Accounts of Emperor Norton often note that he is the most famous of a larger cast of Public Characters that peopled the streets of San Francisco during his lifetime.
But, with the exception of Frederick Coombs a.k.a. George Washington II, the biographical particulars of these Characters — legal names; dates of birth and death; and exactly when, and for how long, they were in San Francisco — often are left in clouds of ambiguity.
As it happens, one of the most famous Characters mentioned in connection with Emperor Norton didn’t even arrive in San Francisco until three or four years after the Emperor’s death.
Harvested from contemporaneous newspaper accounts, this timeline of five of the Characters most often associated with Emperor Norton — The Money King; George Washington II; The Great Unknown; The King of Pain; and Oofty Goofty — fills in many biographical blanks and finds surprising new details about the careers of these legendary figures.Read More