The Emperor's Bridge Campaign

TO HONOR THE LIFE + ADVANCE THE LEGACY OF EMPEROR NORTON

RESEARCH • EDUCATION • ADVOCACY

Filtering by Tag: coroner

Lockhart & Porter, Undertakers and Casket Makers to the Emperor in 1880

The two book-length biographies of Emperor Norton, published in 1939 and 1986, mention “the undertakers” and “the undertaking rooms.” But, a blind spot in Norton studies has been that there was a specific firm — with a name and an address — that provided funeral and burial services for the Emperor, including manufacturing the oft-mentioned rosewood and silver-trimmed casket.

We know that the Emperor’s old friend, James G. Eastland, and friends of Eastland’s at the Pacific Club raised the money and made the arrangements — but, rarely mentioned is who was on the other side of the contract.

The obituaries didn’t name the firm. And, the name appears to have been mentioned only a couple of times by later writers — in 1946 and again in 1974. But, even these were only passing mentions.

Here, we rescue from obscurity the name and the early history of a business that played a crucial role in giving Emperor Norton a fitting farewell.

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Chief Crowley Releases a Sword

On 16 February 1880 — a little more than a month after Emperor Norton’s death on 8 January — the San Francisco Board of Supervisors conveyed the Emperor’s main personal effects to the Society of California Pioneers.

San Francisco Police Chief Patrick Crowley, who famously had released the Emperor from jail in January 1867 — the morning after an overzealous member of the police auxiliary had falsely arrested the Emperor on bogus charges of vagrancy and lunacy — had one more item to add to the Pioneers’ new collection of Imperial artifacts.

The Police Department had been holding on to it for 15 years.

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