Emperor Norton I


A reported thirty thousand San Franciscans attended his first funeral. But more than fifty years later, there was another. In 1934, when the still growing city engulfed the Masonic Cemetery, the Emperor’s remains were dug up and reburied at Woodlawn. Norton remained so alive in the imagination of his city even then that Mayor Angelo J. Rossi placed a wreath on the grave, the municipal band played, and the Third Batallion, iSgth Infantry, fired three volleys. A fine granite monument was set in place; it read: NORTON I, EMPEROR OF THE UNITED STATES, PROTECTOR OF MEXICO, JOSHUA A. NORTON 1819-1880. And as one historian has noted, there were no quotation marks around the inscription.