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The United States Senators whose Monuments and

Inscriptions are found in Laurel Hill Cemetery




Born in England, February 2, 1811.  Killed while leading the forlorn hope at the battle of Ball' s Bluff, Virginia, October 21, 1861.  At the time of his death he was United States Senator from Oregon and through holding an appointment as Major General, was acting as Colonel commanding a brigade of United States forces enlisted and organized by himself.





Mechanic: Senator: Born Washington, D.C., February 4, 1820









May 23, 1827-14, 1882





September 17, 1827-August 14, 1887

Printer: Lawyer: Senator: Minister-Plenipotentiary






October 8, 1805-September 3, 1885
















August 9, 1827-April 23, 1909





January 9, 1820-November 13, 1885





December 3, 1831-December 24, 1894





Lone Mountain




Eleven United States Senators



Under the most conspicuous monument in Laurel Hill lies the body of David C. Broderick, who was elected United States Senator from California in 1857.  Tradition says that Broderick once worked as stone cutter on the Capital where he afterwards sat as a legislator.  In the life of this man who was aided a laborer's son, yet to climb to the exalted position of United States Senator, there was written a story of achievement.  He worked his way up unaided, until he became United States Senator from California.  But his term in the Senate was not long.  As a result of a quadrangular quarrel involving Broderick, Gwin, Terry, and Perley, the fates brought about a duel between Broderick and Terry in which Broderick fell.  He was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery September 18, 1859.


At Senator Broderick's funeral service, held in the plaza, Colonel E. D. Baker made one of his impassioned speeches.  Broderick was his friend.  He quoted Broderick's own words when he fell on the duelling field: "I die because I was opposed to a corrupt administration, and to the extension of slavery."  Baker said his friend had fallen "tangled in the meshes of the code of honor."  He dwelt upon the horrors of duelling.  He said: "The code of honor is a delusion and a snare...The protest is written in indelible characters.  It is written in the blood of Gilbert, in the blood of Ferguson, in the blood of Broderick."  After Broderick's death Judge Terry was arrested by police officer I. W. Lees, who now also rests at Laurel Hill.  The case was set for trial in Marin County; the witnesses' boat was delayed on the trip across the bay and did not arrive at the hour set, and the case of the People against Judge David S. Terry for the killing of Senator David C. Broderick was dismissed.


Broderick left an estate appraised at a quarter of a million, largely the result of wise real estate investments.  He was a single man with no near relatives, and as no will was found in California the Court appointed a special administrator.  Subsequently a will was produced in New York City, and for more than fifteen years the Broderick will case occupied the courts.  Thomas H. Williams, Gregory Yale, and other attorneys now buried at Laurel Hill and were engaged in the controversy.


Edward Dickinson Baker was born in England February 2, 1811.  When he was five years old his parents came to Philadelphia to make their home; they belong to the Society of Friends.  At seventeen Baker went to Illinois.  At twenty-one he had fought in the Black Hawk War and obtained a Major's commission.  Of himself he said: "my real forte is my power to command, to rule and lead men.  I feel that I could lead men anywhere."  But Baker's friends thought his special talent lay in his gift of oratory.


In the political field Baker speedily came into prominence in Illinois as a leader of the Whigs.  The proposed construction of a transcontinental railway was a project very dear to his heart.  While he was in the United States Congress, representing the Springfield, Illinois, district, war with Mexico was declared.  Without resigning his seat in Congress, he hastened back to Illinois, obtained a Colonel's commission, and raised a regiment which was excepted by President Polk and sent to the front.  In the fighting near Mexico City, at the head of the 4th Illinois Regiment, he won distinction, and at the close of the war State of Illinois presented him with the sword.


In 1852 Baker came to California.  Here he soon became known for his charm of speech as well as for his ability as a lawyer.  One of his most famous addresses was that delivered on the completion of the Atlantic cable, September 27, 1858.  "Thought has bridged the Atlantic," he said, "and cleaves its unfettered path across the sea."


On May 30, 1854, Lone Mountain was dedicated as a cemetery, and Colonel E. D. Baker delivered the dedication address to the people of San Francisco.  "In a tender and thrilling speech," said Rev. Thomas Starr King some seven years later, "Colonel Baker devoted this cemetery to its hallowed purpose."  He dwelt upon the great fact of immortality, and said: "The truth peals like thunder in our ears—thou shalt live forever!”  The keynote of his theme was the idea that in this peaceful spot the pioneers would rest forever.


In 1859, in California, Baker ran for the United States Senate, but was defeated.  When he had been retained to defend Charles Cora, who shot United States Marshall Richardson, his closing argument so greatly impressed the jury--in spite of the loudly voiced verdict of the press, that the homicide was murder--that the jury were unable to agree upon a verdict.  Two stood for acquittal, six for manslaughter, and only four for murder in the first degree.  But before the date set for a second trial both Casey and Cora were taken from the jail by the Vigilance Committee tried and convicted by them, and hanged.  In the course of this speech before Judge Hager and the jury, Colonel Baker defended his stand in a tribute to the legal profession:


"The profession to which we belong," he said, "is of all others, fearless of public opinion.  It has ever stood up against the tyranny of monarchs on the one hand, and the tyranny of public opinion on the other; and if, as the humblest among them, it becomes me to instance myself, I may say with a bold heart, and I do say it with a bold heart, but there is not in all this world a wretch so humble, so guilty, so despairing, so torn with avenging furies, so pursued by the arm of the law, so hunted to cities of refuge, so fearful of life, so afraid of death--there is no wretch so steeped in all the agonies of vice and crime, that I would not have a heart to listen to his cry, and a time to speak in his defense, though around his head all the wrath of public opinion should gather, and rage, and roar, and roll, as the oceans roll around the rock.  And if I ever forget, if I ever deny, that highest duty of my profession, may God palsy this arm and hush my voice forever."


When Baker was defeated for the United States Senate in California he moved to Oregon, where he was at once elected to fill an unexpired term.  In route to Washington he stopped over in San Francisco and delivered a political speech on October 26, 1860.  "We are running a man now by the name of Lincoln," he said.  "He is an honest, good, simple-minded, true man, who is a hero without knowing it.  If he recommends a railroad -- and he will --he won't twaddle about it."  This pleased the people of California, for the Western States at that time were becoming more and more eager to obtain an appropriation from Congress for the completion of the proposed Pacific Railroad, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast.  It was on the occasion of this political speech that Baker won aloud and long applause when he uttered his oft-quoted words: "Long years ago, I took my stand by Freedom, and where in youth my feet were planted, there my manhood and my age shall march."


The Civil War came on.  Baker left his seat in United States Senate, raised a regiment in Illinois, and went again to the front.  In his first fight, and Bull's Bluff, Virginia, October 21, 1861, he fell.  In 1861 the transcontinental telegraph had just been completed, and the melancholy news of Baker's death in Virginia was sent by telegraph to San Francisco.  The message was read by Junius Brutus Booth, from the stage of the American Theater, and was received by the audience with a demonstration of genuine grief.


On a day of President Lincoln's inauguration in Washington, in the east portico of the unfinished Capitol, it was Colonel E. D. Baker, then Senator from Oregon, who introduced Lincoln to the audience.  A warm friendship existed between President Lincoln and Colonel Baker, and President Lincoln's second son, born in 1846, was named Edward Baker Lincoln.


Colonel Baker had three brothers, who remained in Illinois.  There was one sister, born in Philadelphia, who died in Sausalito, California, at the age of seventy-three.  She was the wife of Theodora Jerome, a California pioneer of 1849.  Both are buried at Laurel Hill.  His son, Edward Baker Jerome, was for many years chief deputy collector of customs at San Francisco.  He died in Oakland in 1902.  Colonel Baker's son Alfred, a lieutenant and aid to his father at Ball's Bluff, was a clerk in the San Francisco Postoffice for a number of years.  He never married.


Not far from the grave of Senator Baker stands the stately monument erected by Milton S. Latham, United States Senator from California.  Elected Governor of California in the fall of 1859 he served for five days only and then resigned to fill the office of United States Senator, left vacant by the death of Broderick.  At the expiration of his three years' term in United States Senate he went to London, where he interested men of capital in the establishment of the London and San Francisco Bank, of which he served as president for many years.


California's first United States Senators were John C. Fremont, who drew through short-term, and William M. Gwin, who served from 1852 to 1855 and was re-elected in 1857.  William McKendree Gwin was born in Sumner County, Tennessee.  He died in New York City, and was first buried at Laurel Hill.


**Prior to coming to California in 1849 he lived for a time in New Orleans, where he was engaged in superintending the construction of the new custom house.  He was twice married; two daughters and a son survive him.  At twenty-three he had taken a degree in medicine, and from that time throughout his long life as a politician he was generally called Dr. Gwin.  In his later years he was also known as "Duke Gwin of Sonora," although his colonization plan, which had taken him twice to Mexico, and also to France to confer with Napoleon, was a failure.


Dr. Gwin was one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention which met at Monterey September, 1849, to frame California's first Constitution.


Only seven days after the convention had begun its deliberations, the article prohibiting slavery in the new state was adopted by a unanimous vote.  Earlier in the year in Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, and even in the mining districts, antislavery meetings had been held by the pioneers with the end in view of instructing their representatives to the Provisional Government Convention to oppose any incipient act that tends to promote the introduction of Negro slavery into the Territory of California.


The anti-slavery meetings in San Francisco had been presided over by Capt. Joseph L. Folsom and William S. Clark, and the proceedings were reported in the Alta California (March 22, 1849) by Edward Gilbert.  The graves of these three men were also at Laurel Hill.


James A. McDougall was elected United States Senator from California by a combination of Republicans and Douglas Democrats.  He had a natural bent for engineering and his first work as a boy was to help in the survey of the railroad between Albany and Schenectady, but he soon turned his attention to the study of law.  During ten years spent in law practice in Illinois he became the warm friend of Colonel E. D. Baker.  They were associated in the trial of Charles Cora, who killed United States Marshal William H. Richardson November 17, 1855.


Soon after the discovery of gold McDougall brought his family to California.  October 7, 1850, he was elected attorney-general of the State; in 1852 he was elected a member of the lower house of Congress, where he was able to urge the construction of a Pacific railroad with the practical knowledge of engineering he had acquired as a boy.  In San Francisco the McDougall family resided at 40 South Park.  McDougall' s law partners were Solomon A. Sharp and Reuben H. Lloyd.  On the date of Colonel Baker's funeral at Laurel Hill Cemetery, December 11, 1861, Senator McDougall delivered an address in the Senate Chamber on the subject of his friend's accomplishments and untimely death.  He said of Baker: "He was an orator...he was a leader...he loved fame, glory, honorable renown.  He thirsted for it with an ardent thirst, and did Cicero and Caesar."


At the expiration of his term in the Senate, March 4, 1867, it was General McDougall's intention to return to California and take up his law practice again on the Pacific Coast; but he died while visiting at the home of his sister, Mrs. Campbell, in Albany, New York, September 3, 1867.  His death, wrote his friend Oscar Shuck, "was hastened by his indulgence in the bowl..."


A letter written to a friend in San Francisco by Senator Cornelius Cole, who attended Senator McDougall's funeral in Albany, explains why McDougall was buried at Lone Mountain Cemetery and San Francisco.


Albany, September 6, 1867.

...Senator McDougall died at the house where he was brought up.  I saw him they are two weeks ago and he was thin prostrate and did not know me at first.  He took me for the doctor....Mrs. McDougall says it was his wish often expressed to be buried at Lone Mountain where he provided a family vault in which to rest the remains of an only son.  Only a few days before, he had alluded often to his poor boy as sleeping alone on the distant Pacific shore...


On Sunday afternoon, May 24, 1868, funeral services for Senator James A. McDougall were held at Grace Church, San Francisco.  "The attendance at the church was large," said the Morning Call of Tuesday, "proving that time and absence had not weakened the respect, esteem and memory of the friends and acquaintances of the talented and noble-hearted departed.  He was buried under the auspices of Mt. Moriah Lodge of Masons, of which order he was an old and high-ranking member..."in the family vault at Laurel Hill all that was mortal of Senator James A. McDougall was laid to rest beside the casket of his son, James A. McDougall, Jr., who died April 26, 1855, at two years of age.


A white marble tomb at Laurel Hill marks the resting place of Aaron Augustus Sargent.  A California pioneer of '49, he first engaged in mining; later served as district attorney, and took an active part in the formation of the Republican party.  Elected United States Senator in 1871, he labored for California for many years.  He had been a representative in the House in 1861 and in 1868; he once wrote a history of the bar of Nevada County; in 1882 he was appointed minister to Germany.  Aaron M. Sargent, son of the late George Clark Sargent, is his grandson.


General John F. Miller, born in Indiana in 1831, was a California pioneer of '53, and was elected United States Senator from California in 1881.  He served in the Union Army from 1861 to 1865.  He was collector of the port in San Francisco for four years, and president of the Alaska Commercial Company.  He was first buried at Laurel Hill, but when his daughter, wife of a Rear-Admiral Richardson Clover, went to reside in Washington D.C., his body was removed from Laurel Hill to Arlington National Cemetery.  His monument still stands at Laurel Hill.


One of the United States Senators from Nevada, whose home was in California for many years, was Senator John Percival Jones.  He arrived at San Francisco by way of Cape Horn in 1850.  On the bark Eureka he was made the entire trip from his home in Cleveland, Ohio, to California, through the Great Lakes, the Welland Canal, down the St. Lawrence River, across the Atlantic, around Cape Horn and up the Pacific Coast to San Francisco Bay.  He served in the California State Legislature from 1863 to 1867.  He was elected United States Senator from Nevada in 1873 and was re-elected in 1879.  He was born in England; he was twice married.  Mrs. Frederick Mac Monies, wife of the sculptor, and Mrs. Robert Farquhar are his daughters.  He died November 27, 1912, and his ashes were placed in the costly vault of Colfax marble which he had erected in Lone Mountain Cemetery some fifty years before his death.


The ashes of William Morris Stewart, another United States Senator from Nevada, were also brought to Laurel Hill Cemetery for burial in his family plot.  His boyhood was spent in helping to clear his father's farm in Ohio, but his education was not neglected.  He entered Yale, and remained in college until the gold rush brought him to California.  He arrived in San Francisco by way of Panama, in May, 1850, and after digging for gold for a time he began the study of law.  He was first elected United States Senator in 1864, and was re-elected in 1869 in 1886, and in 1892, and in 1898.  Oscar T. Shuck was his law clerk during the period when he was one of the leading operators of the Comstock and was also investing largely in San Francisco real estate.  Of his printed argument in the Sharon will case Oscar Shuck said: "it reads like a novel and is well worth pursuing, not only for the argument, but for its humorous and racy style."


William M. Stewart was one of the original trustees of Stanford University, named in the founding grant November 11, 1885; he resigned in 1904.  His daughter, Bessie, married Richard C. Hooker, lieutenant in the United States Navy.  Their infant son, who died in 1878, is buried in the family plot at Laurel Hill.  On residing from the Navy, Hooker became a stockbroker.  It may not be said that Stewart Street in San Francisco was named for Senator Stewart.  There was a William M. Stewart (also spelled Steuart) who came to California on the Ohio; made a trip to the mines with Walter Colton; with a member of the ayuntamiento in 1849-50, and served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Monterey in September, 1849.  It was for him that Steuart Street was named.


A massive table-tomb at Laurel Hill marks the grave of William Sharon, who was born in Ohio and died in San Francisco.  He was generally spoken of as a Californian although he was United States Senator from Nevada from 1875 to 1881.  William C. Ralston, who was born January 11, 1826, and died August 27, 1875, was associated with Sharon in many enterprises.  In 1864 he organized the Bank of California, of which he remained president until the day of its failure and of his tragic death.  Of Ralston, Bancroft wrote: "Pity, sympathy and gratitude took him tenderly and laid him gently in Lone Mountain."  The Bank of California was reorganized by D. O. Mills and Sharon, with the help of some forty other capitalists. Sharon took over the Ralston properties, and at Ralston's spacious country estate at Belmont Senator Sharon gave a reception for General Grant and his party in 1878 that has become historic in the annals of the state.


A daughter of William Sharon married United States Senator Francis G. Newlands.  She died in 1883 and was buried at Calvary Cemetery by her mother side.  Newlands and was one of the executors of William Sharon's will, and before the distribution of the estate Park Commissioner Pixley went to the Newlands and asked Newlands to arrange for $25,000 from Senator Sharon's estate to be turned over to the park commissioners for establishment and maintenance of a children's playground in Golden Gate Park.  After considerable urging the matter was arranged, and the Argonaut, edited by Jerome A. Hart, in frequent editorials about children's playgrounds repeatedly gave credit to the Sharon estate for its munificent gift to the children of San Francisco.


Similar to Senator Sharon's table-tomb at Laurel Hill, is the monument which was erected at Arlington in memory of Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the gifted French engineer who came to America with Lafayette to join the American Army at the time of the Revolutionary War.  There is no authentic portrait of him in existence, and he left no descendants; but his map remains, out of which has grown the capital city--"city of magnificent distances"--planned by him more than one hundred thirty years ago. L'Enfant was first employed by President Washington, each time the seat of the Federal Government was removed, to remodel a building for governmental use; and, finally, when Congress decided to build a city on the Potomac, it was L'Enfant who drew the plan-- envisioned the city of Washington as it stands today.  He died forgotten for nearly a century his grave remained unmarked.  But his dream was realized.  The city grew to fit his plan, and today the grave of L'Enfant is marked by a splendid monument at Arlington National Cemetery.


James G. Fair was born in the north of Ireland of Scotch parents.  He was known as the highly successful superintendent of the Ophir mine, the Hale & Norcross, and still larger Consolidated Virginia and California mining properties.  He was chosen in 1880 United States Senator from Nevada to succeed William Sharon.  He served six years, until March 4, 1887, and returned to San Francisco, where he lived at the Lick House until his death.  For many years of the Fair estate was in litigation.  One of the points at issue was to determine the validity of the trust clause contained in his will.  It was decided by the presiding judge, Charles W. Slack, to be invalid.  This decision on appeal was set aside; but on a rehearing the Supreme Court reversed its decision and sustained the decision of Judge Slack.  Under this decree the estate was distributed to the heirs, thus invalidating the trust, in accordance with Judge Slack's original ruling.


In addition to large holdings of real estate and mining properties, there were railroads to be handled, and thousands of tons of wheat, and the involved affairs of the estate of James G. Fair dragged through the courts for many years.  As Fair had succeeded William Sharon in the senatorship, so the litigation in connection with his estate followed the Sharon estate is cases in the California courts.  Senator Fair was first buried in Laurel Hill.  His beautiful mausoleum, crowding a hilltop, in the richness of its ornamentation, in-height and design, recalls that gem of mediaeval Gothic architecture, the Sainte Chapelle of the Palace of Justice in Paris.




© 2003 Nancy Pratt Melton

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