The United States of America – 1860 – 1875

San Francisco, California, 1870’s

1873 Street Map – This is the San Francisco that Charles and William Barth and their families saw when they moved there.

San Francisco was a booming city.  The gold rush had brought in huge numbers of people with plenty of money to spend.  They left behind a booming economy with much to offer the visitor or resident.  Opera, theatre, saloons, anything one could desire was found there.

Charles and William were master craftsmen who worked as cornice makers and sheet metal workers.  It wasn’t long before Charles started his own sheet metal business, Barth’s Iron Works.  As his sons grew up, he provided training and work for them.  He also trained his nephew Charles Sporman who came all the way from Ohio, stayed two years to learn the trade, and started up his own business when he returned to Ohio.

Cemeteries Previously In San Francisco, California

From the “San Louis Obispo Co. Genealogical Society Quarterly.” Winter 1990. They reported the information was found in the TV schedule sent out by the PBS station in San Francisco.

Until 1850, vacant lots were used to bury bodies or they were left on the beach or under a bush.

1850  City designated 15 acres, one mile out on market Street as the official cemetery, named Yerba Buena Cemetery. (Lasted for 20 years)

1852  An informal burial ground at Second & market Street was closed and the bodies were moved to Yerba Buena Cemetery.

1854  City itself reaching the Yerba Buena Cemetery, so Lone Mountain Cemetery was established, a safe three miles west of downtown. It was later renamed Laurel Hill.

1860  Catholics established the Calvary Cemetery to the east of Lone Mountain Cemetery.

1864  Masonic Cemetery established to the South of Lone Mountain Cemetery.

1865  Odd Fellows Cemetery established to the west of Lone Mountain Cemetery. Lone Mountain Cemetery was surrounded on all sides by burial grounds that were called the Big Four.

– – – Jews moved their bodies from Cow Hollow to two cemeteries near Mission Dolores.

1868  City purchased 200 acres for new cemetery on bluffs above Land’s End.

1860’s to 1870’s  Western addition filled with Italian row houses and Laurel Hill Cemetery was twice reduced for new building sites.

1870  Three thousand bodies were removed from Yerba Buena Cemetery to the new Golden Gate Cemetery.

1870  Yerba Buena Cemetery became more of Market Street. (Lone Mountain Cemeteries were not safe either.)

1880  City prohibited further burials in the Mission Dolores and Jewish Cemeteries.

1880’s  Public outcry for land used up by cemeteries.

1887  Catholics established Holy Cross as the first cemetery in Colma, south of the city line.

1889  Jews followed suit and established Home of Peace to receive bodies from old cemetery. (It was later named Dolores Park.)

1892  Nondenominational cemetery, Cypress Lawn, established between the above two cemeteries by prominent San Francisco businessman.

1901  City supervisors outlawed further burials in city limits.

1909  Supervisors secured consent to use Golden Gate Cemetery as a park. Mausoleums and tombstones were removed and dumped down a convenient ravine at Land’s End. Those bodies not removed were carpeted with the Lincoln Park Golf Course.

1914  Supervisors ordered ALL bodies out of the city.

1920’s  Masonic Cemetery purchased for the University of San Francisco. Odd Fellows Cemetery vacated. Calvary and Laurel Hill Cemeteries resisted, but with no income, both reverted to sand and scrub. The vaults were vandalized and the mausoleums occupied by tramps.

1937  Supervisors again demanded bodies be evacuated and voters upheld the decision.

1939  Task completed. WPA records show Charles Harvey, contractor (who later built Candlestick Park) was paid 80 cents a ton to dump walls, crypts, and markers into the Bay, later to become the Marina Yacht Harbor jetty. Other smashed tombstones made fine retaining walls in Buena Vista Park. Calvary Cemetery was covered by a Sears building, a Kaiser Hospital, and housing. Laurel Hill Cemetery was covered by more housing, a shopping center, and the Fireman’s Fund Building.

TODAY  only two small cemeteries remain inside the city limits: Mission Dolores and Presidio. Colma is the final resting place for 1.5 million San Franciscans. Cypress Lawn Cemetery is a mass grave for 35,000 nameless pioneers removed from Laurel Hill Cemetery. Levi Strauss is buried at Home of Peace. Wyatt Earp is buried at Hills of Eternity. Emperor Norton is at Woodlawn Cemetery. Ishi is at Olivet Cemetery.  There are eighteen cemeteries in Colma.


1860 – Abraham Lincoln elected 16th President; S Carolina secedes from the Union in protest
1861 – Kansas becomes a state
1861 – Washington Peace Convention tries to preserve Union, but Congress of Montgomery forms Confederate States of America with S. Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Lousiana
1861 – Abraham Lincoln inaugurated as 16th President
1861 – Confederates take Fort Sumter, Charleston, April 12 outbreak of Civil War
1861 – Lincoln calls for militia to suppress Confederacy
1861 – Confederate victory at Bull Run; Union forces later capture Forts Clark and Hatteras
1862 – Union Forces capture Fort Henry, Roanoke Island, Fort Donelson, Jacksonville, and New Orleans; they are defeated at second Battle of Bull Run and Fredericksburg
1862 – “Emancipation Proclamation” – effective January 1, 1863, all slaves held in rebelling territory declared free
1863 – Arizona and Idaho organized as U.S. territories; West Virginia becomes a stare
1863 – Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation January 1
1863 – Confederate victory at Chancellorsville, Virginia; defeats at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Vicksburg, Mississippi; surrender at Fort Hudson; further defeat at Chattanooga, Tennessee; victory at Chickamauga, Georgia
1863 – Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” at the dedication of military cemetery
1864 – General Ulysses S. Grand succeeds General Halleck as Commander-in-Chief of Union armies
1864 – General Sherman marches his army from Chattanooga, Tennessee, through Georgia; defeats Confederate army at Atlanta, and occupies Savannah
1864 – Abraham Lincoln re-elected President
1864 – Massacre of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado
1864 – Territory of Montana organized; Nevada becomes a state
1864 – Confederate agents set Barnum Museum and Astor House afire in attempt to burn New York City
1865 – Union fleet takes Charleston
1865 – Richmond, Virginia, surrenders to Grant
1865 – Jefferson Davis appoints General Robert E. Lee General-in-Chief of Confederate Army
1865 – Confederate States of America formally surrender at Appomattox April 9
1865 – Abraham Lincoln assassinated April 14; succeeded as president by Andrew Johnson
1868 – Jefferson Davis, President of Confederacy, captured and imprisoned
1865 – Civil War ends May 26 (surrender of last Confederate army at Shreveport, Louisiana)
1865 – Thirteenth Amendment to Constitution abolishes slavery
1865 – Warren G. Harding, Born (d. 1923), President from 1921-1923
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