summer of 1848.  He says: "Clark of Clark's Point was there...I remember that Mr. Clark was in camp talking to Colonel Mason about matters and things generally, when he inquired, 'Governor, what business has Sam Brannan to collect the tithes here?' "This question of Clark's put an end to the collection of tithes from the miners by the head of the Mormon Church.


William S. Clark was one of the founders of the Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, and for many years a trustee.  Clark Street, near the waterfront, was named for him.  He died November 16, 1889, and lies buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery with his wife, Alice Ann, and son, William Squire Clark.


William S. Clark and William A. Leidesdorff were the only members of the first elected town council who were buried in San Francisco.  William A. Leidesdorff, for whom Leidesdorff Street was named, served as treasurer, and kept the Town Journal in his own handwriting.  A facsimile reproduction of this old account book was recently published by Albert Dressler.  In 1845, Leidesdorff was appointed by Thomas O. Larkin vice-consul of United States, stationed at Yerba Buena.  Leidesdorff died suddenly of brain fever May 18, 1848, at thirty-eight years of age.  After an imposing funeral he was buried at Mission Dolores.  His grave is underneath the church floor, with many other graves, unmarked.


Many of San Francisco's earlier Great lie peacefully--and there seems to be no thought of disturbing them--in Mission Dolores churchyard.  On a massive shaft there, the visitor reads this inscription:









EL 21 DE JUNIO 1784


EL 27 DE MARZO 1830




Don Luis Antonio Arguello, California's Governor from 1822 to 1825, under the Mexican government, was for twenty-four years commandante of San Francisco.  The words of the inscription on his monument at Mission Dolores are in Spanish: "Here lies the body of Captain Don Luis Antonio Arguello, First Governor of Upper California under the Mexican government; born in San Francisco the 21st of June 1784, and died in the same place the 27th of March 1830."  His wife Rafaela was a daughter of acting commandante Hermenegildo Sal.  His sister, the beautiful Dona Concepcion, was born about 1790, and died in the Dominican Convent at Benicia, whither she retired on hearing that her lover Count von Rezanof, the Russian, envoy of the mighty Czar, was dead.  The story of her sad life will live in Bret Harte’s poem; few San Franciscans can ever forget it.  These children of Don Jose Arguello, for whom Arguello Boulevard was named, were among the many white children born in San Francisco before the conquest of the California territory by the United States.


Thomas O. Larkin, most prominent among the American merchants on the Pacific Coast in 1844, was appointed United States Consul for California, and was later appointed by the President naval agent for the northwest coast of America.  He was born in Charleston, Massachusetts, September 16, 1802; he sailed from Boston for the California coast by way of the Sandwich Islands, arriving at the port of San Francisco in April, 1832.  He went at once to Monterey, where he remained until after the conquest.  As it seemed impossible at that time for a Protestant marriage to be celebrated ashore, he was married on board a vessel under the American flag.  Larkin was energetic, faithful, and tactful in the discharge of his duties and in his social relations.  He did much to maintain friendly relations with the Spanish-Californians, whose allegiance to the American flag he was convinced could be one without bloodshed.  In September, 1849, Thomas O. Larkin served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and the following year with his family went east for a long visit.  He returned to California after three years' absence and took up his residence in San Francisco.  He died October 27, 1854, and was buried first at Lone Mountain.  Larkin Street was named for him.  His son Alfred O. Larkin, died January 21, 1917.


One of the large, a old-fashioned, fenced plots at Laurel Hill, with flowers and rare plants and many quaint old marble headstones, stands in the name of Colonel Jonathan Drake Stevenson, who was born in New York City January 1, 1800, and died in San Francisco February 14, 1894.  He was twice married.  Stevenson Street was named for him.  By President Polk he was given command of a volunteer regiment, which he raised himself, for service in California, and in three transports the regiment arrived in San Francisco Bay in March, 1847.  Many of the man who came out with Stevenson's Regiment became prominent citizens; several were delegates to the Constitutional Convention at Monterey in September, 1849.  Among fees was William E. Shannon, who made the motion in the convention that Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crime, shall ever be tolerated in this State.  This section was adopted by the unanimous vote of all the delegates.


Robert C. Rogers, whose ashes were brought to Lone Mountain, was a midshipsman in the United States Navy in his youth.  During the Mexican War he was captured at Vera Cruz and sent to Mexico City, where he was sentenced to be hanged as a spy.  He made his escape, and eventually came to California.  From 1878 to 1880 he was president of the Bohemian Club.  "My Wife" is the only inscription on the white marble sarcophagus in his family plot.


Imanuel Charles Christian Russ, who was born March 10, 1785, and died June 4, 1857, was founder of the Russ House on Montgomery Street, and of the Russ Gardens on Sixth and Harrison streets, a favorite resort of the pioneers.  He came to California on the Loo Choo with Colonel Stevenson's Regiment, bringing his wife and nine children.  His sons became prominent members of the Society of California Pioneers.


Captain David Scannell, chief of the San Francisco Fire Department, came to California to remain, in 1850.  He was Captain of the New York company in the War with Mexico, and took part in many engagements from the Rio Grande to Mexico City.  He was sheriff of San Francisco when the Vigilantes went to the jail and demanded the surrender of Casey and Cora.  His resting place is at Laurel Hill among his comrades.


Richard Realf (1834-1878) was a poet of rare genius, who fell, according to his last poem," with the word' failure' written on his brow."  His best-known poem, "De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum," was said to have been written on the night of his suicide.  At the time of his death he was employed at San Francisco Mint as a laborer, pending his application for a clerkship.  Realf served through the Civil War, part of the time on the staff of General John F. Miller, and he was buried with military honors in the Grand Army plot of Odd Fellows Cemetery.  For more than fifty years a headstone mark his grave.


In the plot adjoining Richard Realf's, stood the monument of John C. Cremony (1815-1879), Major of the California Volunteer Cavalry organized in 1863.  After the Civil War, Major Cremony made his home in San Francisco.  In 1868 his residence was at 747 Harrison Street.  He was a charter member of the Bohemian Club, and was well known as a contributor to the early volumes of the Overland Monthly.  His "Life Among the Apaches," published in San Francisco in 1868, is an authoritative work on the southwest tribes of Indians.  Creamony was an Indian fighter, and at times he used to tell some tall stories.  Once in telling of his escape from a group of bad Indians he said he had to swim a stream.  He hastily shed all his clothes, dropped them on the bank, and took to the water.  He struck out with strong strokes and soon reached the other side.  But as he climbed up on the bank he found himself confronted by another hostile redskin.  "And do you know what he did?"  he asked. "I drew my sword and stabbed him to the heart!"


"But, Colonel," said Uncle George Bromley, "where did you draw your sword from?"  Colonel Creamony did not hesitate an instant.  "Bromley," he replied, severely, "no one but a damn fool would ask that question."




The air is chill and the hour grows late,

And the clouds come in through the Golden Gate,

Freighted with sorrow, chilled with woe;--

But these shapes that cluster, dark and low,

Tomorrow shall be all aglow.

In the blaze of the coming morn the mists

Whose weight my heart in vain resists,

Will brighten and shine and soar to Heaven

In thin, white robes, like souls forgiven;

For Heaven is kind, and everything,

As well as a Winter, has a Spring.








Dark turned the land line 'twixt the sea and sky;

Gorgeous cloud banners, trailing from on high

Drooped o’er the mottled waters, far below,

While sunk the sun, majestic, solemn, slow.


Down from the zenith dropped the veil of night,

Jewelled with stars, gemmed by the Northern Light.

Up from the nadir crept the evening gray;

Pale grew the waters of peaceful bay.


Belted like Saturn, girt with bands of gray,

The sun sunk ever, while the dying day

Quivered, then perished, and the fading light

Kissed Yerba Buena--kissed the isle "good-night."










Woodworth & Clark Monuments

© 2003 Nancy Pratt Melton

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