Thomas O. Larkin served as the only United States consul to Mexican province of Alta California during the 1840s. He was captured during California’s transition to the United States. After annexation, he became a “merchant prince” in California, speculating in land from the Mexican ranchos. He co-founded the city of Benicia, which served briefly as the California state capitol. At one point, he was the richest man in America.
After his death in 1858, Larkin was buried in San Francisco’s beautiful and historic Laurel Hill Cemetery. Decades later, his grave was suitably marked with an angel carved by German-born artist Rupert Schmid. The down-gazing angel is placing a feathered pen on the grave. Larkin had been one of the signers of the Californian constitution.
At the dawn of the 20th century, San Francisco politicians banned burials inside the city limits. Laurel Hill Cemetery fought developers who eyed its land, but in 1940 the cemetery was demolished and its residents moved to Colma. Larkin, and his angel, were transfered to Cypress Lawn Cemetery, where they remain to this day.
Cemetery of the Week #55: Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, California